Before I started teaching Pilates I was unaware of how powerful the breath is to our wellbeing. It’s a freely available tool we have at our disposal to bring about a variety of outcomes – if we know how to use it properly. I’ve just been reading some of the latest recommendations about managing long covid symptoms as breathing control exercises feature heavily to help restore patients back to wellness. Read article
In class we use various breathing techniques for lots of reasons (Joseph Pilates was a big breath fan!). We use one at the start of class to clear our minds, another to engage our muscles more deeply and to support our posture and movement. Plus in Zen Pilates it switches us to our parasympathetic nervous system for a more effective calming guided relaxation.
At rest, we normally breathe approximately 8-12 times per minute but if we’re suffering shortness of breath for any reason – Covid-19 or stress, exhaustion, anxiety etc – our breathing becomes erratic. I was interested to see which breathing techniques are being recommended by the top scientists for managing shortness of breath. Unsurprisingly nasal breathing features heavily in most papers. It has many benefits but fundamentally it works the heart and lungs due to increasing the vacuum in the lungs so you draw in up to 20percent more oxygen than breathing by mouth and this natural resistance slows the pace of your breath. According to this New Scientist magazine article this increased oxygen intake gives your brain function a boost too!
You can simply gently breathe in and out through your nose but a useful technique in times of stress and pressure is to build on the natural vacuum and resistance by using one nostril to inhale and then the other to exhale:
Sit or lie in comfortable upright position with your back straight, closing your eyes helps you focus.
- With your right hand, gently close your right nostril with your thumb.
- Inhale through your left nostril, and then close it with your ring finger.
- Exhale though your right nostril, then inhale through the same.
- Close your right nostril, open your left, and slowly exhale.
- Repeat for a couple of minutes
#nasalbreathing #breathingtechniques #breathingforwellbeing #zenergyactive #zenpilates #energypilates