Got a question? Get the answer!
Q: What are some tools/exercises I can use to combat poor breathing that contributes to physical tension and pain for many clients?
A: As the Leaders in Mindful Movement™ we believe in the importance of breath so much that it is a first principle in all of our fitness programs. Ensuring a good understanding of this principle early on helps create better awareness, and ultimately success, for clients.
Since September is Yoga Month, let’s talk about the ZEN•GA™ breathing principle which focuses on making conscious an unconscious action. The intention is to bring movement to life through the breath.
You can start by getting your clients to do a personal breath inquiry for a few minutes as they practice meditation or mindful breathing. Ask them the following questions for them to answer to themselves:
- Where do I breathe – higher or lower?
- Where does the breath begin or originate?
- What is the frequency, low, moderate, high?
- What are the differences between the inhale, exhale and pause? Are they equal? One longer than the other?
- What is the texture? Smooth, erratic, jerky, even?
- What is the depth? Deep or shallow? You might not be able to tell.
- What about the quality? What words best describe that for you? Labored, billowing, stuck?
Here is an experiential exercise using the Mini Stability Ball™ that you can try with your clients. The use of the ball as a focal point assists in the practice as well as providing sensory stimulus resulting in heightened responsiveness.
Start position: Tuck the 7.5” Mini Stability Ball under the armpit, as snug as possible, wrap arm around the ball, angle the elbow back and hold the forearm just above the wrist with the other hand.
Movement: Breathe into the ball three to five times.
Focus: Remove the ball and notice how much freedom is available in the shoulder joint as well as the increased resiliency in the rib cage. Repeat on other side.
Inquiry: Is there a noticeable difference in the quality of movement with a focused breath and without? Notice if the speed of movement is slower with a concentrated effort. When waiting for the pause do you feel more mindful about the task at hand?
If you are interested in exploring this topic more why not look into some offerings from the ZEN•GA program. Workshops and Foundation Courses for Mat and Reformer are available.