BELLE MATERNITY · BLOG

Prenatal Pilates : the Super method for pregnancy

Prenatal Pilates : the Super method for pregnancy

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Prenatal pilates can make a whole difference in the way expectant mom live their motherhood, pregnancy, labor and delivery. From its extraordinary adaptability & amazing results Pilates is a method that suits pregnancy perfectly. 

I started my journey in pregnancy world as postnatal Pilates specialist and  pelvic floor Pilates sessions in Midwifery center. 

Through my experience, the more I worked on the “after” the more I discovered that  starting Pilates before was making a whole difference & avoid many post-partum issues. 

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What is pilates ?

Pilates is an increasingly effective form of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels. It is a low impact, versatile, and super option for people wanting to improve their strength, posture, balance, flexibility and muscle tone. 

Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the lower abdominal muscles and pelvic floor, providing a ‘stable core’ that supports the back and allows efficient movement. Exercise programs can be extensively modified to focus on different body parts and accommodate individual needs.

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How does pregnancy affect the abdominal muscles, back and pelvic floor?

During pregnancy, the abdominal (tummy) muscles are stretched to make room for the growing baby. This may weaken the muscles, particularly the deep abdominal muscles. Deep abdominal muscles are responsible for providing support to the back (working like a corset). Lack of support makes the back vulnerable to injury. This is made worse by the hormone relaxin, which is released in pregnant women to soften the ligaments and allow the pelvis to stretch during delivery. Many pregnant women experience back pain.

The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for controlling the bladder and bowel. They are weakened as they stretch and hold the weight of the growing baby.

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Weak pelvic floor muscles can result in difficulty controlling the bladder or bowel (incontinence) and can impact on sexual function.

Is Pilates useful in pregnancy?

Pilates is an ideal exercise during pregnancy as it is designed to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.  These exercises can be performed in positions that are suitable for women at all stages of pregnancy, such as on hands and knees, on the side an using props and equipment. 

With the particular focus on deep muscles such as pf (pelvic floor) and transverse, as well as body’s awareness and breathing: it makes the pregnancy comfort rises up & body’s pain and discomfort ease. 

Particular breathing of Pilates which can be used either to engage subtle & deep muscles or discover relaxation and calm are essential tool for both labor & delivery. 

Such exercises  take the stress off the back and pelvic floor, and help position the baby for delivery. 

Is Pilates safe during pregnancy ? 

To exercise safely in pregnancy, you should be able to perform an effective pelvic floor and deep abdominal contraction. Very basic Pilates exercises are designed to achieve this.  This is why you need to be assessed by a Pilates instructor or physiotherapist before continuing with exercises. That’s also why i value & encourage 1-1 when no previous Pilates experience, as it leaves no room for mistakes and wrong postures. 

At jeydancepilates for Belle Maternity program we build the right protocol for your pregnancy. Doing 1-1 sessions by certified instructor with specific knowledge and do&don’t for pregnancy we ensure the safety of all clients. 

In my classes we work on reformer, chairs, and mat. I work hand on hand with physiotherapist and chiropractors to adjust and adapt to body’s changes, as well as medical referrals and midwives expertise for baby’s growth and safety.

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Main benefits Of Prenatal Pilates

  •  keep your body strong & flexible 
  • – protect your pelvic floor (during & after pregnancy ) 
  • – safe : know do & don’t exercises 
  • – adapt to body changes 
  • – breath control  : for labor & delivery
  • calm, stretch, relax : embrace your pregnancy with mindful method
  • – speed up recovery postpartum 

Info& inquiry 

-1-1 50 mins session 

_Jey’s private studio- Shanghai, China

ARTICLES · BLOG

The importance of taking some time Off

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Holidays and summer are around the corner, and you already trying to figure it out: how to continue my routine? Keep my efforts all together and keep on progressing?

One week with no sport and you already freaking out thinking about it;

In this article I will let you know how to compensate 1-2 weeks without sport and which benefits (yes, yes) you can even get from it.  

First question is: How often do you practice?

