Sunday, July 7, 2019

Somatic Awareness + Better Breathing = Better Health

How your breathe makes all the difference.

Our culture, our daily routines, even our workouts are limiting our capacity breathe with ease, limiting our optimal health.

Things that limit your breathing.

As you go through your day you are probably doing things that hinder full, deep inhalations.

You rise, only to go sit, at meal time, at work, in your car.

You may walk, but we've learned to limit rotation of our centers reducing freedom of the ribcage and pelvis to rotate around your central axis. Culturally we've been "trained" to not move our hips and shoulders!

You may go to the gym, where routines and machines are designed to keep us in the sagittal plane, ie facing forward, with little to no rotation. You throw in plenty of abdominal exercises, which enforce a shortening of your rectus abdominis. Sorry, tight abs are not a good thing. They pull you forward, limiting your breathing capacity.  Habituated shortening of your abs and chest muscles--through your daily routines-- make your back muscles work harder to hold you up vertically.

Maybe you do yoga or pilates. Breathing patterns in these classes often encourage a forced exhale, which is not natural, relaxed breathing. Inhalations require a contraction of the diaphragm and intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and exhaling is a release of those contractions. Pursing your lips and forcing the breath out, makes your abs tighten. No es bueno.

This is not a judgement.
It's what we've been told to believe.

I used to do all these things too. As a personal trainer and pilates teacher I believed all these things were good for me and my clients. Now I know the secret to remaining free and at ease in my body. It's not by creating habituated tension, but by being able to release the tension we are creating all day long.

You can continue to do what you do, but be aware of the tension you are creating, and learn how to let it go. As an example, you wouldn't want to contact your biceps and keep them contracted all day, right? Same goes for any other muscles in your body. We want our brains to have control to contract muscles and then release them to their natural length. That's where Somatics comes in!

I teach special movements, called pandiculations, that reset your muscle length to their natural resting length. Without stretching. Without strengthening.

What happens to your health from limited breathing

When we contract and contract and contract our muscles, especially those around our torsos, we limit our freedom of movement and freedom to breathe with ease. Habituated, we lose our capacity to breathe deeply, resulting in:
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • suppressed immune system
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • poor sleep patterns
  • pain and tension
  • exhaustion
  • perpetually being in states of fight-or-flight or freeze

Start releasing yourself from your limitations

This week we are focusing on breathing in my Take It Outside Fitness and Think Somatics classes. You can even join me online for Somatics on Wednesday July 10 at 1:00pm. You can sign up here.

Join the Think Somatics Virtual Classroom

Can't make it to classes? No problem! Enroll in the all new Think Somatics Virtual Classroom. There you will gain access to an ever-expanding library of recorded classes I produce just about every week.

There are two lessons on breathing ready and waiting for you, plus classes for:
  • somatics for neck and shoulders
  • somatics for hips, knees and feet
  • somatics for better living
  • tips on getting the most out of your practice
  • somatics for lower backs
  • somatics for neck, face and jaw
  • and a whole lot more!
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, let me know. If you know of others who could also benefit from Somatics, share this with them, ideally on social media, so everyone can start reaping the benefits of being free and at ease in their bodies.

Enjoy!
~Kristin

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