Pilates Breathing for Stress | Using Breathe to Find Mindfulness in Movement.
One of the most ridiculous yet insightful questions you’ll ever hear in Pilates are: Do you know how to breathe? Or are you a good or bad breather? They might seem obvious cause surely you must be. Thinking about it a bit critically however, your body knows how to draw air and maintain life. The proper breathing technique takes time and mastery. I like to think of this journey as a marathon rather than a sprint. The right breathing can have astronomical results and all it takes is time and patience.
In another journey that is stress management. Breathing is a gift. Our bodies take in breath differently in a variety of situations. Take for instance when you’re running or performing intensive exercises. Your body is forced to take deeper and longer inhales and exhales. Longer emptying exhales has been suggested to restore the nervous system and relieve anxiety.
Taking into account that Pilates focuses on exhalation. You are hitting two birds with one stone. Ensuring muscle activation at all times and managing stress.
Why are Pilates Breathing techniques Important?
Joseph Pilates saw breathing as a renewal of sorts. Getting rid of every ounce of used air and giving space for a gush of consuming freshness. Lazy breathing does not belong in a Pilates class if growth is your intention.
The proper breathing techniques ensure a complete synchronicity of the body, mind and soul. Mindfulness in our breathing, centers us, and aids in a more wholesome experience. Deep breathing increases the efficiency of the heart, improving circulation, ensuring every cell is oxygenated and the waste products are eliminated.
Mindful Breathing in Pilates.
Breathing in Pilates focuses on results as well as safety. This inhalation exhalation cycles ensure The Centering Principle. That is pelvic floor, transversus abdominis and finally the obliques.
Directing the breathing to the ribcage prevents shallow breathing that tenses the shoulder and neck muscles. It also activates the abdominals and in turn protects the lower back.
During inhalation the pelvic floor becomes easier to activate. Inhalation tightens the T-zone leading to contraction of the pelvic floor which works on the transversus abdominis and deep core muscles.
During exhalation, the transversus stabilization of the spine can occur. This happens when the transversus abdominis and obliques contract to increase intra-abdominal pressure. A study carried out in 1997 suggested that during a forceful exhalation, the transversus abdominis was the main muscle recruited. Breathing out through the mouth makes for a more effective slower forceful exhalation
The ribcage position is often very important in the activation of the obliques. Facilitating this requires avoiding the popping out of the ribcage as this prevents the proper stabilization of the spine.
Even though this exercise is titled for diastasis recti, it's an excelent exercise to promote deep breathing and activation of the deep abdominals. I give this out to my clients all the time when they're having difficulty engaging their deep abs and struggling with breathwork.
The most important rules in Pilates are:
Preparing for the movement by inhaling, facilitating the tighten of the T-Zone and
Exhaling while performing the movement when maximum exertion is needed.
Finding an instructor to guide you through all these is one step ahead of being a master. Your body relishes in the attention you give it. Join my class to get the full experience of mindfulness in movement. Take care.
Oh! and here's the study we referenced in the post.
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