With every breath we take our ribcage and spine move. The interaction that takes place between the joints and muscles that move when we breath provides feedback to our brains. The feedback tells our brain where we are in space, but also how we are feeling about the environment we are in.
Shallow rapid breaths - danger, irritation, unhappiness, alert, focus, sympathetic bias
Deep slow breaths - peace, happy, calm, alert, focus, parasympathetic bias.
Both states of mind are necessary and functional, just as both breathing styles are necessary and functional. To optimize or even access the information that our body is sending back to the brain with every breath, we need a supple spine and ribcage and we need to coordinate our breath with our movement.
When we inhale our lumbar (think low back) and thoracic (think ribcage) spines extend/lengthen, while our cervical spine (think neck) flexes/shortens. When we exhale the spinal movement reverses. The movement can be subtle in a quiet moment or very noticeable in a dynamic moment.
Inhale - Lumbar and Thoracic Spine Extend, Cervical Spine flexes.
-Perform a 6 second nasal inhale in this position.
-Use your hips (stick your but out), and your shoulders (pull you shoulder blades back and away from your ears).
-“Fill you belly with air.”
Exhale - Lumbar and Thoracic Spines flex,
-Perform a 6 second nasal exhale in this position
-Use you hips (tuck your tail) and your shoulders (push into the ground and spread your shoulder blades apart).
-“Empty your lungs with your abs.”
If you want to get better at moving and breathing, this exercise is the place to start. Try it for a 1 or 2 minutes daily. Pay attention to how the different areas in your back feel with this movement. Like everything else, it takes time to feel the subtleties.