Did you know that the way you breathe out could affect your entire health and well-being? Read on to correct every breath you take.
The fitness bug always takes its own sweet time to sting, depending on individual experiences and situations. I have been dancing all my life and yet I started my actual training in dance when I was 20! The first and the biggest hurdle for me during the first few years of training was the physical aspect. As a child I had never paid much attention to sports and hence, lacked strength. But in that, I had company. Lack of strength is a common problem with most girls. But I never expected flexibility to be my foe. I was extremely stiff and completely alone in this. Most girls around me had amazingly flexible bodies. I was one of the exceptions though. I’ve worked a considerable amount to achieve both in the last four years; and it hasn’t been easy. Here I will share with you one of the best secrets that I have learnt in these years.
This secret is not like a regular secret; it was something that dance teachers, yoga gurus, fitness trainers and wise elders shout from rooftops, something that we hear a bit too much. So much that it completely loses its importance gradually and we just don’t pay heed. “Breathe out”. I never thought that these two words would be the weapon that set me free. I had heard this phrase so often during training that it started becoming my go-to phrase when I started teaching, without even realising how empowering it could be. Deep full breaths involve your nose, lungs, diaphragm, abdomen, throat and mouth. When we breathe in deeply, our diaphragm pulls the lungs down and our belly button rises, away from the spine. So, as the lungs expand, the oxygen gets circulated properly throughout. When we breathe out, the belly button pulls in towards the spine, pushing the air out through our lungs, throat and mouth. But let’s be honest, no one can think about any of that while working out! In practice, the best way to go about it is to make a mental connection between breathing out and a complete relaxation of the muscles. The lesser you breathe out, the lesser space you create for a deep inhale. So whenever you find yourself shaking, in pain (while stretching) or want to increase the flexibility and strength of your muscles in general, just remember to breathe out and completely relax all the tension in the muscles involved in that particular exercise.
Yes, it sounds terribly simple. But it takes a lot of time to understand and apply this to your practice. I took my time, so trust me. It’s better to take one step at a time, achieving small goals every day than pushing yourself way too hard towards achieving one massive target. The former has been working in my favour and hopefully it always will.
*Abhinaya Penneswaran is a dance and fitness expert. To know more about her, click here.