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April 23, 2024

Reclaiming Your Breath: The Power of 360-Degree Breathing for Postpartum Healing

A woman with her hands on her heart and stomach.

As women in this modern world, we have been socialized since a *very young* age (this study shows as early as 4 years old) to pull our belly button’s in, and “be skinny”. This practice of shrinking our body to meet society’s expectations creates dysfunction in our breath, our body, our mind and our spirit – and honestly I think we can all agree that we are over it.

 
The practice of “pulling our belly button in to our spine” creates over-activation of our neck and shoulder muscles (secondary muscles of respiration), and sends our nervous system into sympathetic dominance (aka fight, flight, or freeze response).

 

The societal obsession with women being small causes us to shrink our presence, dysregulate our nervous system, and keeps us distracted from what really matters (our wellbeing, our children’s wellbeing, our community’s wellbeing, and our world’s wellbeing). 

 

If you can’t tell, I’m very passionate about restoring our connection to our breath – and I strongly believe that when we remember how to breathe into our full-incredible-body, we remember our strength, our magic and our power.  MamaCore is not your average postnatal exercise program – it is a movement practice rooted in kinesiology and primal functional movement patterns.

 

The flows are a tool to reawaken your innate connection to your core, by activating the power of your diaphragm and pelvic floor. It’s nerdy and yet so simple – I am just your friend on the motherhood path that reminds you of what your amazing body already knows: that it’s your birthright to expand, and to claim the space you are so deserving of, and to heal through the power of breath.

 

Look to our babies and witness the innate intelligence of their breathing pattern. Their bodies naturally expand with each inhalation,as nature intended, unburdened by societal pressures to appear a certain way or conform to unrealistic standards of physical perfection. This full 360-degree breath is how our bodies were designed to function optimally, protecting the spine, building strength, and facilitating the healing process after the transformative experience of creating life.

 

The core is often mistakenly associated solely with the abdominal muscles, but it is a 360 structure encompassing the diaphragm at the top and the pelvic floor at the bottom. Similar to the cylindrical shape of a soda can. The core muscles, like the can’s label, wrap around the entire circumference, providing essential support and stability.

 

This core system is designed to maintain intra-abdominal pressure, safeguarding the spine and enabling us to lift and carry our children with ease. This pressure is generated through synchronous action of the diaphragm and pelvic floor, which work together to regulate the expansion and contraction of the core. We practice this in our flows by incorporating “movement metaphors” to help you reconnect and remember this primal breath pattern. 

 

However, when we breathe by drawing the navel inward and restricting the breath to shallow inhalations, we compromise the ability of the pelvic floor to lengthen and descend, and the diaphragm becomes tense and restricted. This disrupts the delicate balance of the core system, leading to potential injury and prolonging our healing process.

 

Today I invite you to become mindful of your breath. Notice the depth of your inhale, the expansion occurring not just in the front but also in the sides and back body. When you lose control of that slow and beautiful breath, gently guide yourself back to it, allowing your core to work as nature intended.

Commit to mom time.