To understand benefits, you can get from one-two weeks off: you first have to know where you stand. I explain:

-are you a regular practitioner?

-or occasionally workout If you a regular, meaning you train at least 2/ week during the whole year, even more if you’re an athlete: it’s brings benefits to stop your routine 1 to 2 weeks off /year.

The off-season is a necessary part of the training cycle.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with specializing in one sport year-round, it does present a problem when there is no time taken to let the body properly recover.

If you an occasional, you do less than 2 hours / week and you are not strictly regular, then it’s different: it might cause more negatives than positive to stop your sport. It can break down the fragile habits and make you get back to sedentary lifestyle.

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 When you stop your routine: how to compensate?

Now big question is: you are taking some time off, ok, for 1-2 weeks, sometimes more: no regular sport : how to compensate?

  • Eat less

It might not be the advice you want to read. But big truth is: you are less active, you need less fuel: logic.

You need to reduce your amount of food and choose lighter options;

I see a lot of my athletes’ friends’ gaining weight when they stop training, because they keep on eating the same amount of food, sometimes more. It can lead them to sometimes 4kgs a week.

To enjoy your rest without alerting the scale: you’ll have to reduce your carbs intakes, sugar intakes and eat smaller portions;

Choose raw veggies, fruits full of water like watermelon (awesome in summer) and nuts : they will be your best friends.

  • Drink a lot of water

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 Water plays a role in both muscle repair and growth.

Our body is made primarily of water, and water helps carry nutrients, electrolytes and virtually every other substance in your body to your muscles and organs. In fact, most experts affirm that a lot of disease, injuries and infections could be avoided by drinking sufficient water the whole year.

If you exercise regularly during the year your heart rate increased so your muscles can get a quick supply of blood and oxygen. But if you don’t drink enough water, this process becomes less efficient. The result can be muscle pain, spasms, cramps and slowed muscle growth. And of course fatigue.

While you taking some time off you want to get rid of all the toxins accumulated and help your metabolism to regenerate. Water will help with that.

  • Get plenty of rest

 As your’ on holidays all the point is to rest and enjoy with your loved ones right?

And if I tell you, (to make you feel even more guilt-free) that resting is playing a huge role in fitness results & muscles gain: then it’s even better right?When we regularly exercise: some of the fatigue stays with us, gradually accumulating during long periods of intense training dedicated to our favorite sport.

Even as we get fitter and fitter, the mechanisms of recovery and adaptation begin faltering, putting us at risk for chronic exhaustion, difficulty sleeping and loss of motivation, evidenced in part by declining testosterone levels and increases in creatinine kinase and urea.

  • Plenty of sleep

 How many times you heard that sentence huh?

As you taking some days off from your usual routine, it’s the right moment to allow you intense nights’ sleep. And those naps during daytime, along by the pool: why not?

Researches has shown that poor sleep is a major risk for heart disease and overweight;

Sleeping 8 hours a night is an amazing tool for:

-recuperation

-weight loss

-muscle’s gain

-sport performances

Athletes know that and most professional trainers ask for 10 hours sleep to their athletes.

A study from Stanford university women’s tennis team for five weeks as they attempted to get 10 hours of sleep each night. Those who increased their sleep time ran faster sprints and hit more accurate tennis shots than while getting their usual amount of sleep.

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Sleep can, in fact, be one of the best workouts you give your body, enabling it to rest and recover enough to hit the gym with more vigor the next day.

  • Move

Taking a long break doesn’t mean getting overly friendly with the couch and laying down all day long.

You don’t want to fall completely out of shape, and you certainly don’t want to add kgs that will be hard to shed later.

It’s time to diversify: Instead of your usual routine: take it easy an try new things.

Look for activities that either build up some attribute useful in your main sport or keep you moving but with a different mental focus.

For example if you’re a cyclist or runner: choose low impact activity and it might be the right time to try some yoga and stretch those legs!

And if you play basketball or tennis, dabble in mountain biking to keep the heart and lungs working, while giving the joints a break. 

