Breath That Saved Me

I was 18, feeling my wings ready to take flight when I incurred a debilitating horse riding accident. My path re-routed in an instant and for the greater part of my 20’s and 30’s I would travel to and from India, on a quest to heal. I practice yoga and meditation daily and the list is too long of all the different therapies I have tried along the way. Yet still the deep pain lingered & after 16 years, my last resort of going to a MD, left me with pain medication, nerve medication, muscle relaxers and a referral to a surgeon. Then a miracle happened, I met a chiropractor who has not only healed me but has given me the tools to have a balanced and strong body. And it all began, with the breath. This information is so important that I feel it should be taught in every kind of elementary school. The one thing that we all have in common is our bodies and the breath is our driving force. With my yoga background I had acquired an appreciation for the breath. Using it as a tool to calm my mind with each rise and fall. These practices have even a greater effect now that my body is holding the correct posture & engagement to function the way it is intended to. I’d like to share with you now this breathing technique, I hope you give it a try!

  1. Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor, knees bent.
  2. Draw your chin in (transverse), not up or down.
  3. Externally rotate you shoulders, turn your palms up or if comfortable bring your arms into a “w”.
  4. Press your lowback into the floor. As you do this you may feel your pelvis shift into a neutral position and your pelvic floor and abdomen engage.
  5. Pull your ribcage down with your engaged abdomen and allow your breath to expand into your lowback.

Not only will you train yourself to breath correctly, you will strengthen your core which stabilizes the spine. When your spine is stabilized by the proper muscles then the little muscles along the spine (paraspinals) can take it easy, not get over worked & painful. The core muscles are the connector piece of the ribcage to the pelvis.  At all times there is a need for some degree of engagement. Practice on your back in an exaggerated manner to train yourself & then incorporate these functional principals to all postures.

When standing:

  1.  Stand with feet parallel, hip width distance.
  2. Engage the pelvic floor & abdomen. Again you may notice your pelvis drop into neutral, which is where we want it!
  3. Pull the ribcage down with your core muscles & allow the breath to expand into your lowback.
  4. Externally rotate your shoulders. Turn your palms up & observe how your shoulders roll back.
  5. Draw the chin in toward the throat.

Usually this process feels like a push me, pull me type of thing so it’s good to go through the check list back & forth to make sure everything stays in its place!
Initially this awareness may feel consuming but in time (with practice!) it will become more natural and with less conscious effort.

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