Breathing is the most simple, yet complex thing we do all day long. It is also one of the most important factors for progressing movement and ensuring optimal recovery. Controlled by our autonomic nervous system; breathing can be influenced by the presence of stress.
Compensations in posture can be triggered in response to emotional stress, injury, poor movement patterning and illness; which can cause breathing to be altered. We can also reverse that; breathing pattern dysfunctions can also cause changes in posture, and movement.
Stress changes the very structure and function of your brain. Your nervous system cannot distinguish whether stress is mental or physical, it just feels STRESSED. Therefore, we are asked to consider that perhaps it is not the strongest which survive, but the most adaptable. Darwin was only half correct.
Stress can be positive (eustress) or negative (distress), how we react and respond ultimately becomes the primer for living an optimal lifestyle.
Distress directly relates to high levels of stress that we cannot recover from. This can include overtraining and the physical stress of intolerable volumes or loads of physical stress, as well as trauma and prolonged mental and emotional stress.
Eustress directly relates to positive stress such as; tolerable levels of physical and psychological stress like sport and exercise, meditation and things we enjoy.
Building stress resilience starts with acknowledging where stress is most paramount, then removing any negatives that stand in your way to achieving optimal health.
A great approach to this is the biopsychosocial model, which offers a general approach to mapping out the biological (which entails biochemical, physiological and genetics), psychological (which entails thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social (which entails, work environment, relationships, and cultural) factors, all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness, so that you can strive for optimal health. Once you have established some of the most stressful triggers you can start to design coping strategies towards managing stress. Breathing is a very effective strategy and a great place to start.
Two great breathing drills that can be easily implemented into your training is see- saw breath; which aims to teach the ability to breathe more deeply and divide the chest from the abdomen and the elbow lock breathing pattern; which can be used for to provide more emphasis on the lateral openings of the ribs. The elbow lock variation encourages thoracic opening to the sides of the ribcage, and extension of the thoracic spine. Both will also improve diaphragmatic release.
Breathing encourages the parasympathetic response to kick in; which is your central nervous systems main deep recovery system towards improve allostasis and relaxation to the body and mind.
Here is a link to our Moveolution YouTube Channel and Video on See-Saw Breathing and Elbow Lock Breathing.
- Elite HRV, adding heart rate variability to improve stress resilience and optimize health.
- Moveolution, (Recovery)Rx lab
- Onnit – Durability Certification