If you spend a lot of time in the gym normally/ you can just enjoy some outside walks or go swimming each morning, your body deserves a rest and taking a Summer holiday is the perfect excuse.

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I like to take 10 days completely off from my routine, and I feel that’s what my body needs after 10 months of intense training and teaching; During those 10 days I just take walks, slow swimming in the sea and that’s it : stretching, reading, enjoying  sun tanning sessions.

 


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Enjoy your holidays

Get plenty of rest, love, friends, sun, fresh air

Love jeydancepilates
ARTICLES · BLOG · TIPS

8 foods To enter Fall with energy

Fall is around the corner, Shanghai has done its back to school and with it it’s craziness of: work, social reunions, parties, birthdays and activities. We love it, but it’s gonna require you to have a good level of energy.

Now you may know from TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) and others holistic sciences that food can heal and prevent a lot of things, especially when it comes to energies and the way you feel.

Today let’s have a look at 8 easy recipes and ingredients to get you all pumped up.

  1. Lemon Water

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Start your day with this beverage, it’s the best way to clean you inside out. Lemons are loaded with healthy benefits, and particularly, they’re a great vitamin C food source which is partly responsible for energy level.

  1. 2. Bananas

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If you feel tired you might lack of magnesium, and in any case it’s always good to do a cure when fall comes. So let’s you full of this mineral.

Bananas take 1 every two days is enough to get the trick. Bananas are rich in potassium, packed with vitamins, and high in flavor. They are nutritious snack at around 100 calories per serving. They’re best consumed mid-morning 10 am, when you feel the fatigue, or before a workout. With all the fiber, bananas will help you feel full and keep cravings at bay last until the next meal.

  1. 3. Nuts

Grab a hand of those every day.

Chock full of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, those nuts you like to munch on are a superfood that’s super good for you. Which nuts?

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Two of my favorites are:

  • Walnuts: provide a significant amount of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid, a compound that helps reduce plaque buildup in arteries and fights heart disease. Studies have also linked walnuts with stronger bones.
  • Almonds: Almonds are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and vitamin E. They contain more vitamin E than any other nut—just one ounce of almonds holds half your daily vitamin E needs. To top off their health benefits, almonds are also high in antioxidants. These superfood nuts will fill you up fast.

I love to get those two during my day, just before giving a class. You can grab a hand while leaving home for work that’s also a healthy option.

  1. 4. Ginger

My favorite!

Ginger has so many benefits that’s unbelievable how much you can get from this root.

As we talk of energy today let’s look how It goes for ginger: two things.

  • Circulation: it is increasing the circulatory system, allowing the blood inside you to move more freely throughout the body. The sensation this provides is one where you feel the get up and go that you once did in your younger years. It helps you feel like you can be more active.
  • Sugar: Ginger can help keep blood glucose levels in check. This is important because these levels have a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain, as well as how energetic or lethargic you feel throughout the day. If you’ve noticed that you get a midday crash it’s likely due to your blood sugar levels, and adding ginger to your lunch might help you stay focused and on task. An all-natural alternative to products like 5 Hour “Energy”.

I like to pour it into water (ginger water)  or eat it raw sliced on my meals; I also like the Japanese option pickled ones. Just right after your meals.

  1. 5. Spinach

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Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function.Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast.

If you think you have enough spinach, think again Just keep adding it!

  1. 6. Spirulina

Talking about Iron, this superfood is my “chouchou” (little favorite in French). So as a non-meat eater I might need to double dose my Iron to get the good amount per day that I need. As a woman you also need more to get the same amount of energy than men.

The first sign of iron deficiency is fatigue, and spirulina contains high levels of iron. The iron-rich content of spirulina is not just for those with a deficiency. Spirulina can help to increase athletic performance; as adequate iron intake maximizes the use of oxygen throughout the human body.

Get a spoon of spirulina everyday into your yoghurts, meals, soups, or if you can’t stand the taste: get a pill version (only organic). Mix it with some Vitamin C to get the full nutriments of it, and absorb Iron.

