The daily trick to relax your body and mind in no time at all.
Keep calm and breathe.
Did you know that you already have a superpower life skill in your bag of tricks that you already do 20,000 times a day??
Yeppers, you do, and it’s called breathing.
Yeah, we’ve all heard the hype about meditative breathing or relaxed breathing and how wonderful these techniques are for your health. But today we are here to tell you the EXACT reason why correct breathing is important and how it can be a powerful tool for stress relief and get this… pain relief!
So, you’re thinking we are trying to teach you something you already know how to do, and you already do it without thinking right? Weeeelll, you know the jist of how-to breath, but we are going to show you the most effective and healthy ways to breath for oxygenating your body and brain and to reduce stress and pain.
Recognise Auto-pilot breathing…
Auto-pilot breathing is the day-to-day thoughtless breathing we usually do our entire day. You aren’t consciously thinking about what your ribs and diaphragm are doing and you are usually only using the upper 1/3 of your lungs. EEEK!
This works ok most of the time but when you start to exercise or get stressed, you will start to overuse your accessory breathing muscles. We are talking about your neck muscles and your upper traps (notice when your stressed how those shoulders end up under your ears?!).
Today you are going to learn how to reset your auto pilot upper lung breathing to diaphragmatic breathing and lateral expansion breathing.
#1 Diaphragmatic Breathing 101
WTH is a diaphragmatic breath you may ask?
A diaphragmatic breath takes air into the middle and lower lobes of the lung and happen when the diaphragm descends. It’s used in yoga and Pilates and for mediation and relaxation. Sounds healthy huh??
Let’s learn to do it…
Place one hand on your sternum and another on your upper abdomen. Take a normal “autopilot breath” or two while you pay attention to which hand moves most?
We’re waiting, keep breathing…
Top or bottom hand move most?? Yes, it’s PROBABLY the upper hand which means… only the upper 1/3 of your lung is working and you are NOT doing a diaphragmatic breath. Dohhh…
S’all good, let’s FIX that to a diaphragmatic breath now…
Keep your hands in the same spot and focus on moving all of the air coming into your tummy/lower hand WHILE the top hand stays super silent. Try it a few times until you only feel that bottom hand moving. It’s tricky but you can easily do it if you focus.
Got this? Then you are OFFICIALLY doing diaphragmatic breathing. WOO HOO! Do 10 more please and keep the breaths slow and steady. Pay attention to those hands.
Now the second part of a perfect breath…
#2 Lateral Expansion Breathing
Place your hands on your hips and then shift them up a bit higher so they are resting on your lower rib cage. Hit us with an auto pilot breath or two. Do you feel any movement under your hands?
If yes, YEE HAW! If not, don’t fret, here’s how to make it happen. Let’s teach you to inflate your lungs laterally now…
Focus on your hands resting on your ribs and as you inhale, breath into your hands. Aim to expand your ribs out to the side. Ummm… I’m imagining what the ribs of a horse look like breathing after a run through the field. Now repeat it for 10 to get the knack. Shoulders stay still and ribs bucket handle out into your hands.
Let’s make the magic now by putting together your diaphragmatic breath with your lateral expansion.
#3 Diaphragmatic Breath + Lateral Expansion Breath = FABULOUS BREATHS do 10 x once daily!
Pick your weak link to monitor with your hands be it chest/tummy or side ribs. Focus on inhaling the air into your lower lungs and diaphragm with simultaneous expansion toward the sides.
Do 10 reps 1 x daily.
And if you’re in pain (ahem, yep labour counts) or stressed to the max, do these 10 breaths as frequently as you’d like throughout the day. It’s such a healthy habit to get more oxygen to the noggin’, to your organs and to settle your nervous system.
So girl, with these 2 maneuvers you’ve just reset your respiration and you are now breathing into the lower lobes of your lungs like a PRO! You are no longer overusing your neck muscles and wrecking your posture.
You have just reset your breathing and this little, short circuit once daily can reprogram your breathing forever. Ahhhhh….
Looking for an already-planned-for-you, completely pregnancy-safe workout plan to use these perfect breathing skills? We’ve got you covered right here, sister!