Now more than ever we are all looking for ways to keep ourselves healthy by improving our immune systems. Using our breath and moving our bodies is a great place to start to strengthen our defenses from the inside out.
We are back with another episode of Stretch & Bitch with Myss Angie and Koreen Valdovinos! This week we are chatting about the benefits of using the Wim Hof breath, nose breathing, and movement to loosen up the fascia to get better mobility in your upper body and ribcage.
Check out these simple and gentle ways to keep the body healthy and fighting disease using breath and movement.
- Wim Hof method of breathing:
Sit or lay down in a comfortable position, take 30 quick, deep breaths into belly and chest, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then, take a deep breath and exhale all the air out; hold the breath 1 minute, longer, or until you need to breathe in again. Inhale again, as deep as you can, and hold it for 15 seconds. Repeat three times.
The Wim Hoff method stimulates the autonomic immune system (the system that maintains body functions we do not have to think about like the breathing of our heart) and assists the body in faster recovery by lowering the inflammatory response and reducing the acute symptoms of infection while increasing white blood cell counts (the cells that fight infection).
- Increase mobility and reduce tension in your chest and spine by moving the fascia:
Repeat these exercises 4 times or more. Be gentle and present in the moment:
- Open chest with pectoralis minor stretch. Open arms to the sides to create a “goal post.” Inhale when your arms are out to the sides, breath into the pec muscles and feel the breath press from the inside out. Close and exhale.
- Rotator cuff. Keep arms in goal post and rotate the palms down and up, moving through your range of motion with your breath.
- Levator scapulae + upper trapezius stretch. Hold onto the wrist with one hand, drop ear to shoulder and roll forward to the other side. Use your breath to move from side to side rolling forward with the head. Experiment with looking up and down with chin when the head is to one side and then the other.
- Standing or kneeling ½ moon hot style (side body stretches) opens the side of the ribcage. Interlace fingers above head and lean to one side, engaging the core with a slight pelvic tilt so you can feel the stretch in the side of the body and not in the lower back.
- Seated twist- with tricep stretch. Sitting cross-legged, reach the right arm across to the left thigh, reach the left palm up over the back as if giving yourself a pat on the back with elbow to ceiling and bicep by the ear. Twist body up to the sky and then down to the floor. Use the breath to open up the spaces. Then, from center lean over toward the right side to get stretch through the ribs, hip flexors, and obliques. Repeat on other side.
- Angels wings and mobility of the shoulder + ribs. Laying on your back, keep the back of the ribcage in contact with the floor. Take your arms overhead and sweep them down to your hips as if making angel wings in the snow. Be sure to keep the front of the ribs together and prevent them from popping up out of place while you move the arms with your breath.
Use movement to stretch in multiple planes and synchronize your breath to release tightness in the fascia. This will allow more mobility of the body, better breathing, and reduced stress.
..Now that our body is ready, let’s practice some more breathing.
Breathing through the nose can calm us and balance the sympathetic nervous system and vagus nerve. Press your middle finger into your third eye (the space between your eyebrows) and imagine a ball of light under your finger. Press your thumb over one nostril. When you exhale through your nostril, imagine the ball of energy leaving out the nostril and back in. Repeat a few times and switch to the other nostril by using the ring finger to close the nostril. Then imagine the breath in the ball of light going in one nostril and out the other, alternating the thumb and finger to pinch off one nostril at a time.
Breathing works in tandem with the central nervous system and can dictate tension and stress within the muscles. Causing the body to be more susceptible to illness or injury. Try out these techniques and let us know how you felt by commenting below!
Myss Angie + Koreen Valdovinos
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