  1. 7.CHIASEEDS

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Talking about super food these ones are little but so efficient. Chia seeds help with hydration by absorbing 10 times their weight in water. Plus, they have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to give you an energy boost without a crash. BY boosting digestive system, they will get you go to toilets faster and eliminate better, by it: get rid of low energy due to slow digestion.

  1. 8. Tea

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By now, it’s no secret that green tea has a slew of health benefits. You can add putting some pep back in your step to the long list. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine give you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work.  Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.

Tips for summer / Fall: I like to do it cold version. For your homemade cold tea: brew your tea in hot water as usual, let it cool down, then put it into the fridge for one night. The next day you have this delicious version of green iced tea.

For a detox version add lemon and ginger ! It’s delicious! I also like caffeine free version with Rooibos and infusions !

 

 

 

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Eat fat, get slim

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Many of us, including me, have been told for many years that fat is bad for your health and scale, and to get healthy and fit, you’ll have to remove fat from food.

For a long time, we thought that fat was “global fat” and make no distinction between “fatty” ingredients. I myself, removed all kind of fat many years ago, and since recently, was not able to ingest any of them, more over I was intolerant, I had no weight loss, even gained a bit, and started to notice some side effects.

Talking with my friends in fitness industry, yoga teachers, former dancers, nutritionists and so on, I realized a lot of them have tried to cut off fat as well and ended up with one same consequence: didn’t lose any weight at all, or worse: got fat.

Indeed, not eating good fat food will not only stabilize your weight or get you gain some, but it will stop the “losing weight” process if you wish to do so.

Recently many researchers, and my personal studies led me to the same answer to these questions: fat can help us maintain our weight? Fat doesn’t make us fat? In a word: exactly.

Fat is not something to avoid. For starters, it’s essential for normal growth and development. Dietary fat also provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients. Even better, it helps the body burn fat.

But be careful there is two kind of fat, fake beliefs have been built on some “kind of truth”: Not all fatty foods are created equal. For example: pizza, French fries and hamburgers can contribute to weight gain and deterioration of health.

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That’s where confusion has started- 50 years ago researchers have shown that “fat” raised bad cholesterol and can gives many health issues such as heart disease, plus get you fat. But that was about saturated fat.

Nowadays more complex researches have shown that good fat not only reduce bad cholesterol, but raise the good one (yes, yes there is a good one), protect cells, balance the proportions of nutriments in the body, and by it get you thiner;

I was not looking for weight loss to be honest, my main concern was my skin, hair and overall beauty that seemed a bit deteriorated and way much more dry after many years of fat free diet. Which fat to eat then? I will give you today easy “good fat” food

Let’s list three of my fav !

1. Sesame Oilstéléchargement

I might be Mediterranean but I can’t stand olive oil or butter.  I’ve tried other kind of oils to have this amount of good lipid I needed; and I’ve found it: Sesame oil. Living in Asia: sesame oil is one of the most popular one, and it happened to be my fav: super tasty and perfumed, you don’t need much to get one of your dish fulfilled and delicious.

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Sesame oil, which comes from sesame seeds, is a lesser known vegetable oil but is, in fact, one of the healthiest alternatives to normal vegetable oil options.The health benefits of sesame oil include its ability to improve hair and skin health, stimulate strong bone growth, reduce blood pressure, maintain good heart health, manage anxiety and depression, protect infant health, cure the dental problems, prevent cancer, improve the digestive process, and lower inflammation. In a nutshell: it’s a 10 for sesame oil !

2. Chia seedschia-seeds-in-a-bowl

One of the greatest product or “super food” as it considered so, you can find; Chia seeds is full of benefit and the example of good fat. They’re full of fatty acids and omega3. More over they’re also protein, dietary fiber (easy to digest) and full of minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium).

But careful as they became so popular, they also ate in a wrong way that make you miss of the content.  Chia seeds have a mild, nutty taste and can easily be added to most dishes as a garnish, yet chewing small seeds like flax or chia generally doesn’t make the omega-3s and other nutrients readily available for digestion and assimilation. The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.

