Breathe your whole body
After observing many people breath in this world, one thing is very clear: rarely do I see mobility in the rib cage. I often see people breathe shallow or breathe in the front part of their rib cage only. 60-65% of your lung field lives in the back of your body. When you breathe more fully and expansively, your whole system runs better. It's like pumping full octane fuel instead of the 87.
You may find yourself breathing fuller when you exercise at your maximum output. The breath expands to meet the muscles' demands. But, what if you could actively mobilize your ribs and thoracic spine, and engage your breathing muscles and lungs at any time of day? Doing this creates more space for your heart and digestive organs, and enhaces the oxygen/carbon dioxid exchange in your tissues.
If you are new to AnatomySense, welcome! For those who have been following me for awhile you know where I might be going with this. Decompressing Breathing is how I found my fullest breath. It took time and practice, for sure, but it has changed my body from the inside out. I use it throughout the day as a quick reset for my posture and to bring mindful awareness to the moment.
Breathing with intention brings focus and clarity. Breathing through active tension brings freedom and space.
You see, your body is in a losing battle with the invisable force of gravity. What makes the battle even more challenging for many of us is our lack of awareness around our most dominatling extremity - the head. Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back and lead with your breath not with your head!
Draw your head back over your body to lengthen the sub-occipital triangle (picture below). Make sure not to extend your neck or tuck your chin too much. Now it's time to love yourself. Give yourself a big hug, wrapping your arms around you so your elbows are stacked on each other. I call this the alligator hug. While keeping the back of your neck long and your alligator hug strong, take 5 deep breaths into your back body. Feel your back-body becoming more spacious with every inhalation. Send the breath to the uppermost portions of your spine and to the lowest aspect of your posterior rib cage around your kidney level. Once you feel the opening and lengthening of your back-body, release the alligator hug and take a few deep breaths into your entire rib cage, front, back and sides - 360 degrees. Feel your rib cage lift up and away from your pelvis. Decompress and win the battle against gravity.
Once you train your body to be open and spacious it is much easier to find it again. This is best way I know to create space in my body. I practice this breath throughout my day many, many times. I encourage you to do it as well and see how you feel in body and mind.