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Breathe… because sometimes we forget to.

Breathe… because sometimes we forget to.

Normal breathing, Pilates breathing, and how we move through the breath.

My mother always says, “Breathing is the first and last thing we do in life!”. And yet, so many of us struggle with anxiety, not breathing life fully or appreciating each breath we take.

Breathing has so many different functions to name a few:

  • Provides oxygen to the blood

  • Alkalines blood

  • Nourishes the body on a cellular level

  • Controls the nervous system

  • Massages organs and lymph nodes

  • Improves circulation

  • Calms the body and mind

  • Encourages concentration

  • Gets the appropriate muscles ready to move

  • Provides an internal rhythm for movement

In short, when we breathe it is called diaphragmatic breathing. The diaphragm lowers during contraction and enlarges the thoracic cavity. The pressure in the lungs becomes lower than the pressure outside and air moves to the lungs. When we breathe out, the diaphragm relaxes. This results in a decrease in the volume of the thoracic cavity, and an increase of pressure inside the lungs. To equalize the pressure outside, the air is forced out of the lungs. Normal breathing includes 88 joints and 46 muscles that are both voluntary and involuntary.

In Pilates, breathing is an important part of each movement. However, in order to maintain abdominal contractions while performing exercises, breathing is used laterally into the rib cage. This allows us to gain the desired response - breathing, moving and keeping the abdominals working. This kind of breathing is called lateral breathing or intercostal breathing.

Every exercise we execute (SIM) we first stabilize (S) through the breath. We then initiate (I) the movement (the mindful part of the movement) and then we move (M). Focusing on SIM requires good concentration and a high degree of body awareness. These two principles result in the mind-body form of conditioning.

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