Suck It In Ladies! Said No Lioness Ever.

Years ago I got stuck in a poor breathing pattern, possibly because I incorrectly interpreted complex breathing instructions via Pilates but mostly through crap advice via the fitness industry… Belly in, chest up, pelvic floor tight aaaaaand move your arse. Looking back, it was the equivalent of lacing myself into a corset and going for a run. Pass me the smelling salts would you dear.

I think I pulled my belly in somewhere in the early 90’s and I didn’t let it out again until 2012. That’s tantamount to holding your bicep in one position for 20-odd years and still expecting it to function.

2012 was the year that I attended a lecture given by Douglas Heel, the creator of Be Activated. It was entitled. ‘What if everything you are learning is wrong?’

He challenged many of the fitness industries contrived breathing methods, his reasoning was that that they don’t honour the basic needs of the body and they induce a stress response known as fight-flight.

In this state, the body is in survival mode therefore it cannot adapt or learn. He taught me a simple technique that stimulated diaphragm function and increased my lung capacity.

From that moment on things began to change for me. For one thing, the world became brighter as my optic nerve suddenly got the equivalent of a fuel-injected shot of oxygen, and my long-term injury started to heal as my body shifted from a ball of stress to a relaxed state. Dr Herbert Benson – The relaxation response

I learned that breathing into the diaphragm makes me stronger. I also learned that professional powerlifters use the scary waist belts because it can help them increase intra-abdominal pressure, reportedly by up to 40 percent. Increasing intra-abdominal pressure is similar to inflating a strong balloon inside your abdominal region which is said to significantly reduce compression of the intervertebral discs. They never mentioned that in core stability classes did they. NCBI study on back pain, multifidis and transversus abdominis

Armed with this new and brain scrambling information I began to see evidence of this everywhere. I observed that my niece would take a breath and hold it in if she didn’t want to be picked up, and this tiny little girl was much more solid and heavier for it. My sister’s mental dogs did the same thing. They would, fill their bellies and slowly pant – and occasionally aim a jab to your head if they didn’t want to be moved… Never work with kids and animals.

Adopting a natural state of breathing is imperative for well being, strength, power, and ┬ámental health, and on that note, I’m taking my lead from the law of the jungle.

‘Suck it in ladies we’re going to catch dinner. ‘ Said no lioness ever.

Transverse abdominis / multifidus co -contraction theory

About the Author Bev Porrino

Bev uses Douglas Heel's Be Activated Method in her clinic and in her Yoga and movement practices as well as supporting specialist community groups. She is the UK and Ireland Be Activated Course Facilitator and runs introductory workshops in Dublin.