Recently I was asked to offer a Pilates Class for singers.
Those of us who do Pilates will know that one of its main principles is The art of Breathing and that through learning to breathe correctly and perform the exercises we can enhance and improve many other actions or physical activities requiring the use of our body.
In my initial preparation I thought about the exercises and how I would present them to a group of singers but the more I thought about the topic the more I was looking at the art of breathing itself and the effect it has on the body.
In Pilates we breathe into the back and side of our lungs. As the lungs fill up with air the ribs and surrounding intercostal muscles expand and the diaphragm moves down. As we breathe out the intercostal muscles contract, the diaphragm comes up.
If we think about our lifestyle how many of us are physical throughout the day or have physical jobs. Most people get up and drive to work, sit in a chair for 6-8 hours a day. Drive home prepare supper and again sit watching tv for the evening. For a moment just think about the effect that can have on your respiratory system.
Without the need to exert yourself your breathing doesn’t need to be that deep. You don’t get out of breath at all. Add to that the effects of gravity, the thoracic cage, will compress throughout the day as the intercostal muscles are not used. This means we are not utilising our respiratory system to its full capacity and thus we are weakening it.
Let me know your thoughts as I continue to explore.