Breathe Like a Fish

"Don't forget to breathe!"

“Don’t forget to breathe!”

I don’t know about you, but I tend to take my breathing for granted.  The only time I pay much attention to it is when I meditate or exercise intensely (or eat too much garlic J).  Just think of all those sustaining breaths in between awareness—flowing in and out, unnoticed.  Wow!

This week’s ‘stimulate’ tip will help you pay attention to your breathing and improve your lung capacity too!  All you have to do is breathe like a fish.  What I mean by that is breathing laterally—expanding your ribcage sideways when inhaling and contracting it back toward center when exhaling (another way to visualize this is playing an accordion—out with inhale and in with exhale).

This type of breathing recruits your internal and external obliques and your transverse abdominus, which is your deepest layer of abdominal muscles. It also strengthens the intercostal muscles between your ribs, creating a more protective and flexible sheath around your torso.

So let’s get started…

1.      Stand or sit up straight, reaching through the crown of your head and keeping belly button pulled toward spine. Place your hands on the sides of your ribs. If this doesn’t feel comfortable, you can cross your arms in front of you, but make sure your shoulders stay down and relaxed.

2.      Now take a breath in, breathing into your hands (like how a fish breathes through its gills). Feel the side of your ribs expand. Now blow the air out, pulling belly button in toward spine and bringing ribs in toward center.

3.      Take another breath, expanding your rib cage out to the side and as you blow out, feel your ribs contract down and in. Think of playing that  accordion—as you breathe in you stretch it out to the sides and as you blow out you press it into the center. Your ribs are moving just like the accordion, expanding out with your inhale and contracting in with your exhale.

4.      This breathing is going to take a little practice, so be patient and remember the most important thing is to expand and contract your ribs sideways as you keep your belly button pulled in and your spine pulled up long toward the crown of your head.

5.      Practice this new breathing 3-5 times a day ten breaths at a time.


About Annette Cain

Annette Cain is an award-winning author, endurance athlete and certified personal trainer.

Known as the Longevity Lady™ Annette helps baby boomers age stronger so their bodies can keep up with their lives. Her ageless lifestyle products and programs provide an easy and balanced approach to becoming lean & limber and living younger longer.

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