“Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our life depends on it ... Above all, learn to breathe correctly. " —Joseph Pilates Joseph Pilates believed that focusing on breathing was vital. He created several breathing techniques to improve relaxation, lower blood pressure, and activate specific muscles that help improve posture. These breathing techniques develop the deep muscles of the back and abdomen that support the spine and coordinate the entire body to move in harmony with our main respiratory muscle, the diaphragm. The diaphragm, which is located in the core of the torso, serves as a powerful pump to move vital energy throughout the body, and when we activate this muscle and maximize our lung capacity (from the lower part of the rib cage to below the clavicles), Good posture is a natural result. When the rib cage floats with our lungs in healthy, dynamic motion, the spine is naturally suspended and our limbs can safely organize themselves into their best possible range of motion. Yes, the way we breathe can affect the shoulders and hips, two places where we often assess the state of our posture. Posture is also evaluated by the state of our spine, and for Joseph Pilates, the spine was the key to physical and emotional well-being. He once said: “If your spine is stiff in your 30s, you are old. If you are flexible at 60, you are young. " When our spines are stiff, we are less able to move and enjoy a happy and engaged life, whether at work or play, sitting or moving. Mr. Pilates went on to say that "(Crouching) compresses the lungs, over the crowds of other vital organs, rounds the back and unbalances it." Poor posture when moving / exercising can be the root of some chronic pain and injury. By maximizing natural breathing for focused movement, the intelligence of the whole body is naturally activated and the body begins to move more harmoniously in all activities, resulting in more energy and enjoyment. The effects of Pilates breathing are cumulative. Right from the start, self-correcting micro-shifts start to occur and movement becomes easier and more efficient. In combination with mindful practice, transformation occurs more quickly. Here is a simple Pilates breathing exercise to instantly improve your posture (you can do it sitting, standing, or lying down):
• Place your hands on the bottom of the rib cage. • Breathe through your nose, lips sealed, and stretch the lower part of your lungs toward your hips. Imagine that you are inflating a giant internal balloon and allow the bones of the rib cage to expand 360 degrees and the clavicles to "float". • Exhale naturally • Allow the neck and head to naturally find the most comfortable place. • Allow a natural rhythm to develop.
Activates the deep abdominal muscles: • As you exhale, purse your lips in an exaggerated kissing motion and make a silent letter "O". • Breathe out more and more than you thought possible. • Leave the rib cage expanded and only allow the soft tissues to compress as you exhale. • Close your lips and inhale deeply. Pilates pose in motion to sit or stand: • Exhale and roll / curve your spine forward like a cinnamon roll as far as you can comfortably go. Curl vertebrae by vertebrae. Let the precise movement and a "squeeze" exhale squeeze your lungs. • Pause and inhale. • As you exhale, roll your spine back. • If necessary, pause to inhale and continue moving as you exhale. • Once in an upright position, imagine a rope at the top of your head suspending you high. Let your shoulders float like driftwood in an ocean of floating breath. • Do it several times until you feel refreshed and restart. How do you feel now? What is different? What would be possible for your life if you felt this way every day? Pilates is more than just physical exercise and can radically improve mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The benefits of Pilates are far-reaching and Pilates practitioners are capable, both literally and figuratively, of walking higher in body, mind, and spirit. What will inspire you to do a good Pilates breath today?