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WHY Pilates breath is so important and how to breath the Pilates way

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This blog will outline why breathing is so important to the Pilates method and how it affects your body’s circulatory system as well as how the body works in a physical sense.  If you are breathing well your concentration will improve and your ability to perform the Pilates moves will be enhanced, your proficiency improves.

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Why your breath is so important

Your respiratory system is essential in your circulatory system because it supplies your body with oxygen and removes carbon dioxide. It is also part of the body’s cooling system and the power source behind your voice it can remove some toxins (like alcohol) during exhalation.

The average adult breathes in and out between 16 and 18 times a minute. Your lungs have a various defence mechanism. In particular, the bronchial tubes are lined with tiny hair-like cilia, which are in constant movement, sweeping germs, dirt and en of your of your lungs.  Smoke slows down and actually paralyses the cilia. Dirt and germs that enter your lungs are then not removed and the mucus that collects in the lungs provide a fertile environment for the germs to multiply.

Breathing is one function of the subconscious brain that can also be controlled by the conscious brain. Therefore you can hold your breath and regulate your breathing rate, slowing it down to calm your conscious mind. This is the basis of meditation which Pilates helps you to move towards

Breathing correctly

Breathing correctly requires training of your mind and your breathing muscles. Most people do not breath deeply and slowly enough. If you observe a child or a sleeping person you will notice that the during the inhalation the abdomen blows out and during the exhalation, the opposite happens. This is the correct mode of breathing.whislt breathing abdominally the rib cage expands and the dome of your diaphragm goes absolutely flat during inhalation.

As a result, maximum air is brought into your lungs the gaseous exchange can take place easily, leaving the blood enriched with oxygen.

As you breathe out your rib cage collapses, your diaphragm is raised and your abdomen is sucked inwards. these three forces ensure that as much air as possible is expelled from your lungs.

When you are stressed, you do the opposite.  You pull your stomach in during inhalation and push it out with exhaling. It is amazing how many people breathe incorrectly either because of a general stress level or because of a habit.

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Nasal breathing

Near the bridge of your nose is your nasal tract and it forms a dome and curves down into your throat, heading for the trachea or windpipe. The dome of the nasal tract is separated from the front of your brain by a thin bone called the ethmoidal bone. This bone is so thin that any blow to the nose can crack it.

There is a theory that the passage of air molecules to and from along the dome of the nasal tract creates a magnetic field that can stimulate the frontal part of the lobe of your brain.  this is possible because the separating ethmoidal bone is not only thin but highly porous. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for all thought processes. Therefore when the nasal breathing is stopped, perhaps after a heavy cold, there is a feeling of congestion in the front of your head and you experience difficulty in concentrating.

Slow, rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing is better for oxygenating your blood. Hyperventilation which is rapid, shallow breathing for instance like a panic or asthma attack, leads to poor oxygenation of blood, which in turn may cause the sufferer to breathe even more rapidly.

Pilates creates great health and posture

Pilates is fundamentally about integration: integrating movement into a flowing whole body experience and integrating the mind and body to create clarity and purpose. This whole body movement is really the crux of mind-body exercise. It is not tuning out while running on the treadmill with your iPod – it is an interactive form of exercise.

By integrating your mind with your body you will rejuvenate your spirit and will be on your way to creating a life of balance.

If you are interested in a little more Pilates practice or homework  join me for a Pilates class at home

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