What's breathing have to do with your ankles?
Breathing is one of my go-to exercises for mobility changes, managing stress, and enhancing recovery.
What's breathing have to do with your ankles? Absolutely nothing. It has to do with relaxing your nervous system, which may be the reason your ankles (or anything else) are locked up in the first place.
Looking to make changes to your mobility? Start your workout or stretching session with ~10 breathes focusing on expanding your belly 3 dimensionally. This will prime the body for relaxation, a key in creating changes to mobility.
Stressed out? Feeling tight in the neck, and shoulders? Take a minute to stop what you're doing and take a few deep breathes. I can almost guarantee you'll feel better. This works well with road-rage too ;)
Are you an athlete looking to recover faster so you can do more sooner? End your workout with 1-2 mins of deep breathing. This will help with step one of the recovery process; returning to your resting state. The sooner you relax after a training session, the sooner your body can begin to repair itself.
Find a position that is comfortable for you. Most people find feet up on a wall, couch, chair, etc. works best for them. However, you can do this in any position you like or have available to you.
Place your thumbs on your back and your fingers on the front of your hip, inline with your belly button.
Take a deep breathe breathing in through your nose while trying to expand 3 dimensionally into your fingers and thumbs (like blowing up a balloon).
Exhale ALL the air out through your mouth.
Blake Gourley holds a Masters of Science in Sports Performance Training and has over 10 years of experience working with rowers. Read more here.