What exactly is 360 breathing and why is it important? For starters, 360 breathing is not belly breathing. If you take a deep breath with your stomach expanding out— this is belly breathing. 360 breathing is the full expansion of your diaphragm at the front, back and sides. Take a moment and try taking 3 belly breaths. When I try belly breathing, I feel pressure coming down on my pelvic floor and almost stop before I can get a full breath. Try taking 3 passive breathes from the chest. Notice the pectoral muscles coming forward and shoulders moving up towards the ears. Continually breathing this way will cause tight pecs, tight shoulders, and a tight neck. Now take a moment practicing taking 3 deep breaths while focusing on the diaphragm expanding in all directions— four-fingers placed on the front of the ribcage, the webspace between the thumb and index finger (referred to as “thenar”) placed on the side of the ribcage and thumbs on the back. Take a deep breath while focusing on expansion of the ribcage— there should be pressure on fingers, thumbs and the thenar webspace when taking a deep breath. This pressure on the fingers is the expansion of the diaphragm, external intercostals, and the serratus muscles working as we breathe in. Now breathe out and feel the ribcage coming back down and in while exhaling fully— this is 360 breathing. When we practice and use 360 breathing, especially when running and exercising, there is less pressure on the pelvic floor, less tightness in the upper body, and proper core muscles are engaged thereby reducing the risk of injury.
Mastering the 360 breathing techniques does not happen overnight, you’ll need to practice, and it takes time. So, I challenge everyone to practice 360 breathing while running, lifting, or even while you are reading a book. What you practice will eventually become a habit.
*Information contained in the above piece was learned after completing a certification course from Core Exercise Solutions.