Did you take in a full breath yet today?
One of my clients makes sure to remind me of this every single time she takes what she calls a Rosen breath during her session. A Rosen breath is when she consciously finds the moment and space, during either her Pilates or massage session, for release of physical tension. It's that very spontaneous deep relaxing breath, similar to the one you take when you first wake up, or the one you take when you finish your work day.
As much as I don't like this statement, I will say it: most of us take breathing for granted. It is an involuntary movement, and you just can't stop it, right? Others are very aware of their breathing. Just ask an asthmatic kid about how fulfilling, in every sense of the word, is to be able to take a full breath in after an asthma attack.
Deep, tri-dimensional, full breaths should happen naturally, correct? Well, yes… but does it? To get that kind of breathing to occur naturally for most of us, it will probably require some time retraining our muscles and brain so that this very much primal, involuntary function can occur without much thinking.
Breathing at it's essence is movement. The movement of air entering our nose and mouth, occupying each airway. The movement of the lungs themselves, expanding and massaging the heart, which then moves, pumping oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. In addition, air movement relies on the difference in pressure inside the thoracic cavity and outside our body, which depends on muscles moving into expansion and contraction, thus allowing gas exchange and for air to go in and out. The respiration cycle then continues, over and over again, until it doesn't.
So how is it that this physiological, involuntary mechanism can also cause us trouble and dysfunction even when we don't notice there's anything wrong with it?
My answer lies in the lifestyle and choices we make on a daily basis. All the mobilization of air that is necessary simply cannot occur fully and deeply when there is movement restriction. Our muscles and fascia may either repress or foster movement. Most people are not aware they have any control over that.
There's a great number of reasons why one would repress movement. For instance, chronic pain, too much sitting, lack of trunk movement, repetitive motion, injuries, surgeries, emotional traumas, you name it. Movement can be suppressed voluntarily, such when someone with chronic pain is afraid certain motions may increase pain so avoid them. Our brain is very smart and understands quickly the message you send, responding by adopting the new patterns of posture and movement you encourage by your repetition of them, regardless of whether they are harmonious or unbalanced.
Signs of repressed movement and dysfunctional breathing might be muscles tightness, joint stiffness, pain (local or not), muscle weakness, shortness of breath, constipation, nervousness, anxiety. Each body is different, we must listen to our own and consider any and every possibility, not disregarding the information it's giving you.
Muscle and joint suppleness correlates to muscle and joint function, which then leads to joint stability, safe exercising, wellbeing, and good health and fitness. So you might want to rethink breathing in relation to your lifestyle and revert any repressive, unbalanced pattern that you might find occuring in your own body with good, positive feedback to your brain, such as massaging tight muscles, practicing tri dimensional breathing, exercising and correcting movement patterns.
I hope that you find some answers with these videos and may them be a good and yet simple source of information for when you don't know what to do!
Please watch them, post comments, send feedback for improvement and most importantly: SHARE THEM. The more people we get to practice healthier and more harmonious patterns the better the world!
May breathing be within you!
PS- A big shout out to my friend and body worker Corey Walden for his proof reading skills. You rock Corey!
Carla Oliva (LMT 21104)
Movement Educator & Pilates Instructor
Full-time traveler, movement geek, human anatomy lover, BASI Pilates certified instructor, Movement educator, Massage Therapist, BuffBones® faculty and instructor, Shiatsu practitioner and more currently a vlooger and blogger!
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