Breathing and Awareness of your Breath

Breathing and Awareness of your Breath

Did you know on average every day we take 26,000 breaths!!! This is done subconsciously – without us having to
think about it. Breathing or respiration is an autonomic response as is our digestion, our excretory systems,
our cardiovascular system and many other systems in our body. Autonomic means our body does it automatically or
subconsciously. However the difference with breathing is that we can control or alter our breath making it a
conscious process as well. It is the only autonomic system in our body that we can influence or change!
Breathing is a huge part of Pilates and Yoga. They are both breath based movements. The main goal with each
discipline is to connect the breath to movement.

Pilates Breathing Technique:

  • Sit Up Tall and place your hands on the bottom part of the rib cage.
  • Inhale through the nose.
  • Exhale through the mouth.
  • On the inhale focus on the outwards movement of the lower rib cage so the ribs move out and away from each
    other. Breathing in the air to the backs and sides of the rib cage.
  • On the exhale focus on pulling the ribs back in together so actively recruiting the core muscles (abdominal
    muscles and diaphragm) to draw the ribs back together.
  • Imagine the rib cage is like an accordion and on the inhale the ribs open out and on the exhale the ribs
    pull together.
  • Try to do the exhale strongly as if blowing out candles on a cake to recruit more through the deep core
    muscles.
  • Also try to make the exhale the same length as the inhale.

Yogic Breathing Technique:

  • SIt up Tall and place one hand on the chest and the other hand on the belly.
  • Divide your chest into 3 parts – part 1 the upper part of the chest, part 2 the lower part of the rib cage
    and part 3 the belly.
  • Yogic breathing is a 3 part breath and both the inhale and the exhale are done through the nose.
  • On the inhale expand the upper chest first, then the lower part of the rib cage and finally expand the
    belly.
  • On the exhale relax the belly first and then the lower part of the rub cage and finally the upper chest.
  • The focus is performing the breath slowly one segment or part at a time.

The Pilates technique works the core muscles and recruites the diaphragm muscles. The Yogic breathing is a more
relaxation based technique with emphasis on rebalancing the chakras (energy centres) in the body. The aim of
both breathing styles is to connect movement with breath and to bring focus to the breathing technique and
style. Both of these breathing techniques can be practised at any point or time in your day. So in class it is
easier to concentrate on the movement and the way the body is moving rather than giving too much attention to
your breath.

Try This – Square breathing:

With both styles of breath you can focus on square breathing. This is a fantastic technique to help relax and
unwind. Try this technique for a few minutes daily to bring more calmness to your day. Pick either style of
breathing and inhale for the count of 4 seconds , hold at the top of the inhalation for the count of 4, exhale
for 4 seconds and then pause for 4 seconds. Try and keep your attention on your breath – 4 seconds in and out
with a pause for 4 seconds at the end of the inhalation and the end of the exhalation.

“Mindful breathing brings calm and relief to the mind and body” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

In our classes and rehabilitation sessions in the clinic we focus on bringing mind body movement through breath
awareness. Interested in joining one of our classes or booking in for a 1-1, contact us here at the clinic on
021-2011159 or via our online booking system. Also visit our facebook and instagram page for updated class
timetables.