5 tips to step up your diaphragmatic breath

If you have done any research on pre/postnatal fitness, you have probably noticed a common theme amongst the top contributors. We ALL talk about diaphragmatic breathing and the importance of connecting to your breath during pregnancy and postpartum.  Why??

During pregnancy, your core system is put under a lot of stress.  You have upward pressure on your diaphragm and lungs due to a baby dwelling under your ribcage, you can see the outward pressure on your abdomen (hello baby bump), and then there is downward pressure on your pelvic floor (yes – your pelvic floor is part of your core!).  All of this pressure can put pressure (ha!) on your core system and, therefore, your breathing mechanics.  Not to mention the shift in posture, compensations from potential aches and pains, and just life and stress and general can all create “faulty” breathing patterns that are not as ideal as they could be. 

Moving through the postpartum phase – you are not only healing from birth (vaginal or Cesarean), but you are also dealing with the ramifications of all that pressure that maybe got your breathing mechanics a bit out of whack. THEN you are adding stress onto that system by repeatedly picking up your baby, bending over cribs, car seats, etc, which is the equivalent of starting to build your walls for your house without laying the foundation.  

I share that all to say: there is good reason we all harp on this point. After 12 years of training this demographic, the most important thing I tell any pre/postnatal women: BREATHE…optimally! 😉 

So – you’ve watched the videos and you are on your way to being a diaphragmatically breathing goddess – picking up your blueberry along the way (not sure what I am referring to – watch this refresher here 👇🏽)

 

 

But I am not here to teach you HOW to breathe (refer to the video above for that).  I want to chat about the top common “mistakes” (don’t worry – you’re not doing it wrong, just perhaps less optimally than it could be) we see here at The Lotus Method working 1-on-1 with our clients.

#1 the belly bump

This is a faux inhale (you’re not really breathing laterally into your ribcage and therefore not having that air descend downward onto your pelvic floor), which will make a weaker exhale. Then you draw your belly button to spine, which doesn’t activate your true deepest core musculature and puts more pressure downward on your pelvic floor.

 # 2 is it just me or is your butt winking at me?

Often when we start thinking about picking up the blueberry and engaging our pelvic floor on the exhale, the booty comes along for the ride.  We want to make sure to leave your booty out of this one (don’t worry, she will get A LOT of attention during our other workouts at The Lotus Method).  But for this, try to make sure she stays put!

  

#3 don’t hulk out

This is one of the most common ones we see and is an over recruitment of the more superficial abdominal musculature or just doing the most!  No need to do the most on this one – we are just breathing; keep the hulk caged!  They say true transverse abdominis (your deepest corset abs) engagement is only the first 20% of your exhale.

#4 exhale through your mouth

There is a beautiful connection between our pelvic floor and our mouth and we lose that if we exhale through our nose.  So pop in that tic-tac and exhale mama!

   

#5 stack your -ish

Think of your torso like gears – if you are doing the “lean back,” your gears will not be stacked.  Make sure to stack your ribs over your hips – it will allow all the gears of your diaphragm, transverse abdominis, and pelvic floor to be stacked and therefore working in synchronization.

 

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    Sarah Matias

    Why did you become a pre/ postnatal exercise specialist?

    After working in a physical therapy clinic I very quickly became aware of how underserved the pre/
    postnatal community was. Women who were trying to conceive, pregnant, and postpartum were
    seeking out help and guidance in navigating their motherhood journey. The healthcare professionals
    did not have the time or resources to be able to provide them the one-on-one attention they needed.
    Being able to empower women and help support them through their journey is something that I could
    only have dreamed of. The Lotus Method has allowed me to help women not feel alone through this
    challenging time in their lives, and I love being able to continue supporting them!

    What inspires you the most about our clientele of
    badass women?

    Their priority to take care of themselves! Our clients run the world, from stay at home moms to CEO’s
    these women’s schedules are packed! Yet they still prioritize taking the time to invest in themselves.
    Literally running from a meeting straight into an exercise circuit is not uncommon for our mom’s. They
    carve out an hour to focus on their strength, their mental health, and their happiness!

    If you had to listen to one song on repeat for the
    rest of your days – what would it be?

    How can I just choose one! River by Leon Bridges or Ritual Union by Little Dragon.