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How many times have we been told to suck our bellies in so we would look thinner? Just like I'm doing in this picture!! The truth is that holding your belly in all the time to fit into those jeans, to look better, to feel slimmer, is really not good for you. Why not? Because doing so restricts the movement of that amazing primary breathing muscle, the diaphragm. This means that your secondary breathing muscles have to kick in and work harder than they should, and that you are going to breathe high up in your chest. Your breaths are going to be shorter and less effective, causing strain to your neck and shoulders, headaches, tension, stress. I am not telling you to go around all slouched and slumped, of course! Having a strong core is great (and mind you, that does not mean a 6 pack. Those are superficial abs muscles and you don't need them to show up for your core to be strong!!), but we need to let the belly balloon out on an inhale to get the full benefits offered by our beautiful respiratory system. And that's how we are starting every class this week! Go on, place your hands on your belly and see how much they move up with every inhale. Can you gently encourage this movement? Can you go back to it a few times a day and check that you are letting your whole body breathe? Check out diaphragmatic breathing!!

Photography by @ritapiludu

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