Over the last two years I’ve seen many patients, myself included who had been tense and anxious which creates a heightened state of arousal in our nervous system, particularly the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system which deals with fear flight fright amongst other things. Many of you will be aware of how your breathing changes when you are stressed.
However what people don’t realise is the there is a strong connection between breathing and our butt muscles and when our breathing isn’t working well it can contribute or even be a cause of back pain. How is that I hear you say?
So, let’s explore how our butt affects our breathing and vice-versa:
At this point I invite you to stand up place a hand on your belly and a hand on your chest, feel your feet on the floor take a few normal breathes (see right). Create space between your sitting bones in your butt. Where do you find you are breathing from? In most people, it will be a combination of in your belly and in your chest, but take note of what you can feel yourself.
Now squeeze your butt (see below) and notice what happens – what happens to your breath, where does it go? Then let it go again and go back to your normal soft breathing and create that space in your belly and chest again.
So, for many people when they squeeze their butts the breath moves into the upper chest, that sends the chest up and shoulders back and if they then try and squat, the hips move backwards, and their weight often ends up in their heels. But just imagine if you are tight in the butt how that changes your ability to breath and now it changes the direction in which you are able to move.
In essence what they have done is cut themselves off in the middle and they have poor pressure in the abdomen.
So… we come to the question what is our core?
Well, here’s the thing. Our core is effectively our breath. Think about it as being our inner airbag – this is the thing that gives us most stability. Think about your torso as one big container. This is the meat, the muscles on the outside are just the gravy.
So, it’s important to get our breathing soft and relaxed in order to settle our rib cage, then we can start to find our hips.
Let’s find out there you are today with a quick check breath.
Sit on a chair through your sitting bones,
Place one hand on chest and another hand on your belly and find out – are you more dominant in one than the other.
This tells us how we are today – have you got your inner airbag ready for the day. If that inner air bag is working properly, it will help make you more effective in your lower body as our body is all connected – we are joined up creatures.
So just be mindful when you are feeling pressured or stressed, where do you feel it in your body and remember to check in with your inner airbag and help reduce the risk of injury.
And if you are feeling stressed and pressured sit for just a couple of minutes and focus on your breathe with relaxed butt and feel that gentle expansion into you belly and your chest proportionally.
So now I’ve given you something to think about – have a play and explore how you are each day as how you breathe doesn’t just affect your rib cage, but it has a much wider effect on your whole body and your body in turn has an effect on how you breathe, as does our mental state.
Food for thought! Let me know how you get on.