Reformer Pilates can be considered holistic, as it is designed to improve strength, flexibility, and overall well-being. But what if there was a way to take your practice to the next level? Enter breathwork, a complementary technique that can enhance your Reformer Pilates experience by promoting greater mind-body connection, improved performance, and increased relaxation.
Breathwork is a mindful and intentional practice of controlling your breath to achieve various physical and mental benefits. It encompasses various techniques, but at its core, it focuses on deep, conscious breathing. Breathwork can be a standalone practice, but it is also a powerful tool when combined with other forms of exercise, such as Reformer Pilates.
According to Susie Smith from Intuitive Breathwork
“Breathwork is a deeply somatic therapy and with the modality of Conscious Connected Breathwork we can start the process of integrating all our past experiences, which empowers us to not only live our purpose but to be gloriously alive in the present moment, from a place of radical wholeness and peace.”
The Breath-Body Connection
Breathing is something we do involuntarily, but by harnessing the power of conscious breath, we can create a strong connection between the mind and body. In Reformer Pilates, where precision and control are crucial, understanding this connection becomes essential.
Improved Mind-Body Awareness: Breathwork helps you become more aware of your breath and how it affects your movements. When you synchronise your breath with your Pilates exercises, you gain a deeper understanding of your body’s mechanics.
Enhanced Mindfulness: Mindfulness is an essential aspect of Pilates, and breathwork enhances this practice. It encourages you to stay present and focused during your workouts, allowing you to perform movements with greater precision and concentration.
– Boosting energy
– Stimulating the lymph system & detoxifying the body
– Alleviating tension in the muscles
– Alleviating ailments such as headaches, asthma & other respiratory conditions, digestive issues including IBS
– Improving sleep
– Reducing allergies
Emotional & Spiritual:
– Reducing stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks
– Releasing past hurt & trauma including birth trauma
– Shifting negative thought patterns, self-sabotaging behaviors e.g. addiction & anger
– Increasing self-esteem, joy & groundedness
– Deepening meditation practice
– Expanding conscious awareness
– Strengthening spiritual connection & spiritual gifts
There are various breathwork techniques you can incorporate into your Reformer Pilates routine, including diaphragmatic breathing, rhythmic breathing, and box breathing. Here are a few that can be particularly beneficial:
Diaphragmatic Breathing: This technique involves breathing deeply into the diaphragm, expanding the lower belly with each inhale. It helps you stabilize your core and engage your deep abdominal muscles during Pilates exercises.
Rhythmic Breathing: Sync your breath with your movements. Inhale during the easier part of the exercise and exhale during the more challenging phase. This rhythmic breathing can provide a sense of control and balance.
Box Breathing: Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and hold for a count of four. Box breathing can help reduce tension and anxiety, leaving you more relaxed and focused during your practice.
Benefits of Combining Breathwork with Reformer Pilates
Improved Core Engagement: Proper breath control helps engage your core muscles more effectively during Pilates, promoting better stability and control in your movements.
Enhanced Performance: Breathwork can provide an extra boost of energy and strength during your Reformer Pilates session, allowing you to perform more advanced exercises and achieve better results.
Stress Reduction: Deep, mindful breathing induces a state of relaxation that can counteract the stress and tension in your body. This makes your Pilates sessions not only physically demanding but mentally rejuvenating.
Increased Flexibility: Deep breaths can aid in muscle relaxation, making it easier to achieve improved flexibility and range of motion during Pilates movements.
Body Awareness: Breathwork heightens your awareness of posture and alignment, ensuring that you maintain proper form throughout your practice, which is essential in Pilates.
Reformer Pilates is a fantastic exercise system on its own, but when combined with breathwork, it becomes even more powerful. The mindfulness and control gained through breathwork enhance your Pilates practice, offering physical and mental benefits that can transform your overall well-being.