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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
 
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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Posture and Breathing

Posture and Breathing

If you note the alignment of the spine of a relaxed, standing child, you'll see what a natural, healthy posture looks like. The hanging gut" that so many adults experience is not the same, however, as a relaxed but strong belly or midsection. Lack of muscle tone in the core muscles of the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and genital region is the result of lack of exercise, poor diet leading to overweight, and the long-term patterns of sitting (as mentioned above) or lounging in ways that encourage a lack of tone in the midsection. A weak middle is one of the primary reasons for low-back pain as well as insufficient intake of oxygen. The remedy for this weakness is not to artificially suck in the belly - this immediately causes you to hold your breath, exactly the opposite of what is needed. Instead, try lifting your sternum while rolling your shoulders up, back, and down, bringing your shoulder blades downward. Notice how this alignment naturally creates more breathing room while naturally toning the belly. The optimal remedy is to strengthen the core muscles while at the same time learning to breathe more fully and consistently.

The diaphragm physically separates the lungs and heart from the abdomen. Additionally, above the diaphragm is the domain of the intellect, the rational mind; below it is the emotional realm, the "gut," the pleasure centers and reproductive organs. Breathing then becomes the harmonizing force, the integrating process that unites and balances us, head with heart with belly.




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