Take a moment. Aaaaand breatheeee.
In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
Now focus on how you breathe...Do your upper ribs move more than your lower ribs? Are your shoulders near your ears? Does your belly move more than your lower ribs?
If your upper ribs or belly move more than your lower ribs…I think we need to talk.
Now think about a situation when you were stressed. How did your breathing change? Did it become shallower, more rapid? Spurred on by the release of cortisol and adrenaline, were you ready to fight or run away from the situation? What if you are constantly stressed out? Constantly breathing shallow and rapidly?
On average, adults take approximately 20000 breaths per day. Our breathing muscle, the diaphragm, attaches to our breast bone, ribs, spine, abdominal muscles and pelvic floor.
So how we breathe MATTERS.
Just look at how the abdominal and pelvic contents and pelvic floor move when we breathe. Breath by breath everything below is being massaged. Note: this person is laying down.
Studies have proven that people in pain breathe differently. Breathing helps us to manage our pain, provide control over our bowel and bladder function, how we move, how we manage stress and our mood. By taking slow deep breaths, it helps us to keep control over these functions by moving us into a more parasympathetic control status - rest and digest mode.
Let's not forget exercise and breathing. Perhaps you are squatting with a few kilos on the bar. How are you breathing? Are you holding your breath or breathing through the movement? Breathing correctly helps to activate our deep stabilising muscles to protect our spines from injury and avoids placing undue stresses on our pelvic floor muscles. Oops did you just spring a leak whilst squatting or jumping? Our diaphragm helps to also modulate the changes in intra-abdominal pressure to keep your pelvic organs in place and stopping those little accidents from occurring.
So make every breath count…
Take a slow deep breath into your lower ribs then out.
Stay mindful, stay present.