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Try This Diaphragmatic Breathing Drill
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The Set Up: You can do this exercise lying on your back with your knees bent or even now, while sitting up reading. Either way, do it with one hand resting lightly on your lower belly so you can feel your breath expanding the abdominal wall and moving through your body. If both hands are free, use the other hand behind your low back for greater sensory input.

Your shoulders should stay down. Keep them relaxed and pulled down away from your ears.

Your spine is long, in what we call neutral spine, a natural position of the spine that allows the curves of the spine to be present.

If you are sitting, try to feel that your weight is falling directly down through your sit bones and your head is floating up toward the sky.

Your throat is open and relaxed to allow for maximum air flow.

The Inhale: Breathe in slowly through your nose. Let the air flow into your upper chest and down your spine -- expanding the sides and lower ribs, filling the diaphragm, back and lower back, and dropping all the way down into the pelvis. Allow the deep inhale to push your belly out a little bit. Don't try to resist or compress it.

The Exhale: Let go of your breath in the reverse order that you brought it in. Drop your lower abs, then your belly. Let your ribs pull in, and last, let your chest to drop as you fully expel all the air. Don't force the air out, simply allow it to flow out of the body.

Repeat: Do this diaphragmatic breathing exercise a few times until you get the sense of how each part flows into the next. On each exhale draw the abdominals inward and upward gently driving the air back up and out of the body. This abdominal action will come into play routinely in your Pilates workout.




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