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Expert Q&A On Yoga & Breathing Misconceptions, Part 2 of 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my interrogation with Rich Severin, PT, DPT, PhD( c ), CCS on yoga and breathing errors! As you might remember from last week, I recently contacted out to Rich because I had accumulated a number of questions regarding assertions about breathing that I often discover in the yoga world that seemed questionable to me. As a occupational therapist and board verified cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical professional, I knew that Rich would have an extremely informed view from which to address my questions.( Please visualize Rich’s full bio provided at the end of this fragment !)

Today I present to you the much-anticipated second half of our Q& A. Between these two installments, I feel that this is a very valuable and mesmerizing offering for yoga teachers who are interested in becoming more evidence-based in their teaching. I hope that you enjoy, and don’t hesitate to share your comments and foresees below!



QUESTION 4: Is there an alignment relationship between the rib cage and the pelvis( or between the diaphragm and the pelvic storey) that ensures optimal physiological function in the body? We often hear in the yoga& flow worlds that it’s important that the diaphragm be “stacked above” the pelvic floor so that these two formations can move in concert during breathing. If the rib cage and pelvis are habitually aligned in such a way that these two organizations are not “stacked”, can this result in pain( peculiarly around the sticker and pelvis) and/ or dysfunction in the body?

ANSWER: Everyone’s anatomy is unique. Everyone’s anatomy is somewhat asymmetrical. Everyone’s. Our torsoes respond and make adaptations to tensions over go as well. The ability to respond and adapt/ remodel while preserving physiological affair is how we’ve existed as a genus for thousands of years.

The ability to respond and accommodate/ remodel while preserving physiological purpose is how we’ve survived as a species for thousands of years.

— Rich Severin

Now that’s not to say that rapid or gross the revisions to posture can’t to be translated into difficulties. It can and most of that has to do with exposing the body to emphasizes and ladens outdoing its capacity or without sufficient time to make adaptions. It’s also not to say that really because someone has a insignificant inconsistency from our socially framed( and not biologically erected) model posture they will have sorenes or dysfunction. So no I’m not certain that I would agree with that statement or position of thinking.

QUESTION 5: Is there a known causal relationship between specific motifs of breathing( for example habitual “belly breathing”) and specific core plights such as pelvic organ prolapse and diastasis recti?

ANSWER: Like I mentioned above there’s a lot of things that go into disease and dysfunction. I wouldn’t ascribe one device to any malady or dysfunction. There is some research suggesting that individuals with COPD might have a higher risk for urinary incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction but that’s at situations of extreme of respiratory muscle dysfunction. I don’t visualize most people in yoga are at that grade of infection. Nonetheless if one were to bear down long enough and they had pelvic floor weakness/ carelessnes I could reasonably see a prolapse develop. Nonetheless even in that instance it’s not a one to one rapport. I would caution against stimulating that sort of relationship.

QUESTION 6: In yoga class, we are always taught to breathe in and out through our nose rather than through our lip. I can see how raising nasal breathing during yoga might slow the gulp down and could thus furnish a meditative is beneficial for one’s rehearse. But are there significant physiological benefits to breathing through the nose instead of the mouth in a yoga practice – and in daily life in general?

ANSWER: Most beings are widely breathe through their nose. Even those who use their lip to breathe often still breath through their nose too. Nasal breathing is reflexive and as long as nasal airway resist doesn’t get too high( like when you have a coldnes or congested nose ), the cheeks maintain their seal and the tongue maintains contact with the back of the mouth cavity, you are able to breathe through your nose. Nasal breathing is innate and it allows us to heated, humidify and cleanse the aura we breathe before it gets down to our lungs.

Nasal breathing is innate and it possible to warm, humidify and scavenge the breath we breathe before it gets down to our lungs.

— Rich Severin

The research is a bit limited and conflicting to consider whether mouth breathing or nasal exclusively breathing are more effective. Some studies demonstrate that nasal breathing is more vigor efficient during effort, however some have shown that there is no inconsistency. Oral breathing certainly tends to dehydrate your oral verses and could induce talking more challenging.

QUESTION 7: If someone desired to change their habitual way of breathing( i.e. breathe more into their rib cage and less into their abdomen, for example ), how easily can she/ he re-set the room that their autonomic nervous system controls their~ 20,000 breaths per daylight?

