Training Tuesdays: On Learning to Breathe

Not surprisingly, since most of my body appears to function incorrectly, I also don’t breathe properly.  Now that my collection of health care practitioners is suitably freaked out about the tenuous nature of my injury, we’ve all gone back to basics. I knew I’d be scaling back on weight and complexity of exercises in my personal training session this week, but I had no idea I’d be going as basic as breathing properly.

Even worse, I had no idea I don’t know how to breathe properly.

You’re going to think this is a tangent, but I promise you it isn’t. I don’t do yoga. Everyone tells me how good it would be for me, and I actually agree, but I refuse. Want to know why? Everything is all about breath and grounding your pelvic floor and all these other expressions that are utterly meaningless to me. Even when people try to explain to me what it should feel like, I’m just like “huh?????”. I am a lost cause.

Clearly this is not me. Also, I sort of hate this guy.
Clearly this is not me. Also, I sort of hate this guy.

I told you it wasn’t a tangent.  In fact, it perfectly explains two frustrating breathing-related experiences I’ve had lately. One was when I was told to breathe like I’m breathing through my groin. Seriously, what? The thing is, you don’t breathe through your groin, so that is an absolutely terrible way to describe what you’re asking me to do. The other was when I was told to breathe so that the base of my rib cage expands, but that my pelvic floor stays grounded. Again, what? I’m not even a little embarrassed to admit that I kind of don’t even know what my pelvic floor is, so keeping it grounded is a complete and utter mystery. All of it is just beyond frustrating.

Here’s the thing: I understand why I’m being asked to do these things. Evidently, these fine professionals have noticed that when I breathe incorrectly, my shoulders tend to turn in and my upper body collapses and all my form goes to hell. When I breathe properly, my shoulders stay separated, I have “space across my collarbone” and all is well with my body form. It’s all perfectly logical. The problem is, I have no idea how to translate the descriptions and directions I’m getting into actual, proper breathing.

I told you. Lost cause.

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