Breathing

Rhythm Breathing

Lie on your back in any position that is comfortable for you.

Inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Pause at the top of your inhale with your breath held in for a count of 4. Exhale through your nose for a count of 4. Pause at the bottom of your exhale with your breath held out for a count of 4.

Keep your face, jaw, neck and shoulders relaxed.

Practice for 1 - 5 minutes, as you are able to do it with ease.

Eventually work to exhale for a count of 8 and hold at the bottom of your exhale for 8, turning this into a 4-4-8-8 rhythm.


Round Back Counterbalance Squat

This squat tempers rib thrust, stretches back muscles, encourages use of posterior diaphragm.

This is a great move to do after a workout, especially heavy lifting, metabolic conditioning and running. It is also great after standing on your feet all day.

Key Points

1) Tuck your tail and drop your ribs to create a rounded shape of your back

2) Keep the rounded shape as you squat down

3) Keep your weight centered over your feet = do not shift entirely into your heels

4) Hold the bottom position for 5 breaths

5) Stand up with an exhale

6) Keep your back rounded as you stand


Lying Twist

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet on the floor and your arms spread.

Make sure that you have positioned your rib cage so that your front ribs are aligned into your body and your mid-back (just above and below your bra-line) is resting on the floor.

2. Shift your hips to your right.

3. Straighten your left leg.

4. Lift your right leg off the floor. Keep your knee bent.

5. Take your right knee in your left hand.

6. Move your leg across your body.

KEEP your right shoulder blade on the floor!

DO NOT back bend as you twist.

Relax and breathe easily in this shape. Can you surrender to the pull of gravity? Can you feel your body heavy on the floor?

7. Optional: Gently lift your head from the floor and turn your head to the right. Place your right ear on the floor. If this is a strain for your neck or inhibits your breathing, return your head to neutral.


Rib Cage + Belly Breathing

This exercise helps you feel and understand how your rib cage should move when you exhale.

KEY POINTS

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet on the floor and your mid-back (the area just above and below your bra-line) anchored onto the floor. Relax your butt and belly button. You should NOT grip with your hips or abdomen. You should NOT flatten your lower back against the floor. You should feel your mid-back against the floor. If you need to place a pillow under your head for comfort, please do. Can you keep your bra-line area rooted to the floor throughout the entire exercise?

  2. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your lower ribs. As you inhale, feel how your belly and lower ribs expand into your hands.

  3. As you exhale, feel how your ribs retract away from your hand. Can you get all the air out of your lungs? Can you feel how your rib cage moves into your body and into the floor as you exhale? Can you emphasize and exaggerate this movement?

Breathe mostly in and out through your nose as you do this exercise.

You can do this exercise with large breaths or with more gentle breaths. Either way, the same pattern remains.

Repeat for 1 - 5 minutes.


Round Back Breathing

On hands and knees, tuck your tailbone and round your entire spine.

Keeping your spine as round as possible, sit your hips back to your heels.

Breathe into your back. Can you expand the space between your shoulder blades as you inhale? Can you feel the area just above and below your bra-line move back as you inhale?

Keep your shoulders, neck and jaw relaxed.

Hold for 5 - 10 full breaths.


Full Exhale Breathing

Exhale out your mouth. Get all the air out of your lungs as if you were blowing up a balloon or blowing through a straw.

Can you feel how your lower front ribs draw down and in as you complete your inhale, narrowing your infrasternal angle?

Do you notice how your rib cage moves back in space as you complete your exhale?

Allow your inhale to occur naturally through your nose as quietly as possible.


Rib Cage Mobility Sequence

1) Cat + Cow x 5 full breaths

*Get all the air out of your lungs with a strong exhale out of your mouth. Inhale easily through your nose.

2) Thoracic Cat + Cow x 5 full breaths

*Get all the air out of your lungs with a strong exhale out of your mouth. Inhale easily through your nose.

3) Kneeling Latissimus Dorsi Stretch x 5 full breaths each side

4) Side-Lying Arm Sweep x 8 each side

*Rotate from your breastbone. Keep your knees still and stacked. Keep your shoulder connected.

5) Wall Roll Down + Up x 10

*Move one vertebra at a time

6) Neutral Spine Exploration at the Wall