Do you breathe?

June 19, 2016


Do you breathe?

Strange question I know.

Breathing is the most basic requirement for us to stay alive and we do it subconsciously.

I have noticed over the years whilst working with clients that there are some strange breathing patters emerging, for example:

  • Shallow/barely breathing

  • Shallow/fast breathing

  • Shoulder/neck breathing

  • Mouth/jaw breathing

Stress and poor alignment have a lot to do with it. For others there may be a chronic condition such as an underlying lung dysfunction, anxiety or depression causing this.

Let’s assume you are a healthy individual.

Stand or sit in front of a mirror. Take a breath in and out.

What did you notice?


Do it again, and again, and again and slowly tune in to your body.


Ok let’s try this:

Keep looking in the mirror.

Take a slow full deep breath in counting to 3.

What do you see?

Do you have your mouth open?

Do you clench your teeth?

Do you pull your shoulders up?

Do you feel a restriction anywhere or shortness of breath?

Now slowly breathe out and count to 3.

Where did the breath stop?

Are your shoulders still pulled up?

Did you find it hard to breathe out fully?

Do you feel a restriction anywhere or shortness of breath?

Breathing is so fundamental to our well-being yet most of us really struggle to breathe fully in and out correctly.

It not only causes tension, aches and pains in our body but also increases us to live in a heightened state, finding it hard to relax and sleep properly.

Feel free to try this next little exercise to improve your breathing.


Lie down comfortably allowing your shoulders to relax and if you are lying on your back maybe put a blanket or small soft cushion under your lower back and pelvis.

Close your eyes and place one or both hands on your belly.

Take a deep slow breath in through your nose, allowing your ribcage to expand sideways and your belly to lift. Breathe into your back.

Slowly breathe out either through the nose or open your mouth slightly.

Allow your shoulders & chest to relax down and your belly to draw in. Let your breath come all the way down towards your pelvis into your lower back.


- The aim is to elongate the breath in and out each time as well as breathing fully into each space of your rib cage, mid and lower back.

This will allow your diaphragm to work its full range, increase circulation, lower your blood pressure and help you relax.


This may take a little practice yet it’s a wonderful daily exercise to do, especially if you find it hard to relax or struggle with back pain.

Let me know how you get on.



PS: you can join my Pilates classes in Dawlish every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday or book a 1 to 1 tuition.

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