Lengthen your spine, heels together, stretch your knees, zip up your inner thighs, relax your shoulders, wrap your toes, and don’t forget to breathe!
The technique of Pilates requires a mind to body approach. Applying verbal cueing is a learned skilled, and so often, we forget the most important part….breathing.
Joe Pilates spoke of this often,
Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.
Breathing has a host of benefits:
Brings us into the present moment
Lowers blood pressure
Activates the core musculature which leads to improved posture
Stimulates the lymph system (which naturally detoxifies the body)
Serves as a natural pain killer
EXERCISE IS NOT AN EMERGENCY
Our life force — breath — is the one aspect people consistently struggle with most often in class.
The goal is for breath to lead the movement instead of existing as an afterthought. As observed in the video above, the diaphragm creates intra-abdominal pressure. This allows for efficiency in both the abdominal and postural muscles.
When breath is held, the body is sent into a heightened state of awareness. The sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) turns on. In this state, we are simply surviving.
While in a survival state nothing is learned. Nothing is retained. The body is simply “getting through it” in order to survive.
WORK WITH YOUR BIOLOGY
Monitor your breath as complexity and additional verbal cueing is added to movement.
How will you know that the appropriate amount of challenge has been added?
You’ll be breathing deeply to accomplish the movement.