Our diaphragm is a respiratory muscle – it is ‘designed’ to draw air into our chest, however, much the same way as changing the angle of a bench can make a chest press more or less difficult, changing the position of our hips, ribcage, or indeed any other part of our bodies can put the diaphragm in a position of weakness. If and when this happens, our brains have to figure out how to get air in and out another way…
Not breathing is not an option, so with the diaphragm out of play we will have to breathe from the top of our lungs which involves trying to ‘shrug up’ the shoulders to create space. This shrugging up, or over extension, can cause tension and trigger points on the shoulder and neck, tension in the jaw, headaches, and even debilitating migraines. Working down the chain there will be a tendency to hyperextend the lower back – causing a cascade of compensatory patterns in the hips, knees and even feet!
Our bodies are not designed to live the way we do. We spend far too much time in one position, whether sat at desks, or exercising always in the same way. Essentially we are forcing our bodies to live a 2D symmetrical life when we should be living in a more asymmetric, or 3D kind of way.
If you were to draw a line down the middle of your body, we would not be the same on both sides. And yet if you think bout the activities we partake in to move our bodies – especially in gym settings – we are expected to do everything symmetrically: run in a straight line on a treadmill, sit on a spin bike, perform a squat or a deadlift in a neat parallel stance…. These activities all fit into a world we have created around us, but it is not how we are meant to be. We need and thrive on reciprocal rotation in order for our bodies to work correctly.
The founder and godfather of PRI – physical therapist Ron Hruska – discovered that common problems such as shoulder or back pain are caused by improper posture and therefore improper breathing. By fixing the posture and optimising breathing patterns we can cause the most extraordinary changes to almost every aspect of human performance. All we do is train your brain to breathe efficiently in a more optimal position. A little like pressing the reset button on a mobile phone!