Call me crazy, but that’s a pretty awesome minimal investment of time given the profound effects it can have!
Which begs the question: What effects DOES it have?
From my perspective here are a few bullet points.
NOTE: a MAJOR shout out to Michael Mullin, ATC, PTA, PRC, Mind-Jedi Level II for much of what follows. He’s visited the facility a handful of times to enlighten the CSP staff on some PRI basics.
1. Airflow drives the nervous system. More importantly, the respiration you learned about in school is gas exchange. BREATHING is movement.
2. Taking this a step further, much of the advantage of the PRI approach – and why addressing breathing patterns is important – is that it leads to better outcomes for clients and athletes. Teaching and grooving more efficient breathing is every bit as important as teaching and grooving a proper hip hinge or squat pattern.
3. People who present with a more scissor posture will have a harder time recruiting and using their diaphragm.
In short, the diaphragm is kind of a big deal, and because many of us are locked into a scissor pattern in conjunction with a left rib flare – what PRI refers to as a Zone of Apposition – we have a hard time breathing correctly.
Ideally the diaphragm will act as a superior and inferior “canister,” descending/compressing when we inhale and elongating/doming out when we exhale….which in turn provides optimal stability up and down the kinetic chain.
Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned scissor posture (to the far right in the pic above), we tend to see more anterior translation of the diaphragm locking us into more extension, which in turn doesn’t allow it to perform optimally.
For the more visual learners out there, here’s how the diaphragm should work:
4. All of this to say: these drills help to “encourage neutral.” The body WILL NEVER by symmetrical due to our anatomy, but when someone lives in extension these drills help to get someone closer.
5. Likewise, the brain wants efficiency and will do whatever it takes to get you there. If you watch how most people stand, they’ll revert to what’s known as a Left AIC (Left Anterior Interior Chain) stance, like this….
The right side of the pelvis will be more internally rotated and ADD-ucted and the left side will be more externally rotated and AB-ucted. This, too, causes all sorts of wackiness and effects posture all up and down the kinetic chain. PRI helps to address this and tries to “encourage neutral.”
6. Lastly, if nothing else, the real benefit to all this is that it helps people to chill the eff out.
Exercise drives the sympathetic nervous system and put people on “alert.” I like to incorporate basic breathing drills to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and help people to tone it back down closer to homeostasis.
In addition, anecdotally, so many people are type-A, live in a sympathetic state, and are always “switched on” that they’re unable to relax. Breathing helps to turn on the parasympathetic nervous system and allows people to smell the roses so-to-speak.
There’s obviously A LOT more to all of this and I’m only scratching the surface with this post. It’s a topic that requires a bit more time (and I encourage you to seek other resources if it interests you). That said, everything I alluded to above hits on a few BIG ROCK points that I hope resonates with everyone.
Whether it’s a good fit for YOU and YOUR clients is a discussion that needs (and should) to be considered. In the end, like anything….it depends.