Breathing – the essence of life!
In Pilates and many other forms of exercise it is important to master the technique known as lateral breathing. This is a pattern of breathing where you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, synchronising the breath with the exertion of an exercise.
There are other benefits to this technique as well, but primarily in the case of Pilates it is related to the activation and engagement of the core muscles at the same time.
We get more air in and out through the mouth, so the breath is controlled more when brought through the nose, as typically we cannot expel all the air from one inhalation with the next exhalation, so a build up of carbon dioxide can occur, not only will this make you feel light headed but can also end up, in the moment, weakening the very muscles you are trying to strengthen – particularly the abdominals and of course in Pilates they are integral, so we need to keep them fresh and optimise their function for the tasks we are asking them to do.
It is of no great surprise to know that the way you breathe can have a significant effect on your health and wellbeing generally. Many of us are guilty of ‘shallow breathing’ where we only partially fill the lungs with breath, limiting the amount of oxygen we get into our system. This was something Joseph Pilates (The creator of the Pilates method – contrology) was very keen to educate us about once he’d developed his ‘Lateral breathing’ technique. All forms of conscious deep breathing is beneficial for health but it should be noted that the breathing technique used in Pilates, also referred to as thoracic breathing, is different to the deep breathing exercises used for relaxation and stress management, and also that of yoga.
So if you are practicing Pilates at home or in a class, it’s definitely worth learning the correct way to Inhale & Exhale!
– This Article has been published in the March edition of Life Magazine – http://www.lifemagazines.co.uk