Why we should all make time to breathe

How often outside of a weekly Pilates or Yoga class do we take the time to REALLY breathe? Chances are that many of us don’t. Or perhaps, like me, you have a tendency to be a ‘shallow breather’. And that means we’re missing out. Because making time for mindful breathing has some great benefits

Tune into your body –
in the rush and demands of daily life we’re all too often focused on what’s going on around us – parenting, finding a job, keeping a job, money – the list goes on. Focusing on the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation brings you back to yourself and your body.

Reduce stress  - our nervous system needs balance, but most of us spend far too much time in ‘fight or flight’ neglecting the ‘rest and digest’ mode that helps our bodies recover.  Regular mindful breathing, alongside getting a good night’s sleep and a taking up a movement practice like Pilates can all help offset the stresses and tensions we accumulate each day.

Learn to let go  - it’s amazing how bringing your attention to breathing can help your body and mind make friends with each other. You may suddenly notice that your jaw is clamped shut, your hands bunched in fists or your butt muscles clenched.  The good news is that once you’re aware of where and how you hold tension in your body, you can learn to let it go.

Joseph Pilates said: “above all else learn how to breathe correctly” and breath is one of the fundamental principles of the practice. In class you may use a range of different breathing techniques to help stabilise the spine, to assist your body in movement and to bring rhythm and flow to your practice.

But you can increase the benefits by making mindful breathing part of your daily routine.   Find an app with a mindful breathing practice, take a look on You Tube – there are a lots of options out there. So why not give yourself 10 minutes a day to let go of tension, reduce stress and get a better night’s sleep?