It’s finally out of the way,” my client exclaimed.
“What’s out of your way?” I asked. “Your attitude?”
“Nah,” he replied. “My gut finally shifted out of the way and now I can keep my leg straight and touch my foot.”
This was a breakthrough. We are talking about a guy who had trouble just seeing his feet, let alone touching them. We had been working hard at leaning out that personal beer keg of his. While he was farmboy strong, he had a heck of a time with flexibility, any kind of endurance and movement.
That is until he got some control of his breathing.
He was often inhaling and exhaling at the wrong time and holding his breath too long as well as panting and gasping like a steam engine. We finally got him to exhale deeply while performing abdominal exercises. The same with Hindu Squats. Then we moved onto other exercises.
Part of the problem was that his paunch was pushing against his lungs, especially while on his back. This crowding of his lungs, made it difficult for him to breath or concentrate on what he was doing. He jokingly bragged about his “42 pound handicap.”
So, we worked the abdominal muscles at different angles where he was not struggling to breathe. Then we really focused on his breathing when he finally felt a “shift” inside of his rib cage.
You see, many peoples’ stomachs get bloated from lack of exercise, slouching at a desk, eating junk and guzzling massive amounts of beer. Not only is there a layer of (cutaneous) fat just under the belly skin, but also (viseral) fat amongst the internal organs. The weight of the internal fat and a weak stomach wall lets the internal organs sag below the ribcage. When the gut sags, so does the person’s energy.
The problem with many fitness programs is that they try to flatten a bulging belly with a one-size-fits-all approach of “burning more calories” and lots of cardio exercise. They almost always skip body alignment and the essential breathing techniques. So, the pot-bellied client often gets spindly arms and legs, lower back pain and a whole lot of frustration.
My particular client was able to extend his hand to touch the foot of his straight extended leg after I coached him closely with a deep breathing technique. It enabled him to stretch farther on his own without any outside assistance. This is where he finally felt that “internal shift.” His agility has also improved to where he can almost stand up from sitting cross-legged without the use of his hands. Instead of being breathless after exercising, he calms his breath in less than a minute.
Here is the trick. (Exhale as you stretch or do abdominal exercises.)
He literally breathed his way to greater strength, flexibility and a flatter stomach.
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