Pilates Breathing

 

 

There are 7 Pilates principles but I will be featuring the first one and that is “Breathing“.  Not only can proper breathing be used to decrease stress, lower our blood pressure  it can also help to facilitate movement and increase out mobility in exercises.

I always teach the following the breathing exercises to my Pilates clients:  Belly Breathing, One lung Breathing, Lateral Breathing and Sniffing Breath.  I will briefly  explain each one and share a few exercises that we use them in. I have also included the purpose/objective of each exercise for those of you that like to know why we perform each one.

Belly Breathing:

Place you hands on to your stomach and take a deep inhale so your belly expands like a balloon, on the exhale draw the abdomen in towards the spine expelling all the air. This type of breathing is used while performing Footwork on the Reformer.  The footwork is a fundamental move used following the warmup exercises before transitioning to the other exercises in the sequence.

Objective of the Footwork:  to strengthen the hip extensors, knees extensors, the feet, to align the foot and leg and to develop pelvic lumbar stabilization.

Footwork

Footwork

Lateral  (intercostal )Breathing:

This is when you breathe into the back and sides of your ribs, without allowing your abdomen to expand.  This type of breathing often used in the Pilates Hundred exercise.

Objective of the Hundred: to strengthen the abdominal muscles and for pelvic lumbar stabilization.

Hundred

Hundred

One Lung Breathing:

This type of breathing is as it sounds, breathing into one one side of your lungs at a time. This  type of breathing is used while performing the Mermaid.

Objective of the Mermaid:  Teaches spinal movement to the side, scapula stabilization, spinal mobility and stretches the quadratus lumborum, internal and external obliques.

Mermaid

Mermaid

Sniffing Breath:

This is when you take really small breaths through your nose and you exhale through pursed lips. This type of breathing is used while performing the Side Leg Series.

Objective of the Side Leg Series:  To learn and develop disassociation at the hips and  to stabilize pelvic lumbar area.

 

Side Leg Series

Side Leg Series

 

Remember to Breathe!

Have a fabulous Friday.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Challenges

This weeks challenge is two fold. I am including an exercise as well as a nutrition goal, as you know nutrition and exercise goes hand in hand.

Pilates Spine Twist:

Spine Twist

Spine Twist

The Spine Twist increases spinal rotation and it strengthens the core.

Setup: Sit up with your legs straight ( bend the knees slightly if you have tight hamstrings),inner thighs zipped together. Reach your arms to shoulder height, inhale and rotate your torso to the right, pulsing twice with a sniffing breath.  your inner thighs should remained zipped and your flexed feet should not move during the exercise.   A great way to practice this move is sit facing a wall and keep your glued to the wall as you rotate.

Exhale return to the starting position and rotate to the left.

Perform this exercise 8-10 times.

Nutrition challenge:

Instead of your usual lettuce, kale or spinach rotation, why not try a new vegetable powerhouse. Venture out of your comfort zone and maybe add one, two or more of the following to your diet.  I have included links to recipes on how to prepare each if you need some ideas.

Escarole

Bok Choy

Endive

Watercress

Swiss Chard

Collard Greens

Turnip Greens

Radicchio

If you have a favorite way to prepare your vegetables please share.

Feel free to share and comment. Have a great week.

Something extra:

Here is a free E-book for a limited time only written by Dr Graham Cox and Nell Mead.