I fear you may be working a little too hard. The pelvis should be level/neutral - for many of us that begin with an anterior pelvic tilt that creates the need to “tilt” our pelvis to level. In this position the “crunch” takes place not by actively engaging all our abdominal muscles (including upper abs) but by simply allowing the lower abs (just below belly button) to do the work of keeping the pelvis level. You should be able to feel this gentle tension by pushing your fingers on them. This means the upper abs are relaxed and able to take full belly breaths. You can also try this lying on the floor.