How often are you aware of your breath?

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Stop right now.

Put your hand on your belly, and simply notice your breath.

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Are you relaxed in the belly? Does the belly soften, expand, and rise on the inhalation? Does it gently contract back towards the spine on your exhalation?

As a physical therapist, I am taught to see each person as an individual. Pain is unique and different for each person, and each person benefits from a unique treatment plan.

However, there are general patterns that come up for so many of the people I work with. Breath holding is very common, especially in women. If you are always contracting the belly, or pulling the belly in – you are preventing the normal relaxed breathing that keeps you grounded, improves your digestion, and reduces pain and inflammation in the body.

Holding in your belly constantly, also keeps you in a state of low level stress. This low level stress is simply exhausting for your body, nervous system, and mental state.

Why do women do this?

Here are some of the reasons I believe this to be occurring:
We are taught at an early age that being thin is more ideal (so we hold in our belly to fit the part).
We are taught that we need to brace our back to be safe, but these muscles are not designed to be active 100% of the time!
We are under a constant stream of stressors….long to-do lists, heavy work schedules, running around taking care of loved ones. And our body responds to this stress.
Less time in nature.
We aren’t confident in ourselves.

While these are all things to be aware of, don’t dwell. Notice if any of these resonate and take that information to move forward.

It’s time to empower yourself and take control of your health and body….by working with your breath. It is much more powerful than it gets credit for.

If you are interested in learning how your breath may be impacting your health, book a physical therapy visit with Dr. KC Coninx today!

You can also sign up for our free weekly guided meditations to start to connect with your breath and make small changes today that will impact your life for many years to come!.

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