ANSWER: There’s a lot to unpack in this question. Without diving into too much respiratory physiology, the cadence and profundity( pattern) of your breathing is automatically controlled by the respiratory control center in your brain root. The motif of breathing can be modified by various sensory inputs to trigger different neural routes of the respiratory control center to revise the pattern to coincide the stress, work or condition the body is undergoing. The most remarkable and potent sensory input is the pH of your blood and accumulation of carbon dioxide( CO2) which are monitored by guts announced chemoreceptors. When pH or CO2 gets too high or too low, breathing meter and magnitude will provide responses promptly in order to maintain a cellular situation is contributing to metabolic work to keep us alive. The torso is improbably effectively functioning at this process, and oversight matters of pH will ever “win”.

… the evidence that exists now does not suggest that we can change our motif of breathing permanently due to the role breathing takes to keep us alive.

— Rich Severin

We can offset temporary volitional the revisions to our breathing blueprint. We can even temporarily stop breathing. However as I mentioned above the dominate of pH will always prevail. So while we can absolutely induce these changes temporarily, the evidence that exists now does not suggest that we can change our blueprint of breathing permanently due to the role breathing takes to keep us alive.

What countless beings might say is that when one is stressed or in pain it often causes in hyperventilating or rapid breathing. This is due to our respiratory control center face the sensory and emotional inputs and thus selecting an according breathing pattern to pair this “perceived threat”. By practising gradual breathing it may stand one to achieve a more relaxed commonwealth or agitate themselves from ache or stress. If this relaxed territory is achieved, the sensory input of a perceived menace has been absolved and different circuitry in the respiratory control center will be activated generate a more tighten blueprint of breathing. We’re finding that some of the circuitry utilized or involved in these breathing “programs” utilized might be hardwired.

QUESTION 8: The period “breathing dysfunction” is a commonly-used name in the yoga& change worlds these days. Do yoga and move teachers with no concurrent medical education have housing authority and expertise to identify and name breathing dysfunctions and illness?

ANSWER: Breathing dysfunction is a bit of a nebulous call. We encounter this issue often in physical rehabilitation rehearsal too. Regrettably this term is often used cavalierly and done without performing a reliable, legitimate and objective assessment of breathing concert such as spirometry( lung works ), respiratory muscle accomplishment, pulse oximetry or arterial blood gases, and markers of ventilatory economy during exercise.

Visual inspection and manual evaluation of breathing run are very subjective and are not sufficient to determine if someone’s breathing is dysfunctional.

— Rich Severin

Visual inspection and manual assessment of breathing part are very subjective and are not sufficient to determine if someone’s breathing is dysfunctional. So unless those objective calibrates were mentioned are being used I would strongly caution against labeling anyone’s breathing as dysfunctional; especially if they are walking and talking into your clinic or studio. Remember there are so many things involved with breathing and we generally do a pretty good hassle at it.


Rich Severin PT, DPT, PhD( c ), CCS is a physical therapist and council certified cardiovascular and pulmonary clinical consultant. Currently he acts on faculty as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Baylor University in the Hybrid Doctor of Physical Therapy program and The University of Illinois at Chicago( UIC) Department of Physical Therapy as a Visiting Clinical Instructor. At UIC he too suffices as the program coordinator for the Bariatric surgery rehabilitation program and is working on a PhD in reclamation science with an emphasis on cardio-respiratory physiology and obesity. He deserved his Physician of Physical Therapy Degree from the University of Miami. He accomplished a cardiopulmonary residency at the William S Middleton VA Medical Center/ University of Wisconsin-Madison and an orthopedic residency with a focus on clinical experiment at the UIC. He has established scholarly contributions and presented both nationally and internationally on topics relating to cardio-respiratory physiology and clinical tradition. He is an active is part of the America Physical Therapy Association( APTA ), The American Physiological Society and various other professional and technical societies. He helps on the board of directors for Cardiopulmonary Section of the APTA as the chair of the communications committee and as a member of the nominating committee. Dr. Severin is also a member of the APTA Cardiopulmonary Section Heart Failure Clinical Practice Guideline developing crew, the Specialization Academy of Content Experts, and the editorial timber for Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal. Follow him on gab @PTReviewer.

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