Joseph Pilates was famous for saying: “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it”. Breathing plays an integral part in our bodily functions, in particular, it helps us move more efficiently, sharpens our brain and oxygenates the body on a cellular level.
In Pilates, we incorporate breathing in our every movement. Not only does this help to execute the movement more efficiently, but also helps us concentrate on the movement itself.
Along with breathing, pilates incorporate work that strengthens the transverse abdominal and other major and minor muscle groups. These include the diaphragm, intercostals, rectus abdominal, back extensors and chains of other muscles throughout our bodies that connect to these core muscle groups. In particular, it strengthens the muscles around the chest cavity and improves the process of breathing so that the intake of a breath facilitates deeper oxygenation into the bottom of our lungs.
In this way, by strengthening the body in a balanced manner, we directly address issues of posture. When posture improves, the breathing improves and when breathing improves wellbeing improves.
Posture has thus proven to have a direct influence on how we move, our energy levels and our mental clarity.
By combining mindful breathing and movement we become acutely aware of our posture and our breathing which lends us the opportunity to alter our breathing patterns to improve our state of mind and self-confidence.