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Running to the Core Podcast

Jul 31, 2023

In this Part 2 of the podcast with Carrie Hall, Carrie goes through the breathing cycle of inspiration and expiration, and how you can become aware of feeling your rib expansion in 360 degrees directions, to the front, sides and back parts of your ribs. She explains how the diaphragm moves downwards, and when the pelvic floor is functioning normally it also moves downwards with inspiration and then upwards with expiration, during the breathing cycle.

About Carrie:

Carrie Hall has been a physical therapist since 1983, earning her undergraduate degree from Saint Louis University and graduate degree from Washington University in Saint Louis (WUSTL).   Carrie’s philosophical approach toward physical therapy is founded in the movement system approach as developed by Shirley Sahrmann, PT, PhD, FAPTA, integrated with manual therapy and pain science.  

She has had the roles of clinical instructor and assisting teaching continuing education courses related to the movement system with Dr Sahrmann and fellow colleagues. She was co-author of Therapeutic Exercise: Moving Toward Function, now in its 4th edition.

Carrie founded Movement Systems Physical Therapy in 1995, in Seattle, Washington which she sold after 27 years.

She is now founder and owner of Sisu Physical Therapy and Mentoring Services, providing mobile PT and mobile/virtual clinical and business mentoring services.

Carrie is also a longtime advocate for physical therapy with past APTA Washington Board and Committee positions as well as current Chair of Nominating Committee for APTA Private Practice.

Carrie talks about the parallels she sees between a postnatal mum and a new born baby – who takes a full year to get up and walking, developing trunk, abdominal and neck muscle strength during this time as they move from lying to rolling to sitting and crawling, then move into standing.

Mums who have just given birth have a stretched and lengthened abdominal wall and need to rebuild their core strength, and Carrie explains that using support garments or belts can help their diaphragm to work more effectively as a postural muscle.

As you regain postural and movement awareness, consider moving through the developmental sequences with your baby. When you are on the floor on your hands and knees, pelvic rocking and the cat/cow exercises help to open up your ribcage, and allow expansion again, as this can be restricted during pregnancy.

We take a step back to talk about the benefits of the hands and knees position for exercise during pregnancy especially in the later stages, to keep the abdominals, pelvic floor and intercostal muscles functioning well. Ideally this will make your postnatal recovery easier.

Carrie also explains how the vagus nerve runs through the right side of the diaphragm and gets stimulated or ‘massaged’ during breathing when the diaphragm is moving up and down, which helps to stimulate more of the calming responses in your body, through the parasympathetic nervous system. Mindful breathing into the back waist area of your ribs, especially into the right side, helps gain the calming benefits from vagus nerve stimulation.

Carrie highlights how this takes time and practice, using the building blocks of awareness and practice. This can in turn help improve your Heart Rate Variability, which helps your body respond in a more regulated way to life’s stressors.

There is also a lifelong benefit to ensuring that your breathing muscles are functioning to their fullest potential, as with aging, having an effective cough is essential in the case of any respiratory infections. Regular exercise to use the respiratory muscles throughout your life is a key aspect of this. Carrie talks about incremental building up of exercise and mindful breathing and says “We can do anything incrementally, it just takes persistence”.   

Her final words of advice are “find exercise that you enjoy and enjoy it. Get out there and keep moving. And with your breathing, don’t bypass the ribs and go straight into belly breathing. Expand your ribs and include your pelvic floor in your mindful breathing patterns, to help your movement systems and all of the systems of your body to come together”.

Carrie's work encompasses the power of her new business name SISU, empowering her students and clients through "Gentle power coming together".


You can connect with Carrie via Linked In

The link to her article, My Desert Island Exercise is available to read on Linked In.

For the link to Mary Massery's interview:

Therapeutic Exercise: Moving Toward Function is available here

For The Posture Restoration Institute (PRI):

To learn more about the movement system:

To listen to the podcast with Kelly Dean Running to the Core Podcast: Episode 46: Pregnancy and Postnatal Core Rehab with Kelly Dean from The Tummy Team

To find out more about Heart Math, mentioned in the podcast, visit

For further information visit