Breathing Exercises

breathing-exercises-Calgary-WellnessDuring this time of uncertainty, it is natural for our muscular chains to tighten up and for us to feel tighter and more rounded inwards. Many people are probably spending more time than usual sitting at the computer, or at least sitting in general.

I recommend movement to help counteract the stiffness that may be developing in your body. If you are able to go for a walk outside, I highly recommend incorporating daily walking into your new routine if you haven’t done so already. While pathways are becoming more crowded, quiet neighbourhood streets can be a safe place to walk as it is easier to keep physical distance.

In Postural Reconstruction® Physiotherapy, breathing is a fundamental part of our work together. Conscious breathing while thinking of movement of the diaphragm can be very helpful to counteract the rounding inwards and feelings of tightness everywhere that you may be feeling .

Here are some ideas for creating a sense of space and freedom in your body. Exercises 1-6 are done in standing and 7 in lying. Focus on your breathing, relaxing your body and being calm in your mind.

1. Body tapping. Tap your neck, arms, torso, legs using your palm or a light fist. Pay attention to tapping all around your diaphragm at the front of the sternum, the sides or your rib cage and your back towards the spine. Tapping helps to wake the muscles up and increase general circulation.

2. Shoulder Roll with awareness of breath. Roll your shoulders either together or individually with awareness of your breath. Inhale while lifting forwards and up and exhale while lowering your shoulders back and downwards. If you choose to do 1 side at a time, you can turn your body to the side as you breathe in. Remember that your ribs are not a fixed ‘cage’ , but are elastic and flexible. Perhaps you can get a sense of this as you turn to the side. Repeat 4x each side.

3. Incorporating sound on exhale. Place your fingertips on your shoulders and rotate your torso to the right and then left while making the sound ssss on the breathe out. Allow your movement to adapt to your breath . Repeat 4x each side.

4. Follow your diaphragm while you breathe. Place your hand horizontally at the lower part of your sternum. As you inhale feel your hand move downwards as you breathe in and upwards when you exhale as you follow the movement of the diaphragm.

5. Side to side trunk movement. Place the left hand flat on the side of your rib cage. Bend your torso to the right side while exhaling and imagine the diaphragm lengthening. You may choose to make a ssss sound on the breath out. Repeat 4x on one side then repeat 4x on the other side.

6. Breathing into a band. Using a band, a towel or even a piece of clothing wrap the band around your back holding the band in the front of your body. Inhale and press the ribcage into the band at the back and sides of your body. Repeat 4x.

7. Seesaw breathing. Lye on your back with your knees bent. Breathe in so your belly rises, hold your breath and suction the air up to your chest and expand your chest. Keep holding your breath while you slowly bring the air back to your belly. Exhale and take a normal breath.
Repeat 10x .

Blog post by Diane Patterson B.Sc.PT

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