Do You Constantly Hold in Your Stomach?

I saw a title that caught my eye: "The Benefits of Breathing". Gosh, isn't that an odd title? Breathing is essential to survival, so...why would we need an explanation? Well, I was certainly a person who needed a lesson on breathing.

Is this you?

Benefits of Breathing
Regardless of the number on the scale, I think any weight-conscious person can find herself subconsciously holding in her stomach throughout the day, with very shallow breathing.
I never realized how much I was holding in my stomach until I went to a yoga class and was told that I wasn't breathing properly. Huh?! Air was coming in and going out--what was I doing wrong?
Reflecting back, I held in my stomach for a couple of reasons. The first was to draw less attention to it since I was ashamed of the size, and the other was to make my pants feel less constricting around my waist. Since I always wore fitted pants, holding in my stomach - when I was standing and sitting and eating - was something that became second nature.
It's pretty common for people to only breath into their chest, but the best way to reap the benefits of breathing is to let the air flow in all the way down into your belly.

I remember feeling so uncomfortable when I released the tension in my stomach and allowed my belly to protrude. When you've spent years trying to look not-so-pregnant, it can be pretty daunting to see your belly inflate all the way with breathing exercises! It was as if I had been trying to obey these new breathing instructions while also hide the same time - I felt an unexpected resistance. In any case, it took getting used to.

But I want to share with you some totally awesome stuff about breathing

It can change whether your body burns sugars or stored fat!

Your body burns either glycogen (sugars) or fats depending on if you are stressed or not. When you are in a stressed state, your body will look for quick energy and start burning sugars - it's pretty common for people who are having stress or anxiety to have sugar cravings, because the body wants to restore the glycogen levels.

But on the other hand, if you are in a relaxed state, your body doesn't have a need to use quick energy so it will target your stored fat as fuel. Most of us work in a stressful environment, so our bodies are constantly choosing to burn glycogen instead of fat - and one of the best ways you can stop this madness is to take a few moments to breathe!

Breathing is a clue to your body that you are safe. And when you are safe, your body can relax. And when it relaxes, it starts using the stored fat on your body as energy. One of the main reasons how I was able to lose weight while exercising less is that the vigorous exercises I had been doing was putting additional stress on my body, where as doing simpler exercises like walking and stretching allowed my body to use fuel in a different way.

So, quit creating extra tension on your body and make a conscious effort to relax and breathe!

Your body will thank you for it, and you'll be that much happier with the positive impact.

What about you? Do you notice that you hold in your stomach? Why do you think that is? What has helped you to relax? Let me know in the comments!