Are you feeling stiff when you turn to look over your shoulder, like when driving your car? The way you breathe may be part of the problem. Unless you are suffering from congestion or an obstruction, you may not have given much thought to your breathing. Even so, if you don’t use the muscles around your lower ribs and abdomen when you breathe, it can contribute to pain or stiffness in your back, chest, neck or shoulders.
So, what can you do about it? Exercise! But, wait. I’m not referring to heavy huffing and puffing – I’m talking about a mindful breathing exercise, called crocodile breathing, which stimulates appropriate muscles, in order to restore and reinforce healthy breathing patterns.
If you practice, practice, practice crocodile breathing until a healthier breathing pattern has become your new habit, you will be rewarded with greater ease of movement throughout your daily tasks and pursuits. What a breath of fresh air!
Dionne Watson, D.C.
Begin by lying on your front, rest your head on your hands, and keep your chest in contact with the floor. Breathe slowly in through your nose, pushing your belly into the floor, out to the side and into your low back so that it rises up towards the ceiling. Release the air and relax into the floor.
Why is it called crocodile breathing? Because that’s what we look like when our back goes up and down with the breath, like crocodiles, sunning ourselves on the shore.
For breathing exercises to be effective, it is important to have adequate joint mobility and healthy muscle tone in your neck, shoulders, ribcage, thoracic spine, and even your pelvis and hips.
For an assessment of your mobility, and for guidance with breathing, make an appointment with a Forfitness therapist.
We would be happy to help!
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