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Beginning exercise to develop abdominal muscles

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Objective is to introduce the use of hands to master abdominal breathing.

Step 1. Lie down with back flat, tailbone down, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, legs slightly apart aligned with hip.

Step 2. Place hands on abdominal area in order to feel the movement, preferably below navel (or just above navel if that is more comfortable.) Hands should be one on top of the other with thumbs touching to make a circle and the armpits are flared open, with shoulder blades spread apart. For females, right hand should be placed over left hand. For males, left hand should be placed over right.

Step 3. Inhale pushing abdominal muscles out, starting at the lowest part of the abdominal area and rolling the movement up into the chest as you inhale. Focus on feeling your breath travel from your nose to deep into your abdominals on the front side of your body. At the end of the inhalation, pause before exhaling. Focus on dropping/relaxing the shoulders as you pause.

Step 4. Exhale slowly, about four times longer than the inhalation or longer. As you exhale, focus on the shoulders to relax them during the exhalation. Play at relaxing the shoulders. Focus on feeling the air travel primarily on the backside of your body from your abdominal muscles around the tailbone, and up the spine, around the head and out the nose.

Beginning exercise to develop Art of Walking techniques. Objective is to walk one city block on one exhalation with no strain.

Step 1. Focus on breathing, to “walk with the breath” is to inhale fast and exhale slowly, the slower the better. The rule is short inhalation, long exhalation.

Step 2. Find your hip alignment with your abdominal muscles. Standing, relaxed, push your abdominal muscles out. Adjust or wiggle your hips to “find” where your legs “fall” straight down from the hip joint. This is the beginning of finding your best balanced walking posture.

Step 3. Touch the middle finger to the thumb on both hands, and point the index finger straight out on both hands.

Step 4. Combine the abdominal breathing technique with walking. Walk as much as you can using the postures from steps 2 and 3 and stay focused on dropping the shoulders on every exhale. Start walking inhaling over 2 to 4 steps and exhaling on 8 or more steps. Try to achieve four times more steps on the exhale as you do on the inhale.