Something we all do so often…. you would think we would be good at it by now….
As mention in my previous post your diaphragm is an important member of your deep core team. The way we breath affects soooooo many things including our “bits”. Who knew how you breath could have an impact on your pelvic floor, continence and so much more, but oh my it does!
In an ideal world when you breath in your diaphragm does a big beautiful expansion. Not only will your belly rise slightly but you will also feel your ribs and back expand slightly. If you slow down and do a purposeful breath in you “should” also be able to feel your pelvic floor relax a little. I say “should” because wow this can be hard and definitely something that can take a little practice so if it’s not the case for you right now - relax, take a breath and get prepared to find your breathing mojo.
There are so many reasons our breathing patterns can get a little whack
Pregnancy - our body changes and adapts in amazing ways to make room for your growing baby. As the baby grows your ribs flare and your diaphragm gets squished (for lack of a better word) making it really hard to get a yummy big breath in (not to mention the other million adaptations). Stress - wow oh wow so many of us live in a state of constant stress (yep me too!). Our system is designed to cope with stress and heightened breathing patterns for a certain period of time, but not permanently! Think being chased by a lion and running for your life. Your breath pattern is elevated, you would revert to mouth breathing and quick breaths. You would then escape the lion (phew!) and as the stress of the situation leaves your body your breath pattern would revert back to beautiful diaphragmic breathing. The only problem with modern living is that there is no lion (problem may be the wrong word), we are continuously “running” from one task to another on a never ending treadmill of stress. A lot of us never get to “escape the lion to safety” and let our system calm down. We are continuously living in an elevated breath pattern (usually shallow breathing through the mouth) meaning our diaphragm does not get the workout it should.
You want your diaphragm to move as it should! Your diaphragm plays a lead role with your pelvic floor. They are dancing partners. If your diaphragm moves like a limp lettuce leaf it is highly likely your pelvic floor will follow suit. Poor breathing patterns can mean your pelvic floor does not move as it should and can contribute to lots of issues (leaking, pelvic pain, poor muscle tone, over activity etc). Trust me there is lots to the way we breath!
Get your breathing mojo on! Give this a go; Lye on your side with your head resting comfortably on your arm or a pillow, your knees together and bent. Now take your other hand and place it just below your rib cage with your thumb to the back of your body and your fingers to the front. Take a couple of yummy breaths. In an ideal world breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Your out breath should be slightly longer than your in breath (this can take practice!). As you breath in pay attention to what you feel in your hand. Ideally you will feel your thumb move as your back expands, your fingers move as you feel your belly expand and your entire hand move as your side expands. This is tricky to do! So if it is not happening for you please do not freak out - it takes practice and there can be a few other things going on making it difficult (think rib mobility etc). If you struggle to feel your back expand try curling yourself into more of a ball and imagine the air filling into your back as well as sides and belly. Another fantastic position to practice back expansion is in the childs pose.
Try and spend 3-5 minutes every day just focusing on your breath. I know who has time for that!? You do - trust me it is worth it!
When you do nail it - it feels AMAZING! Like a massage from the inside 👊❤️.
There is so much more to breathing and your “bits” but I promised myself I’d keep this post short (haha the struggle is real!😜).