Breathe!!! Yep yep. I mean it. This is a challenge I am currently facing. I am constantly restricting my breath throughout my day. General causes are: worry, stress, worry, stress…. AND, sometimes embarrassment. You know what I am talking about. We have all been there before. After we walk up a big flight of stairs, carry to many groceries to our cars, or are in a silent gym running on the treadmill, we try to play it “cool” and pretend like we aren’t breathing heavily. I don’t know why so many people do this, myself included, but for some reason people are so concerned with sounding out of breath that they hold it in. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to sound out of shape or we don’t want to be the only person in a small pilates class making noise…. but, something needs to change! And that is our airways. I have taught numerous pilates classes and I can’t remember one where I heard constant breath throughout the whole 50-60 minutes. What is happening?? We are humans and we have to breathe in
order to survive!
This topic is so interesting to me because when we are children are breathing habits are at their prime. (This is a general statement and doesn’t include any other health issues). When we were kids we didn’t even have to think about it. We just did it. What a thought! Breathing involuntarily.
So, this is our task at hand. You and I. Throughout our days we are just going to do three quick “checkins” with our breath. Make three specific time slots in your regular schedule that you are going to checkin. For example, driving to work, making lunch, or when sending your daily mass emails. If you notice that you’re holding your breath just slightly release your bottom jaw and let the air pass out of your mouth naturally. Think of releasing your chest and sternum with gravity, not force (like a deflating balloon). Simultaneously, THINK of the weight of your arms and shoulders. Try to feel the heaviness of your bones.
Next time you are working-out on a treadmill, taking a pilates class, or walking up stairs, try to let your mouth relax so that it is slightly open. This way air can flow out more easily. Don’t restrict your breath because you don’t want anyone to hear you. Who cares?!
If I haven’t convinced you to breathe more, maybe this will…
If you hold your breath and compress all of your air/tension in your chest and abdominum then you could give yourself a hernia. Especially, if you are taking pilates classes regularly and are locking all of your energy in. Pilates, just like yoga and any other physical activity, values breath!! I know it’s not easy to incorporate it into pilates exercises, let alone your daily routine. But, challenge yourself! Next time you take a pilates class see if you can incorporate the specific breathing patterns/rhythms within each exercise.
BENEFITS: less tension, lower heart-rate, more energy, reduced anxiety, stress, and worry, and enhanced cardiovascular and lymphatic systems! Heck yes!