3 BEST Diastasis Recti Breathing Exercises using Diaphragmatic Breathing
Healing diastasis recti requires a whole-body approach. Simply put, there is not one thing you should do, or one exercise, or even one muscle to target. It is essential that we look at movement, breathing, and postural patterns that can be part of the problem. For many, many of my clients, improving their breathing patterns has been a major key to their healing. Today, we’re just going to look at the breath and I will offer some simple and effective breathing techniques to help you resolve your diastasis.
DIAPHRAGM MOVING WITH BREATH
With a normal breath, on the inhale the diaphragm (the main muscle of breathing, located in your rib cage) descends, as does the pelvic floor. When you exhale, the diaphragm and pelvic floor lift.
ALL breathing is diaphragmatic. If your diaphragm doesn’t move when you breathe, you’re either paralyzed or not alive. Your body changes shape to accommodate the increased volume in the lungs when you inhale. Breathing is like steering a car down the street: you can choose where to steer that shape change. Steer your breath so that your ribcage expands in three dimensions, and you get one kind of shape change. Steer your breath so that your abdomen bulges, and you get a different kind of shape change, one that might increase a diastasis recti or weaken the core. When we’re trying to solve diastasis recti or pelvic floor problems, we want to learn how to steer into a three-dimensional breath because a main goal is to decrease what is called intra-abdominal pressure (IAP).
Intra Abdominal Pressure
Intra-abdominal pressure is pressure in the abdominal cavity. A certain amount of intra-abdominal pressure is normal, but excessive pressure can contribute to a number of dysfunctions such as hernias, diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction. If you’d like to feel how this pressure works, take a breath deep into your belly, expanding it and allowing your pelvic floor to descend as well. The pressure you feel in your core and pelvic floor is IAP.
Three-dimensional Breathing Technique
A three-dimensional breathing technique, on the other hand, keeps intra-abdominal pressure within a manageable range. Three frequent causes of excessive intra-abdominal pressure:
- Belly breathing: Belly breathing is steering your breath into your belly.
- Sucking your stomach in: Holding your abdominal muscle tight all day means that they can’t adapt to variety of loads or yield when necessary, thus creating excess intra abdominal pressure.
- Bearing down: you are trying to push something out of your body – this is excessive downward pressure.
These 3 breathing exercises for diastasis recti will help you start to connect with your breath and develop a three-dimensional breathing pattern. Remember: don’t force these movements, but rather explore how your body can move in theses patterns.
- Hands to ribcage:
Bring your hands to base and sides of your ribs. Inhale, and see if you can move your hands from side to side. repeat a few times. then try breathing normally again, and notice whether you can feel more space in your ribcage.
- See Saw breath:
Practice steering your inhale first into your ribcage, then into your belly. Alternate this a few times, and see if you can keep your belly still while moving your ribs, the wether you can keep your ribs still while moving your belly.
Imagine that there are small holes poked all over your ribcage. As you inhale the air flows through the holes gently.
This diaphragmatic, three-dimensional breath is half of the breathing picture. to learn how to use your breath to engage your transverse abdominal muscles is the other half look at my article at Restore Your Core discussing this.