Focus of The Week
It’s hard to overstate how important breathing is. It is easy to experience though. Just hold your breath minute or two and you will definitely see how breathing is literally tied into the fabric of out being. Humans have been breathing for as long as we have been around. Therefore, it's pretty amazing that in the last twenty years we have really just begun to learn about it's effect on everything from posture to confidence and mood, and sleep and performance.
Of particular interest too many of our clients is how important breathing is to maintaining healthy, relaxed, posture and pain free living. There are a multitude of beneficial breathing techniques that may to help reduce tension, move energy between organs, or help you to achieve astral projection that you can try. These methods can be very helpful.
Pilates breathing is different and unique because Pilates designed his workouts as an integrated way to help the psyche and mind while also supporting your bone structure and balancing and grounding the body physically. When you do VASIE pilates a big part of our program is mastering very specific breathing cues that will help you to ground and center your mind and body while also toning your postural muscles.
Simply stated; the muscles you use for inhaling and exhaling are the same muscles that your use to support a long relaxed spine and aligned joints, keep your psyche relaxed and grounded, and help to improve balance and relieve pain. Improve breathing - improve everything. That is not to say that you need only breathing to get into great shape. It does point out that if you want to stay in great shape for the long run - you need to keep your breathing muscles up to speed.
All of this is esoteric speculation until you look at the results from Pilates for some of the things we really want:
Confidence: because of the grounding affects of pilates people tend to show significantly higher levels of self efficacy and fewer negative moods.
Happiness: Negative mood scores dropped in the several studies listed below. Confidence and self-efficacy improved as noted above. Sounds like happiness to me?
Mindfulness: As a bodyworker, I tend to associate long term changes in mindfulness to a body that is becoming more grounded and centered. While meditation and other practices can help create this a balanced body and structure is a huge advantage to creating consistent mindful states.
Sleep: sleep quality improve significantly with pilates over other forms of exercise… This is a no brainer because when you breath well you tend to sleep well.
Performance: here is the icing on the cake. Pilates exercises supported runners to greatly improve their running times. In addition, the breathing training helped to give these runners a huge boost in VO2max… A high VO2 is helpful to a young runners running times but maybe even more important to those of us 70 plus with a respiratory infection…
So - for you VASIE Pilates junkies out there. This should give you license to continue to bother your friends and a few more facts for the skeptical. For you skeptics - you may want to try it again?
- Pilates, Mindfulness and Somatic Education
- Karen Caldwell, Ph.D., Marianne Adams, M.A., M.F.A, Rebecca Quin, M.A., Mandy Harrison, PhD, and Jeffrey Greeson, PhD
- J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2009 Apr;13(2):155-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2007.12.001. Epub 2008 Feb 20.
- Effect of Pilates and taiji quan training on self-efficacy, sleep quality, mood, and physical performance of college students.
- Caldwell K1, Harrison M, Adams M, Triplett NT.
- Physiol Behav. 2016 Sep 1;163:211-218. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.05.025. Epub 2016 May 16.
- Physical and psychological benefits of once-a-week Pilates exercises in young sedentary women: A 10-week longitudinal study.
- Tolnai N1, Szabó Z2, Köteles F3, Szabo A4. 3 Core-Muscle Training and Neuromuscular Control of Lower Limb and Trunk Sasaki S, Tsuda E, Yamamoto Y, Maeda S, Kimura Y, Fujita Y, Ishibashi Y.J Athl Train. 2019 Aug 6. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-113-17. [Epub ahead of print.