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The Power of Breath: Benefits of Regular Breathwork for Optimal Muscle Health and Function 

Breathing may seem simple and straight forward; it is something we do thousands of times per day without a second thought. But what if I told you that by bringing awareness to our breath and practicing specific breathing techniques, we could unlock a myriad of benefits for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being? Welcome to the world of breathwork. In this initial blog post we will examine how incorporating regular breath work can influence how your body moves and functions. 

Engagement of the diaphragm and how it works:

When we breathe deeply and fully, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward, creating space for the lungs to expand and fill with air. When we exhale, the diaphragm moves up. This action of the diaphragm activates the deep stabilizing muscles of the core, including the transverse abdominis, multifidus, and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles work in concert to provide support and stability to the spine and pelvis, promoting good posture and alignment.

Breathing and core activation:

Proper breathing mechanics are essential for optimal core activation and stability. As the diaphragm contracts during inhalation, it creates an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, which acts as a natural stabilizer for the spine and pelvis. This pressure helps to support the spine and prevent excessive movement or strain, especially during activities that require very heavy lifting, bending, or twisting. As we exhale and the diaphragm lengthens, the deep core muscles contract and engage, which can help with deep core stabilization and lumbopelvic stability. By synchronizing breath with movement, we can enhance core engagement and protect against injury.

Breathing and mobility:

Breathwork can also enhance trunk mobility and flexibility by promoting relaxation and releasing tension in the muscles surrounding the ribcage and spine. Deep breathing encourages a full range of motion in the thoracic spine and ribcage, which is essential for activities that involve rotation, bending, and reaching. Incorporating breathwork into stretching and mobility exercises can help to increase flexibility and reduce stiffness in the trunk muscles, improving overall mobility and range of motion.

Breathing and body awareness:

Conscious breathing fosters greater body awareness and proprioception, or the sense of where our body is in space. By tuning into the sensations of the breath as it moves through the body, we can develop a deeper understanding of our postural habits, movement patterns, and areas of tension or imbalance. This heightened awareness allows us to make more informed choices about how we move and engage our core muscles, leading to more efficient and functional movement patterns.

Breathing and back pain:

Poor breathing mechanics and weak core muscles are common contributors to low back pain. By incorporating breathwork into our daily routine and strengthening the muscles that support the spine, we can reduce the risk of developing back pain and improve overall spinal health. Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, pelvic floor exercises, and core stabilization drills can help to address muscular imbalances and promote a healthy, resilient spine.

In summary, the relationship between breath, core muscles, and trunk mobility is intricately connected and holds the key to optimal movement and well-being. By integrating regular and purposeful breathwork into our daily lives, we can unlock the full potential of our core muscles, improve trunk mobility, and move with greater ease and freedom. So take a deep breath, engage your core, and embrace the transformative power of breathwork for a healthier, more vibrant life. Stay tuned for the next blog post which will explore the benefits of breath work for our emotional well being and mental health. 

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