You breathe about 17,000 to 30,000 times a day. Needless to say, breathing is one of the most important movements you make every single moment!
Improper breathing can lead to a wealth of biomechanical problems. Sitting is usually the source of our faulty breathing patterns since it impairs the diaphragm and also makes it hard for the ribs to expand. Plus, sitting puts a lot of mechanical stress on our low back.
To help your body get the most out of each breath and also alleviate some mechanical stress, here’s a fusion between Restorative Supported Bridge Pose and a corrective exercise, Crocodile breathing. It’s called:
Crocodile Bridge (or Supported Bridge with Lateral Breath)
- Supported Bridge helps relieve a lot of mechanical low back stress via supporting the ligaments of the sacrum and pelvis
- Crocodile Breath helps one breathe laterally into their low ribs to better integrate the diaphragm and promote proper rib mobility.
#treatyoself to this wonderful pose, your body and mind will thank you for it!
Step 1: Get into Supported Bridge
- Place a block (or a pillow/book) under your Sacrum. This is the flat area, right above your butt crack and below your spine. It goes perpendicular (like a “+” sign) to the spine.
- Low or medium height block
- Relax with your arms resting on the floor next to your body with the palms facing up
(For a more detailed breakdown on Supported Bridge check out: Restorative Backbends to Alleviate Mechanical Stress & Back Pain)
Step 2: Crocodile Breathing
Because their bellys are against the ground when they rest, crocodiles breathe laterally or out into their side bodies. Check it out here:
It may take a few loops to see, but soon you’ll notice how these baby crocs breathe by expanding into their side bodies.
Traditionally, Crocodile Breath is taught Prone (or with your stomach on the ground).
(Breakdown & Video here)
On your inhale: expand your breath into your lateral ribs
On your exhale: relax your lateral ribs to help push your air out
It’s pretty subtle, but you can see how my ribs start to expand outward into my hands, then my middle chest raises.
- Move into Supported Bridge. Place a short or medium height block or pillow under your Sacrum (the flat area above your butt, and below your spine).
- With your feet on the ground, keep your knees bent at about hip width distance or slightly wider
- Bring your hands to your outside ribs
- Inhale: expand your ribs into your hands
- Exhale: relax your ribs as you slowly let your air out
- Avoid breathing first into your upper chest and raising your shoulders
- Direct your breath into your lower lungs and ribs instead
- Become aware of your back ribs expanding on your inhales
- It may help to visualize your rib cage between two boards, as you inhale and expand these boards move away from each other, as you exhale they come closer
- You may even feel your low back expand into the block under your sacrum on your inhales
General rule of thumb with the breath is to have your exhales twice as long as your inhales. (Ex: Inhale to the count of 3, exhale to the count of 6)
Needless to say, this is a great way to de-stress after a long day especially if you spend a majority of it sitting in a desk/chair.our sedentary stuck-in-a-chair all day lifestyle. Sitting actually impedes our ability to use our whole body when we breath.
As you can also see this is an AMAZING posture/activity for low back pain. Engaging the diaphragm and relieving some mechanical ligamentous stress can make a huge difference in your body and mind.
Breathing is everything my friends, so please be mindful and take full advantage of every breath you take in and let out!
For more on:
- Breathing, your core, and backbending: Abs & Anti-Extension: “Inhale – Backbend”
- Rib & Thoracic Spine Mobility: 3 Yoga Poses for Thoracic Spine Mobility
- Mechanical Low Back Stress: Restorative Backbends to Alleviate Mechanical Stress & Back Pain
Keep your mind, body, and lungs expanded friends 😉