3. Fatty fishes 

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The term “fatty fish” may sound unappealing, but actually these are the tastiest and healthiest foods from the sea. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the bloodstream. Omega-3 fatty acids may also slow down the growth of plaques in the arteries and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

In an important review of studies, researchers found that getting daily omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil could lower triglyceride levels by 25%-30%. Research has demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in brain and heart health. Specifically, they have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, and be beneficial for pre- and post-natal development. 

Which fatty fishes ? 

Fatty fish typically are cold-water fish. You have many good choices when it comes to fatty fish, it includes: 

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel 

To conclude: researches on “fat” have shown that good fat exist and even more that we need it. This idea revolutionizes how you eat and how you feel on every level. We got into this “big fat mess” and now we can incorporate healthy fats back into our lives to feel better, cut cravings and live with more energy. 

ARTICLES · TIPS

5 ways Pilates can improve your sex life

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Dear Students I often point out Pilates for rehabilitation or alignment but there are much more fun reasons to add Pilates to your repertoire.

Researches have shown that not only Pilates exercises make sex better, but many of Pilates benefits have more than basic benefits in the bedroom.
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1-Use your pelvic floor

The most obvious reason, Pilates makes you have a better sex, and I always emphasize this point elsewhere, it uses your pelvic floor;

Nowadays everybody talks about pelvic floor, but very few (even among professionals and fitness) know what it is and how to use properly.

Pilates is actually one of the only discipline that really makes pelvic floor muscles grow and tone up, and first develop consciousness about them. We work closely the pelvic floor as part of the core foundation.

But what really are pelvic floor muscles?

Before everything let’s recap what are pelvic floor muscles: Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women.

Because yes we talk about both genders when it comes to « pelvic flor », men are often surprised to learn that they even have one!

Researches, and the acclaimed Dr Kegel, recognized the importance of training the pelvic floor and its role to improve sexual function and satisfaction. A healthy, toned up, strong pelvic floor, Is the key to good sex life for women and men!

WHAT TO DO? Work your shoulder bridge on the Mat. Curl up and down between each repetition.

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Then bring that move to the mattress. With consistency, your performance and intensity should help everyone cross the finish line

2- Stress reduction

As being a mind-body focus technique, Pilates will help you reduces stress and calm your mind.

The effects of stress are insidious. It takes a toll on your physical, emotional and relationship health, probably more than you realize. It impacts your overall health and by it your sexual life. Stress raises the production of a hormone called cortisol, and high level of cortisol in your body actually lower your sex hormones.

Lower degree of sex hormones equal lower libido.

Pilates with its regular practice, helps you control and manage stress, and prevent cortisol level from rising too high and too often.

It also, by calming the mind rises testosterone. When it comes to sexual desire, the most influential hormone is testosterone: the hormone responsible for sexual appetite, performances and pleasure.

Pilates class gives you stress reduction comparable to “holidays”, and who never noticed that on holidays your sexual life is way much more active

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3- Work on your breathing

A correct breathing is actually a pattern that very few master and that is essential in every daily life aspect.

When you have sex: you need all the oxygen-rich blood you can get coursing through your body, refreshing your cells, enhancing your endurance, and waking up all of your senses. Unfortunately, for many people their version of heavy breathing is shallow panting, not optimal for full on sex or exercises.

In Pilates we learn to lengthen and pace our breathing timing the exhales with the point of exertion. Translate this into love-making when you’re up for something more than a quickie and you and your partner can draw out a sex session that takes up a full afternoon or more.

What to do? Practice your hundreds (see picture below) then practice small pumps inhale for five, exhale for five.

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4– Concentration

One of the sad facts about exercise is that most people try not to be there for it. They work their bodies but send their minds elsewhere. Pilates is one of this technique that makes you help concentrate and by it: be totally at what you do. Stay present

If you rehearse mentally checking out during physical activity, you may well fall into that pattern during sex. Distraction is an enemy to sexual satisfaction.

So working on your focus is imperative. Joseph Pilates intention was to integrate the body and mind toward an elevation of the spirit and full enjoyment of the pleasures of life.

