The lungs which provide oxygen to all parts of the body also can stretch and relieve fascial and muscle pain from within. There are a variety of breathing techniques to increase our lung capacity, strengthen the diaphragm and stretch the muscles that associate with the rib cage. (?Question – which muscles in the body don’t associate with the lungs?… – yep none.)
Looking at this from a purely technical point of view – expanding the lungs’ capacity both improves oxygen exchange and helps to stretch (and tone) the muscles in between each rib, improving the movement, support and flexibility. In turn this also can help the neck, since some of its deeper muscles attach to the first rib. Strengthening and gaining more control of the diaphragm can improve our ability to breathe deeply. That when coupled with some level of core control also allows for fluid exchange within the cavities where the organs reside, which improves digestion, stimulates the heart and calms the system.
But this only scratches the surface; Taking the time to focus on our breathing, ‘Mindful Movement’ has been known to change brain patterns. Check out the Well Blog on the NYTimes (Feb 2016) for an article on “How Meditation Changes the Mind”; for the more scientifically minded there is the Biological Psychiatry article (Jan 2016) which explains how these brain changes help reduce inflamation in the body.
Opening the body through breath and improving circulation is one of the keys to Body Sustainability. Are you interested developing your body’s sustainability? Mindful Movement and Body Sustainability have you curious? You are welcome to improve your sustainability through the classes or a private YBR/Pilates appointment here at the studio.
Here give it a try — Take pause, breathe deeply, let it out with an audible sigh. Notice the change, in your back, your chest, your being. Take that same deep breath, inhale some more, then inhale a bit more, hold it, notice where you feel tight, let that breath move to those areas, hold the breath one moment longer, then exhale. Experience the change. Congratulate yourself – you have spent a mindful moment. Your body is better for it.