Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Nose And Nose, Nose And Mouth

Posted by terrepruitt on July 16, 2013

A post or two ago I wrote about how breathing is good.  I mentioned that it is very common to hold your breathe while exercising and/or concentrating.  I shared that I was reminded of that recently by my husband (and Remo Williams). I briefly shared a few situations in which people might breath differently.  Of course, I had to mention Nia Sounding.  In my post What IS PiYo?, I mentioned yoga breathing and Pilates breathing.  Generally they are a bit different.

Simply put yoga breathing is done through the nose.  Both the inhale and the exhale.  Depending on what type of yoga you are doing, you may move as you inhale and exhale in a flow.  It is almost as if the breath can work as your metronome.  Or the flow is done where on certain moves you just inhale or exhale, timing your breath to your moves instead of your moves to your breath.  You can just breath normally and move through the poses as you want with no regard to the pace of your breath, but you still move with your breath.  As with most exercising the exhale is on the effort whether you are doing poses in a flow or at your own pace unrelated to your breathing pace.  While breath and breathing is related to movement in yoga, it does not always set the pace. In addition to the breath entering and exiting through the nose the breath affects the belly.  On the inhale it is the belly that expands.  On the exhale the belly compresses.  This is called diaphragmatic breathing.

To put Pilates breathing simply, it is done through both the nose and the mouth.  Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.  And even though ALL breathing utilizes the diaphragm Pilates breathing expands the thoracic/chest area.  When I was first learning Pilates I was taught it was called “Back breathing”.  This name helped me to concentrate on the change in shape of my upper body and not pull the breath down into my belly.  As with yoga, breathing is a large part of Pilates and breath relates to movement, but the area of the body with which the breathing is done is different.

Both yoga and Pilates breathing are done fully and completely.  So whether the air is flowing into the lower part of lungs and you are allowing your belly to expand or whether the air is going into all of the “corners” and your chest is expanding it is a full breath.  I like to practice allowing all the air that my lungs can hold to enter, to the point where I know there is no more space, then exhaling completely, until I know there is no more air left in my lungs.  This expelling completely is done with either type of breathing practice.

So in general that is the difference between yoga breathing and Pilates breathing.  As you practice either yoga or Pilates there are many details that you will learn and experience but that is it in a nutshell.

As I said, I like to practice full and complete breathing.  In addition I like to practice BOTH types of breathing.  I think they each have different benefits.  I think it is very important — no matter which type of breathing you are doing — to make the breaths FULL and COMPLETE  – as much in as you can as much out as you can.

If you were to report on your breathing you are doing right now, which type would you say it more closely resembles?

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