WHAT TO DO? Begin at the beginning. Work on the first 5 moves of Pilates mat work (The hundreds, leg circles, rolling like a ball, one leg stretch, double leg stretch) with maximum concentration.

Do not let your mind wander outside your body. Note your sensations, challenges and breathing.

The next time you’re feeling frisky, bring your new found focus with you in bed and add this perk to your lover panoply.

This may be the most challenging for some but has the most impact.

 5- Improve variety, better balance

Pilates moves happen on your back, on your stomach, in sitting, kneeling and standing. Many moves challenge your stability and balance. Sex play can be a bit scary for some as we often get into habits routines that involve repeating the same position. As we get older, trying new things is harder mentally and physically.

Improving your balance can help inspire everyone to test drive a new method and simultaneously keep us safe.

WHAT TO DO ? Incorporate some balance Pilates moves into your routine. Most can be done anywhere and anytime. Try teaser.

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Pilates is all about balancing your body. A balance of strength, mobility and even your body chemistry.

Be aware whatever exercise you choose that adopting a Pilates sensibility to right-size your workout is the very best strategy for a happy healthy body both inside and outside of the bedroom.

Now: what are you waiting for?

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TIPS

BREATH

 

THE BREATHING 

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It has been A Subject Often Under-estimated, neglected and deserted by students as well as numerous teacher : The Breathing. The importance of breathing and its consequences on the ability to execute a difficult move ment with better ease is not to prove anymore – although a lot of students and professional still don’t know how to properly breathe accordingly to each movement. 

Which breathing ? 

In Pratique : We have two different type of breathing in Pilates. 

  • Lateral Breathing 
  • Diaphragmatic breathing

1. Lateral Breathing Method 

Pilates Pratique requires a speicific breathing : one of them is called : « LATERAL BREATHING »

What is it ? 

Breathing for Pilates : we breathe deeply, all the way down the spine and into the pelvic bowl, but emphasize expanding the breath into the back and sides of the ribcage.

Why Special Breathing ?  

Breathing is one of the 6 Principles of Pilates Foundation Movements. To Help Doing it : In Pilates We often coordinate the movement with inhale and exhale – at the beginning of the class some exercises to memorize and get the body used to the breathing routine- during the difficult exercises : to initiate and support movement.

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Practice At Home 

Take A Flexible Belt – squeeze string – stretch band – and put it around your rib cage (if you don’t have anything just wrap your hands around your rib cage) See picture below lateral-thoracic-breathing1 Hold the band closed in front of your chest.

1. Inhale : Let the breath travel down your spine and expand to your back and sides of your back- so you can feel that the band – string- hands (whatever you’ve put on your rib cage) is stretched and gently move with your breathing.

2. Exhale : Take A big Exhale by the mouse and try to empty from air as much as you can. Feel your chest becomingsmaller and smaller and ribs – back side gently reduce their size. You had your first Breathing Routine – Practice and Get Used to It !

2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Method

For this one : Start to Learn how to engage your diaphragm 

1. Lay down on your back with Knees Bended or Sit properly with all your weight gently relaxing on your sit bones, spine is straight, stretch your back and relax head and throat.

2. INHALE Breathe in slowly through your nose. Let the air flow into your upper chest and down your spine — expanding the sides and lower ribs, filling the diaphragm, back and lower back, and dropping all the way down into the pelvis. Allow the deep inhale to push your belly out a little bit.

3. EXHALE Let Go the Air – and reverse the order of your breath. Drop your lower abs, then your belly. Let your ribs pull in and last, let your chest drop as in the same time you totally expel the air.

4. REPETITION is The Key – The more you do it- The More you gonna get used it and your body will create a memory for this feeling. Repeat- repeat- repeat- at least 10 times each Time You want practice.

More Advices ? 

 Try Not to Up your shoulder while your doing your inhale movement – your shoulders have to remain nice and relaxed down- Same as Your inhale you want it to be balanced all the way around your body – chest does not move with the breathing but remain relaxed and ribs conserve their shape. 

Enjoy your breathing !