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Is belly breathing the right way to heal Diastasis?

I got a lot of great questions in our free AlphaMamas Facebook group this week. It’s a question that comes up A LOT, so I’m answering it here! 

1) “Aren’t you supposed to “belly breathe?” I’m working on breathing through my ribs/back as instructed but saw somewhere that it’s better to breathe in your belly.”

2) “Should I contract my core as I exhale or just relax and let it flop? Lol”

This is such an important question! If you have diastasis recti, belly breathing pushes all the air out front of your belly, which is the weakest part of your abdominal wall, and does not help heal your abs, but does put excessive pressure on an already weak core.

On the other hand, 360 breathing is a safer and more effective technique (which you’ll learn inside the Core Corrective) that can aid in healing and strengthening your core.

So, what exactly is 360 breathing?

360 breathing, also known as diaphragmatic or lateral breathing, encourages expansion of the ribcage, sides, and back, rather than just the front belly. It involves the following steps:

  1. Start by lying down on your back with relaxed shoulders.
  2. Inhale deeply through your nose, focusing on expanding your ribcage out to the sides and around the back. Focus on breathing into your back such that it expands down and presses into the floor. Your belly will rise on the inhale too, but it should rise last.
  3. As you exhale through your mouth, gently engage your abdominal muscles to support your spine.

Why is 360 breathing better for diastasis recti?

  1. Reduced pressure on the abdominal wall: 360 breathing minimizes the pressure placed directly on the front of your belly, which is crucial for healing diastasis recti. By engaging your abdominal muscles gently during exhalation, you provide support to the weakened area without putting undue stress on it.
  2. Strengthening the core muscles: 360 breathing engages not only the abdominal muscles but also the diaphragm, pelvic floor, and deep back muscles. This well-rounded approach aids in overall core stability and promotes the natural healing of the separated abdominal muscles.
  3. Improved posture: Proper breathing mechanics promote better posture, reducing strain on your lower back and enhancing your body’s ability to function optimally.
  4. Enhanced mind-body connection: 360 breathing encourages mindfulness and helps you develop a better awareness of your body, enabling you to listen to its needs and progress at a pace that is comfortable for you.

This free guide will get you started with correct 360 degree breathing. Hopefully that helps clarify just a little bit why we focus so much on 360 breathing vs belly breathing for moms with diastasis. And for those who don’t have diastasis, 360 breathing is better for you too! 🙂

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