This time of year it is so easy to get wound up trying to get it all done. Even though Joseph Pilates' breathing techniques are wonderful for our bodies, the technique is also wonderful to just de-stress.
Much of the time in the Pilates method you are asked to inhale deeply as you stretch or extend, and to exhale deeply when you contract or exert. Breathing techniques are used for many reasons. Joseph Pilates called it an internal shower for the body.
Another use of the breath is in assisting us in accessing internal abdominal muscles that are otherwise difficult to engage. In Pilates we give a good deal of attention to the exhale. Some call it the “Haaaa breath.”
How do you achieve the "Haaaa" breath? First relax the mouth. Inhale deeply through the nose, then exhale completely through the mouth and say Haaaaaa, as if fogging up a mirror. Take another inhale, exhale through the mouth, and this time exhale with the relaxed feeling of relief, then take the attention to the abdomen. Continue the exhale allowing the abdomen to soften; let all of the air out, then more air out, and more, until the abdomen is completely scooped down toward the spine.
The "Haaaa" breath is a wonderful technique you can use throughout your daily life to de-stress during your busy day. The "Haaaa" breath is also an important technique in achieving much more power in your ab work.