At a time when we are being hit with a virus that effects the respiratory system I have found myself focussing on one of the fundamentals of Pilates – Breathing. How I breathe and how I teach people to breathe whilst moving. Breathing is an automatic process that most of us dont think about however learning to breathe properly will not only improve your ability to do exercise but it will also improve the health of your lungs.
To breathe correctly you must completely exhale and inhale, always trying very hard to squeeze every atom of impure air from your lungs in much the same manner that you would wring every drop of water from a wet cloth.
Joseph H Pilates
If you come to my classes you will have heard me saying dont forget to breathe! Normally I say this when someone is holding their breath and going red in the face! Many of us hold our breath while doing exercise which impacts our ability to do the exercise. We may find that we breathe shallowly or much faster than we should. If we breathe shallowly we are using only a fraction of our lungs thus reducing the supply of oxygen and thus also reducing our energy levels.
Learning how to breathe correctly is one of the fundamentals of Pilates. Breathing exercises are also used in meditation and to break up a period of anxiety. Currently there are many people feeling anxious of what is to come so I thought that I would share a couple of exercises with you that you can do at home.
Scarf Breathing – you will need a chair and a scarf or stretch band.
Sit or stand tall and wrap the scarf or stretch band around your ribs – make sure that it is not too low and is spread over the backs of your ribs, crossing it over at the front. Hold the opposite end and gently pull it tight (not too tight)
Inhale through your nose – As you breathe in focus on the backs and sides of your ribs, where your lungs are located. Your lungs will gradually fill and expand your ribcage. Do not force this movement as it will create tension. Keep your shoulders relaxed
Exhale through your mouth – As you breathe out you will feel the air gently being pushed out fully, right to the bottom of your lungs. You should feel your ribcage beginning to close as your lungs empty.
Do not puff your cheeks or purse your lips during the exercise as this will create tension in your jaw, face and neck wasting energy. Also make sure that you do not over-breathe, it should be natural, easy pace.
Relieving anxiety – you can stand, sit or lie down doing this exercise, most importantly you should be comfortable. You may want to close your eyes (please make sure you are not standing if you do!!)
Inhale through your nose for the count of 4
Hold for the count of 4
Exhale through your mouth for the count of 6
Repeat as many times as you like
If you find it hard to inhale for the count of 4 you can change this to 3 and then exhale for 5. You will find the more you do this the longer you can inhale for.
My classes are carrying on over the internet through this time of lock down so if you are interested in joining any of them please contact me for more information.
Stay safe and well.
Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body
In light of recent government decisions I have decided to change the way I run my classes. They will NOT stop but I will be teaching via Zoom, a video conferencing online service, for the forseeable future.
What does this mean for you? You will need to sign in from home on your computer/laptop. I will be sending out meeting invitations to everyone.
How much will it cost? Nothing more than your usual monthly membership
Will the classes change times? My plan is to keep the same times as my current classes, I may even add some more times, subject to demand.
What will I need? All you will need is a mat, or towel if you dont have one. Also if you use a head cushion normally a small folded up towel will work instead.
The class will of course be slightly different as I wont be able to correct any alignment issues however I know all your bodies quite well and I will be able to watch as you do the exercises. If you have any questions please do not hesiate to contact me either by phone or email.
If you are not one of my regular clients but would like to join in please contact me clicking on this link – CONTACT
Jennie and I have decided to collaborate and do something a bit different – a Spinning/Pilates class or Spilates or Spinates but definitely not Pie and Lattes!! We are very excited to bring this new class to the valley, we both feel that while we offer very different aspects of exercise there is no reason why we can’t combine our knowledge of movement and give you a little extra.
What to expect…..Jennie will push you hard on the bike for 30 minutes and then I will push you hard in a totally different way for another 30! At the end of the class you will have had an all round work out for both your body and mind.
With another heatwave passing us by I am looking forward to my summer pilates workshops starting again next week. These workshops cover all of our usual exercises with a deeper focus on how and what we are doing plus obviously a few new moves and challenges. This year my workshops will cover breathing, balance, posture, strengthening, fluid movement, small equipment and much more….
The workshops are open to all regardless of whether you have come to any of my classes before, so if you’ve always wondered what we do in Pilates why not come and see for yourself.
So maybe you are thinking… ‘What, I cant exercise in this heat??’ Why don’t you come along to my summer pilates classes in my cool home studio, fans provided if needed!! Also you can enjoy a refreshing juice after class to cool you down.
Next week it looks like we are in for a cool 27C, that will be baltic compared to this week, time to get the thermals out!!