Breathing is a wonderfully beautiful movement. Have you ever just thought about it?
We are all naturally breathing every single minute. Without even having to think about it. It is a beautiful movement, because it simply means we are alive. Each breath infuses new life into the body.
Breathing is a protagonist in Pilates. It is one of the first things we help clients with, to gain a new awareness of how they are breathing. The special breathing technique and rhythm used in Pilates is not random.
Importance of correct breathing
It helps to activate muscles. It is your body's way of saying to all its parts, hey, get ready, we're going to enjoy some movement!
It directs the breath to the sides of the ribs which helps to activate the abdominals. Very important for a strong core.
Having the breath go to the side avoids the typical error of shallow breathing which locks the air in the upper chest. You can see people tensing their neck and shoulders when they do that. Lung capacity is diminished and you get tight muscles. Not an optimum state to get the body to enjoy the freedom of movement.
Pilates breathing is rhythmic and it flows. You want to maximize your cardiovascular system, not stress it out by aggressive breathing or holding the breath when you need to exert the most.
When breathing is done correctly, you will feel ease of movement and gain efficiency as well. At the beginning, the Pilates way of breathing may be uncomfortable because it is new for some people. Also, if they come from other disciplines or sports, they may have been taught and are used to other ways of breathing. The body needs time to learn a new way of breathing. Once you get the postures and movements right, more focus can be given to the breath gradually. It is important not to stress out the system.
Pilates is wonderfully respectful of the naturalness of the human body and how it moves. We avoid anything that can potentially cause anxiety, tension or stress.
Breathing and Modern Lifestyles
What we hope clients can take away after each Pilates session is not just learning different exercises. It is also to gain a new awareness of how all your bones and muscles and organs are aligned and sitting in their place and how your breath is coursing through all of these parts. When you make friends with your breath, and get to know it better, it can generate a sense of wellbeing and improve your emotional health. It also helps you be more aware of your physical reactions to stress or anxiety (you notice where your muscles tense up) and it is a great way to regulate yourself when you find yourself in a more agitated state.
Modern lifestyles in cities can be stressful and our breathing suffers as a result of constantly (unconsciously) holding the breath while handling a million tasks at the same time or coping with crises and overwhelming deadlines.
Every system in the body relies on oxygen. From cognition to digestion, effective breathing can not only provide you with a greater sense of mental clarity, but it can also help you sleep better, digest food more efficiently, improve your body’s immune response, and reduce stress levels.
LEARNING TO BREATHE EFFECTIVELY
Learning to breathe efficiently is something you can apply in your daily life 24/7. You may not be able to pump your Hundreds while you are driving, but you can certainly apply breathing techniques while you are stuck in a traffic jam, or simply just being aware of how your lungs fill up and gently close in, how your ribs float away and in again, and how your spine feels and how your core loves being activated gently … effective breathing is a very delicious feeling!
Pilates is way beyond just being in a studio with all the machines, barrels and mats. It becomes a natural part of your life.
Ask us to guide you on breathing effectively during your Pilates class. Don't hold your breath! Sign up here right now and let us explore together how our lungs, diaphragm and ribcage all work together to lift you up and be wonderfully alive!
TOKYO PILATES Studio
Our Pilates studio is at 3 丁目5ー11元麻布 1/F Pilates Studio, Block C Majes Motoazabu Gardens, 港区 Tokyo 106-0046.
Contact My Body My Pilates to discuss your Pilates exercises.