Have you ever seen a jellyfish in the ocean? It expands and contracts as it moves through the water. It looks as if it is breathing. Every inch of our torso can move with breath.

Child’s pose is a great exercise to explore your breath and how if affects your body. Come into a comfortable child’s pose with the knees apart and big toes touching. First bring your attention to your abdomen. Relax your belly and let the breath move the belly in and out. Notice any other parts of the lower torso that can move when you breathe in this posture. Notice how, when the belly expands, the front of the ribcage and the hips move toward your thighs. Notice how the sides of the waist expand and the ribcage opens laterally. Now bring your attention to your lower back. Keep breathing and feel how the breath allows the lumbar spine to spread sideways. See if you can feel movement all the way down the lower back into the buttocks, even into the sit bones of the pelvis. Relax the buttocks and anus and bring the breath even deeper into the pelvis, which will create the sensation of the anus and perineum opening. When the body is free and unencumbered by tension the whole torso breathes, gently and gracefully moving like a jellyfish. Breathing in child’s pose is an especially good posture to get the lower part of the torso moving with breath.


  • Bonnie Foxx
    May 22, 2023 5:50 am

    I’ve noticed that my torso seems more relaxed in child’s post than upright, making breathing much easier. Is there a way I can carry this over to normal activity, since it’s difficult to live one’s life perpetually in child’s pose?

    • Hi Bonnie,
      Wouldn’t it be great if we could live our life in child’s pose? This is actually something I address in my classes. When we are horizontal the muscles of the core are relaxed and help us breathe deeply. The abdominal muscles are actually muscles of exhalation and need to release outward first for inhalation to allow the diaphragm to descend. But when we are upright they are busy being muscles of structural support so it can be hard to release them for breathing and they may hold fast inward. Posture exercises even teach you to hold your core tightly inward toward the spine. Here is an exercise to help free the breathing muscles of the body when you are upright. Begin in child’s pose and take some time to sense the breath coming into the body and what muscles expand when you inhale and what muscles release when you exhale and what muscles engage when you make a “shhh” sound, which is a sounded exhalation. When we use our voice we are actually exhaling but it is a controlled exhalation different from an unvoiced exhalation, which is a fast contraction back to the pre-inhalation state. The sensations that you should be looking for is that your belly is moving outward on inhalation and the bottom of your ribcage should be expanding. The whole waist area may expand like you have a life preserver around it. When you make a “shhh” sound you should feel the belly contract and some gentle muscle engagement of the waist area, maybe even between the bottom ribs. Take a deep breath and then make the “shhh” sound and get a comfortable rhythm of inhalation and exhalation happening. Do this for a few minutes then slowly, keeping the breathing and “shhhing” rhythm, come to an upright position. See if you can keep the same sensations of expansion for inhalation and gentle muscle engagement and closing of the ribcage for exhalation as you come upward. See if you can come to a standing position still keeping your breathing and “shhhing” the same as when you were in child’s pose. If when you are upright your breath becomes tight, start over. You may have to practice this exercise numerous times. You can also do this exercise with just breathing. Inhalation should always be an expansion and exhalation a controlled closing of the body. Always think, belly out for breathing and belly in for exhalation or sounding.

      Let me know how it goes.