Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Christy Matta published an excellent article on Breathing Exercises that calm the body at PsychCentral titled "Exercises to Calm The Body." Following are two additional views on the importance of breathing.

"The Complete Book of Pilates For Men" by Daniel Lyon, Jr.

"This brings us to the principle of breathing, which Joseph Pilates emphasized a great deal. 'Above all else learn how to breathe properly. Squeeze every atom of air from your lungs until they are almost as free of air as is a vacuum,' he wrote. But first, a caution: When drawing your navel to the spine during an exercise, sucking in your stomach in such a way that makes you hold your breath will only weaken your powerhouse. Do not hollow out your midsection. Instead, hold the abdominals in so that the stomach doesn't expand on the inhale but rather remains firm and - depending on your girth and powerhouse strength - hourglass-shaped at the waistline. Think of lying on the floor and tightening up your stomach because someone is about to stand on it. This will help you fully breathe into the sides and back of the ribcage while maintaining a strongly engaged powerhouse. Keep your stomach firm on the exhale as you pull your navel to the spine. Anything that hinders your breathing, such as sucking in your gut, will consequently slow or stop your movement. "

"Joyful Wisdom" by Yongey Mingyur

"Begin by sitting with your spine straight and body relaxed. If it's more comfortable, you can lie down. You can keep your eyes open or closed. Just breathe in and out naturally through your nose. And as you do, gently bring your attention to the changes in your body as you breathe, especially the expansion and contraction of your lungs and the rising and falling of the muscles in the abdominal region. Don't worry about concentrating too hard, thinking 'I've got to watch my breath...I've got to watch my breath.' Just let your mind rest in bare awareness of the changes occurring as you breathe in and out. Don't worry, either, if you find your mind wandering as you continue the exercise - that is simply another lesson in impermanence. If you find yourself thinking about something that happened yesterday, or daydreaming about tomorrow, gently bring your attention back to the changes in the body as you breathe. Continue this exercise for about a minute."

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