“Remember to breathe. It is, after all, the secret of life.”
Throughout western society, we are plagued with patterns of shallow, restricted breathing. Perhaps this is due to sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps it's brought on by misguided body images. Or perhaps it's a response to life’s challenges: when we breathe less, we feel less. Whatever the reason, this lack of air-flow can also create a lack of movement in the abdomen, eventually leading to stagnation, rigidity, and weakness in the pelvic organs. The quality of the breath also affects our mind-body connection. Shallow breathing sends the brain stress signals, saturating our blood with adrenaline and cortisol, all the while depriving it of oxygen.
As we breathe more deeply and easily, we begin to receive nourishment and renewal. It's beneficial with massage work to focus on the abdomen, creating deeper layers of release & clearing in the belly. Breathing exercises work in tandem with massage, myofascial stretches, and trigger-point therapy, stimulating the viscera and sending oxygen-rich blood through the core. The powerful synergy of external massage and the internal movement of your breath works together to melt adhesions, clear stagnation, and create a profound relaxation. Thermal therapy, castor oil, arterial massage, stretches, sacral holds, visualizations, aromatherapy, reflexology, abdominal massage, Tui Na and Chi Nei Tsang techniques can also be used to open, unwind, and revitalize the belly.
The health of our body, and specifically our reproductive organs, is greatly affected by the movement of our breath. In fact, the human body is designed to discharge approximately 70% of its toxins through respiration. Deep, full breathing engages the diaphragm, the abdomen’s natural source of massage, mobility, and blood stimulation. As the diaphragm presses down, the organs are kneaded and churned, fluids are renewed, and stagnant, toxic build-up is flushed out. The pelvis is bathed in oxygen-rich fluids, helping to balance the chemistry of the blood. Specific massage techniques enhance this process, stimulating the liver and decongesting the intestines.
Respiration is also connected to the musculature and structure of the pelvis. Deep belly breathing creates tone and alignment in the pelvic floor, while promoting movement in its fascial tissues.Developing a deep, free breath is fundamental in maintaining this release and in preserving abdominal pliability and mobility.
Another benefit of belly breathing is the relaxation response. While chest breathing can trigger a cycle of stress and fatigue, deep abdominal breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system. This enhances our cellular, hormonal, and psychological processes. Our bodies conserve and restore energy, build immunity, and regenerate injured tissues. The relaxation response can even lower blood pressure levels. In addition, a deep breath can encourage a feeling of groundedness. Though stressful situations may continue, people often feel they are better able to remain calm and positive amidst the stress.
Want to learn more about breathing and how it affects your fertility? Join me and Pulling Down the Moon for a special Online Wellness Wednesday Workshop focusing on Your Breath and Your Fertility! This Wednesday, May 19 at 6pm CST. Click here to register!