For the six years that I was a certified Pilates instructor, I was considerably “in touch” with my breathing, thanks to coaching my classes through the proper techniques each week. “Inhale through your nose, expanding your belly with air. Exhale slowly out of your relaxed mouth as you release the air out of your center.”
Pilates class is no joke – the work you do to lengthen, strengthen, and stretch is wonderful, but the breathing is so critical.
If life is like a Pilates class, I would say most of us aren’t breathing properly. As a result, we’re short-winded, struggling to transition from one thing to the next fluidly, and missing the most important part.
Chances are, you don’t think much about breathing because it just happens. Your breaths are probably shallow and quick. You inhale into and out of your lungs. That’s fine most of the time, but many times during your day call for deep breathing – moments before you give a presentation, when someone stresses you out, when you’re over tired and not thinking clearly…
Consider all the benefits of deep breathing:
- releases tension and toxins
- relaxes mind and body and brings clarity
- strengthens lungs and circulates oxygen throughout your body
- elevates mood and boosts energy
- many, many, many more benefits…
It’s good to get into the habit of spending a few minutes a day breathing deeply for your health (every morning and every evening, perhaps), and then applying the techniques in particularly trying situations, or simply whenever. Here are three breathing exercises you can learn to master today.
1, Inhale through your nose counting “in-two-three,” exhale out the mouth counting “out-two-three”, and hold the breath for “pause-two-three.” Repeate.
2. Breath deeply in through your nose and slowly let it out of your mouth. Once you reach the end of your exhale, mentally say “la-la-la-la-laaah” to extend the exhale naturally. Repeate.
3. Exhale through your mouth while making a whoosh sound behind your upper front teeth. Inhale through your nose to a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven before exhaling completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound to the count of eight. Repeat.
Note: Having trouble just getting your belly to expand as you inhale? Don’t worry, it takes practice, so let’s start here before performing the above. Begin first by sitting comfortable with one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. As you inhale, the hand on your belly should rise past the hand on your chest. On the exhale, it should come back down and the hand on your chest should rise ever so slightly. Try to remember your exhale should be twice as long as your inhale.
As you breath deeply, stay mindful and think of all the benefits you bring to your being. Enjoy!
Source: The Mind-Beauty Connection by Dr. Amy Wechsler