Joseph Pilates: quotes from a genius
"The lungs cannot be completely deflated at first without considerable effort. With perseverance, however, the desired results can be accomplished and with increasing power, gradually and progressively develop the lungs to their maximum capacity." -- Joseph Pilates
Breath is life. So why is it that the very function that sustains us is the most challenging and frustrating for many of our clients? Mr. Pilates said that we should "squeeze every atom of air from your lungs until they are almost free of air as is a vacuum". But what we often see is clients holding their breath during exertion. We see blowfish cheeks and beet red faces. We see grandiose, overly-exaggerated inhales followed by a whisper of an exhale.
A forceful exhale is the key to finding your "scoop" in Pilates. It automatically triggers our transverse abdominus (TA) which is the deepest layer of abdominal muscles. The TA reduces the circumference of our waist and helps to provide lumbar and thoracic stability. It's our girdle of strength. When clients don't breathe fully, their belly does the opposite. It distends. The lumbar and thoracic curves increase and sets clients up for back pain. Notice how inefficient breathing makes their spine rigid and inflexible. Watch how synergistic dominance takes over and superficial muscles are recruited by default rather than the deep muscles of the powerhouse. Observe the muscular gripping in the joints.
Well, practice makes perfect. And the more we help our clients incorporate the Pilates principle of "breath" into their practice, we'll help them to develop an invaluable gift that their life depends on. Plus, they'll discover both stamina and relaxation through the not-so-simple act of breathing.
Rock Your Powerhouse!