Many of us do not use our full lung capacity and deny ourselves the benefits of correct breathing. The aim in Pilates is to improve the mechanics and the depth of breathing, which is essential to oxygenate the blood and remove waste products. When we inhale the lower rib cage should expand upwards and outwards and when we exhale it should move downwards and inwards. Osteopathically we see a great deal of patients who fail to use their lower rib cage and diaphragm to breathe, especially in times of stress. This then overworks the upper ribs and consequently the accessory muscles of respiration that attach to the ribs and sternum – these muscles are only meant to be recruited during forced respiration such as in exercise, running for a bus etc. The consequences are tight anterior neck muscles and resulting neck pain with occasional arm symptoms.
Here is an exercise to get you started:
Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent. Place your hands on your lower rib cage with your fingers touching in the centre. Breathe in and let your ribs expand sideways- your fingertips will draw apart slightly. Breathe out and allow your ribcage to move inwards and your fingertips may interlace slightly. To really help the lower rib cage expand when you breathe in feel your lower rib cage spreading wide into the mat underneath you.
Try this for 5 minutes every day, and in time this pattern of breathing will become habitual. It is also great for relaxation!
Next week we shall discuss and give exercises on Centering within Pilates.
“The best osteopath in the area by far!! Katie is so warm and friendly, and not to mention marvellous at her craft. I really can’t speak highly enough of her…..” Emma Wilson
“Katie is a very empathic and highly skilled practitioner. I would absolutely recommend her to any of my clients ….” Anne Moss – Pilates Instructor
“I have nothing but praise for Marianne, a fantastic osteopath. After having a bad fall and left with a lot of pain, I saw Marianne. She has given me my life back and I am now back to normal and pain free. I can wholeheartedly recommend her, she is amazing.” Heather
“I often refer patients to Katie and get treated by her personally as I know I can trust her to be kind and professional whilst getting great results.” Sally Knudsen – Physiotherapist, Bath RUH