Pilates is renowned for its mind-body approach to fitness, and at the heart of this practice lies diaphragmatic breathing. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of diaphragmatic breathing in Pilates and how it can elevate your practice.
The Essence of Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing, often called deep or abdominal breathing, involves engaging the diaphragm to draw air deeply into the lungs. This differs from shallow chest breathing and plays a crucial role in Pilates.
Why Diaphragmatic Breathing Matters in Pilates
- Core Activation: Diaphragmatic breathing naturally engages core muscles like the transverse abdominis, providing stability during Pilates movements.
- Mind-Body Connection: It enhances mindfulness by focusing your attention on your body and movements, improving precision and preventing injuries.
- Posture Perfection: Diaphragmatic breathing encourages proper posture, which is vital in Pilates.
- Stress Relief: It triggers the relaxation response, reducing stress and promoting a focused, calm mind during your Pilates practice.
How to do it:
Focus on the inhale first. Place your hands on your ribs to feel the movement. Take a deep steady inhalation through the nose, allowing your ribcage and lungs to expand fully (try and keep chest quite still)
Now, for the exhale 💨 move one hand onto your stomach. Exhale completely and slowly through your mouth (like exhaling through a straw) and feel the abdominal wall draw in and pelvic floor draw up. This creates a feeling of pressure around your centre like a corset of muscles wrapping from the back to front.
This type of breathing 😮💨 helps engage your diaphragm and deep core muscles effectively, boosts oxygen intake for energy, and promotes relaxation.
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