I noticed it’s World Mental Health Day today and it made me think about this article I read with some really simple and practical actions to improve your sense of well-being ie. feeling good and functioning well. Useful to take a moment every so often to reflect on how you’re tracking against them and if you need to top any areas up. I love Take Notice ‘catch site of the beautiful’, caught site of my washing hanging in the autumn sunshine and took a moment to appreciate it!
I’ve added the 5 steps below along with a link to the full article if you want to take a read. Love to know what you think.
I’ve just come across this article in the Guardian that beautifully articulates the growing trend away from the quick fix approach to exercising, back to slower (although not necessarily less difficult) more measured forms of fitness. The idea is that if you’re conscious, you’re doing whatever it is that you’re doing to your body with precision and full awareness of the physical mechanisms at work. Once you’re able to tune in you’ll become more aware of your physical, spiritual and emotional needs so you can put a plan in place to address them. Well worth a read…..(then book onto my Fitness or Flow Pilates class to experience it for yourself).
Apart from the obvious scientifically proven benefits of keeping us alive, breathing in Pilates sessions takes a starring role. There are tons of benefits of getting it right, here’s just 5 reasons to show breathing some love along with my favourite breathing techniques:
1. Breathing enables our minds and bodies to perform at their peak – oxygen is energy for every cell in our bodies enabling both the brain and the muscles to work at their best – we all kind of know that but perhaps we forget that each breath we take is impacting how well our minds and bodies can perform.
2. Breathing helps us control our emotions – knowing how to breathe correctly helps us to control our mind and our emotions – breathing deeply and slowly instantly
calms us down mentally as well as physically.
3. Breathing helps prevent injuries – in Pilates we learn to breathe from the ribs rather than stomach because this type of breathing allows the abdominal muscles to brace during exercise helping to support the spine and prevent injury.
4. Connect body and mind – breathing exercises help us to link mind and body, the focus on our breathe brings us into the present – it’s hard to concentrate on anything else when given your breathing your full attention so it’s great for clearing and calming the mind.
5. Breathing is good for your heart – deep abdominal breathing (which we do at the start and end of our classes) encourages full oxygen exchange – the trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. This slows the heartbeat and lowers or stabilises blood pressure.
In Pilates most movements have an accompanying breathing pattern to help us ensure we’re working in harmony with our body. We build up to this in class but to begin with it’s far more important to move safely and correctly, still it’s useful to know why we’re bothering to breathe!
Here’s a link to a few great breathing exercises – find one that suits you and try and practice it occasionally then, when you need a quick injection of calm, you have your breathing hack ready to go: 5 breathing techniques