We all take breathing for granted, but stop for a moment to consider how many different muscles are involved in breathing.  Pretty much everything between your nose and your Kegels (at the base of your pelvis) can or should be affected by different types of breath.
Just try a few different breaths for a second and see if or how they feel compared to each other.
Focus on the Exhale:

  • ·         Exhale with a sigh, making an “Ah” sound

  • ·Now blow like you are blowing candles out on a cake

  • ·         Now blow like Lamaze that you see in the movies “he, he, who”

  • ·         Now take a deep breath and then do nothing—what engages to keep the air from coming out?

  • ·         Release whatever feels engaged to hold that air and just let the breath seep out

Focus on the Inhale:

  • ·         Place your fingers on the front sides of your neck and just breathe normally.  Feel anything?

  • ·         Now with your fingers still on your neck inhale with a staccato rhythm (quick, short breaths).  Feel the muscles of the neck working now?

  • ·         Take a big deep belly breath

  • ·         Take a tiny shallow breath, trying to see your chest rise.

  • ·         Try to breathe so that your lung expand sideways

  • ·         Try to breathe so that your lungs expand from front to back.

Which breathe feels the most natural to you?  Which do you like better?  Is there one you feel like you can’t do right now?  Make note of that because it’s probably worth practicing just so you can get more muscles to move and work.
I don’t want to just list the muscles that enable you to breathe because I’m not sure that would help you in anyway, but here some that you may not realize get involved.  The diaphragm is obvious, but you may not realize it’s an actual muscle.  Your pecs in the front of your chest help lift your rib cage up.  So does your serratus anterior.  (Search our blog for more about the serratus.)  Multiple muscles in your neck are at work.  A bunch of tiny muscles that connect your spine and ribs are at work.  All your abdominal muscles can help you exhale.    And all those muscles at the base of your pelvic floor are supposed to help you breath.  That’s why if they aren’t working properly when you sneeze (just consider that a really big unexpected breath) you (mostly women) can sometimes pee a little.
Breathing may seem like it just comes naturally to us, but it is big business for the body.  
Want to learn more about breathing?  Click the link below to find out when we are running our next breathing workshop.  (Click Specials & Events.)