Breathing. If you have had a Pilates session with me recently, you have heard me talk a lot about it. Breathing is one of the 5 basic principles of Pilates- one that people have the most difficult time with. As exercises get more complex, we tend to forget all about how we are breathing- how it connects to our movement. That is why I have been pausing this week, and taking people back to the basics.
Pilates aside, taking the time to connect with our breath offers so many wonderful benefits. Breathing brings oxygen to the blood. It helps our muscles relax. If you have ever started feeling your blood boil, or your heart rate increase, just a few deep breaths helps your muscles release tension, and your heart rate slow down. It helps your physical stamina. It helps your mental clarity and focus. Breathing properly will also help your lymphatic system perform at an optimal level. Deep breaths help us release everyday toxins. Deep breathing also helps with our digestion. I have found it incredibly helpful to take a few deep breaths at various times throughout the day:
First thing in the morning, before anyone wakes up. This changes my vibration for the entire day.
Before each and every one of my clients. This helps ground me, as well as refocus my energy for the next session.
Before I walk into the house, at the end of the day. This allows me to “wash” the day from myself, and bring nothing but love and presence to my family.
Before every workout. This helps me connect to my body, appreciate what I am about to ask it to do, and most importantly…. keep my core firing!
Of course, essential oils have been a game changer for all of these moments. I just put a few drops in my hands, cover my nose and mouth, and take a few deep breaths. Then, I rub the oils on my chest. Some of my faves for this? Balance and Breathe.
So, back to Pilates. We know that we are suppose to engage our core when we exhale. But it is so much more than that. Feeling your diaphragm move downward as you inhale- feeling your lungs and ribcage expand- feeling your pelvic floor release (Yes, I said release. A strong pelvic floor is mobile, not tight)— feeling the oxygen move through your body- is crucial. As we exhale, we want to feel the pelvic floor life- the deep core muscles wrapping- and the spine lengthening. All of these actions need to go even deeper as we move, which helps us stabilize. I tell my clients as they are driving in for their session, it is a great time to focus on breathing correctly. Take a few minutes when you arrive at the studio, close your eyes, and breathe. When you truly connect to your breath like this, EVERYTHING becomes core work. This kind of deep core work is what we need. What we don’t need? 100 crunches. You will be amazed at how deep breath and core engagement will give you the strongest abs of your life! Mamas- this is absolutely crucial for us after having a baby.
If you would like to learn more, schedule a session to focus on this one very important principle. We can help you discover the proper way to breathe, recruit your deep core, as well as give you some exercises to practice at home.