Dr Shaanika Marguccios’ (osteopath) take home tips for better breathing.
Breathing is a muscular activity that should happen without you needing to think about it.
Like all muscular activities breathing requires movement in all three planes simultaneously. The sagittal or forwards and backwards plane. The frontal or side to side plane. The transverse or rotational plane.
The key to improving the ‘mechanics’ of breathing is to reduce anything that is restricting the process.
One common habit that restricts breathing is having the abdominal muscles ‘switched on’ when they don’t need to be. The abdominals pull down and/or fixate the lower rib cage, stopping normal movement of the ribs and diaphragm. I might want great looking biceps, but having them flexed all the time will really restrict my movement. It’s no different with your abs.
Tip #1: Learn to relax your abdominals.
The muscles at the front of your hips also pull down on your diaphragm and spine. These muscles shorten over time, particularly when you sit, so even when you stand up and walk around they will continue to interfere with normal breathing.
Tip #2: Stretch your hip flexors often, particularly just before exercise.
Tightness in the upper back, Thoracic, or T-spine, will have a negative impact on breathing as this is the part of your spine that the ribs articulate with. One of the major causes of T-spine stiffness is spending time in a slouched or flexed posture. Once again sitting and over active abdominals are the villains.
Tip #3: Be mindful of your posture, it’s not just about appearance.
Making sounds helps to increase activity of the diaphragm.
Tip #4: When you are trying to monitor or improve your breathing, experiment with making buzzing or hissing noises while you exhale.
Want to know more?
If you missed Breath Better Part 1, but feel the way you breath may be holding you back, Shaanika Marguccio is available at
For those of you who attended the Breath Better workshop we will be running Breath Better Part 2 in the near future. Contact Stable Base to register your interest.