And it is for this reason that there are many ways to breathe:

  • chest breathing
  • belly breathing
  • 360degrees all around your ribcage
  • any combination of the above

When stressed, we tend towards chest breathing, high, fast and shallow (often accompanied by an open mouth). The chest and shoulders are elevated and the neck muscles are working overtime. These muscles are our  ‘accessory’ breathing muscles. Accessory because they should only be used when necessary. This is why accessory rhymes with necessary… When overworked unnecessarily you can expect symptoms ranging from headache to teeth grinding and dizziness. So, do your accessories a favour, shut your mouth, relax your jaw and carry on reading… 🙂

When lying down, the most relaxing way to breathe is the belly breath. When sitting or standing belly breathing is not so appropriate as your belly muscles are necessary for maintaining the integrity of your lumbar spine. (Please do not confuse naturally functioning abdominal strength with tension! Any sucking in or bracing of the belly is equal to tension. More on this another day). Every time you shove your belly out for a breath, you are messing with the natural function of your belly muscles and creating weird pressures around your diaphragm. This in turn passes the pressure on downwards towards the pelvic floor. Which in turn has to deal with this unnecessary tension by… become more tense. Ugh.

The ribs on the other hand, the lovely, lovely ribs are curiously formed in a 360degree form encasing the LUNGS. The ribs have muscles spanning between each other which give them the ability to twist up and wide and create space for the lungs to expand. Your ribs (costals) and their intercostal muscles allow your shoulders and neck to relax and save your pelvic floor and diaphragm from all sorts of strange pressures. Your ribs, when stacked and moving with your breathing will actually allow your core muscles to return to their original intended state. The state of relaxed and coordinated strength.


  • adaptation: hyperkyphosis
  • ‘good posture’, aka military posture, aka rib thrust
  • stress: stiff neck, shoulders and rib-thoracic vertebrae connections that have become rusted like an old bike chain.

Hyperkyphosis and rib thrust: wearing shoes and hours upon hours of sitting tightens the back line of our body, from our feet all the way up past the calves, hamstrings, spine, neck, over the skull and forehead to the eyebrows! Check out Thomas Myers’ work – the superficial back line – for more on this.  This lack of length and too much tension flings the upper body forward when walking and to save us loosing face – ie  falling flat on our face – our body compensates with even more tension. We lift our ribs to counter the fall, the belly lengthens and the lower back becomes short and tight and eventually painful. The thoracic spine slowly adapts into a quasi-quasimodo 😦 If this did not occur your head would be a 1/2 meter behind you instead of 1/2 meter in front of you. Get it?

And not to mention the stress created by inappropriate reactions to the biological needs of our body: too little sleep and too many stimulants, poor food, too much noise, an argument, a shocking event, it all adds up. Especially when we have been ignoring these signals for many years. At a certain point our wonderful bodies will tell us in no uncertain terms that it is time to pay attention. Maybe with a panic attack, hyperventilation or a body that is aching…


Next time: What else can you do to breathe BETTA???

love Mina & Lucie


Alignmentgurus were spotted @ #AHSNL15 #walkyourselfsexy #re-wildyourworkspace

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 22.48.58We, the alignmetgurus,  were honoured to have been invited to give two movement clinics at the first ever Dutch Ancestral Health Symposium  – thanks Melchior! To say we had fun is a total understatement…

Our clinics “Re-wild your workspace” and “Walk yourself sexy” were both full and received with much enthusiasm. The idea that you are not only what you eat, but also HOW YOU MOVE (#MOVEYOURDNA) was new to many and made sense to all.  Both clinics were filled with handy tips about how to start moving more and better, how to create new movement habits and super-charge all the cells of the body. If you, dear reader, are interested in supercharged cells, in re-wilding your life, let us know, we are available and willing!

Plus we were stoked to attend the kick off dinner, the “meet, greet and eat” with the stars of the show. And once again as is wont in our lives… an entirely new world opened up… our horizons broadened… we shifted… expanded and changed our minds to play with a new paradigm…

The low carbohydrate world:

For the quick and easy, blog version: weight issues, obesity and excess visceral fat (=fatty organs, skinny people are not exempt here – you cannot see fatty organs) are likely caused by insuline resistance.  It would be a good idea to get yourself tested to see if you are insulin resistant, or pre-diabetic. Insulin resistance leads to other modern (lifestyle!) dis-eases, arterial wall damage, inflammation and Alzheimers, now known as “Type 3 diabetes”.

According to Medical Doctor and Professor Tim Noakes, many weight issues and especially obesity are not caused by a lack of willpower or the amount of food eaten. These situations have more to do with carbohydrate (insulin) sensitivity. Professor Noakes was an enthusiastic adherent of the carbohydrate rich, low fat diet and a keen marathon runner. Until he developed type 2 diabetes. Then, as often occurs in life, fate intervened (an entirely new world opened up…) in the form of a book – the Atkins diet. Initially very skeptical, he opened the his mind first, then the book, did his research and realized that…

He was wrong… we were wrong…

By turning his lifestyle around to a low carbohydrate, high fat, nutrient dense (paleo) diet he also turned his diabetes around. This lifestyle excludes non-foods (most of what is found in the supermarket); transfats (supermarkets… margarine, chips, cookies); sugar (ditto); light products (ditto); hmmm, would it be better to avoid the supermarket and find a farmers market?

In the 1970’s fat was blamed for causing many of our modern ailments, for causing high cholesterol  (minute 8: statins increase chance of diabetes), clogging arteries and killing us. Interesting to note that since the majority started following the low fat, high carb advice from our governments that we seem to be getting sicker and sicker…

It may seem challenging to avoid sugar and grains and to eat only minimal fruit. However the challenge seems totally worth it for healthy arteries and an auto-immune system that rocks. We  were inspired with case studies of people regaining their health and vitality. Like the lady who had experienced many physical ailments due to rheumatism. Her specialist was curious as to how she had regained her health – her blood tests were back to normal. When she answered that she had been eating ‘paleo’ for the past year he replied that he and his colleagues had encountered this phenomena in other patients who had changed to the high fat, low carb diet…

Luckily good news spreads fast and change is in the air.  Yesterday the Swedish government took the lead as the first government to admit: We were wrong! And lo and behold:

The New Advice!

In the meantime, we, the Alignmentgurus, have been building our network of super inspiring people. We (re)met a few more paleo stars: Richard de Leth, Candy Fede,  (aka Ms Barefoot Belgium), Elke Gunst, prof. Tim Noakes, nutritionist Connie Hoek, Hendrika Mantel, Peter Joosten and AHS photographer and journalist Rypke Zeilmaker.

And we loved every minute of it…  And we have a new ‘claim to fame’ 😉


The Alignmentgurus and Professor Tim Noakes

Tipsforyourhips #4 – AllBlacks

Dear All Blacks,
26-16 vs Argentina!!! Yeeeeee haaaaaaa!!!!!
I offer my services so you all may retain many more years of healthy knees. An upper leg turning in plus a lower leg turning out = a very stressed knee and a drying out hip plus an overworked lower back.
I would absolutely love to teach you all how to balance and juice up your hips which will please your knees and bring joy to your backs.
Let me know when you want me to start.

#hippyhips 4