Take a Deep Breath!

Relax, fight inflammation and stress hormones with Pilates!

by Kathryn Russell

In my last blog-post, I talked about the Mind-Body Connection that happens during a Pilates session.

As much as Pilates is about movement and awareness, it is also about breathing. The combination of movement, body awareness, and controlled breathing bring you into the here-and-now and ultimately lead to a sense of well-being and relaxation (in spite of Pilates sessions typically being challenging! I hear your occasional pleas for leniency!).

The feelings of well-being and relaxation are immediate, but there are lasting, healthy changes to your body that come with breath control and exercise.

Controlled breathing can lower the stress-related hormone Cortisol and reduce its negative effects on the body, immune system, and your ability to relax and sleep soundly. Studies have shown that regularly achieving a relaxation response, like what can happen in Pilates, can actually turn off genes that would otherwise trigger inflammation.

You probably have heard of the health benefits of eating foods that are high in anti-oxidants, which help neutralize damaging free radicals and reduce what is known as oxidative stress.

Did you know that one of the most powerful antioxidants, Glutathione, is made in your body? What can you do to naturally raise Glutathione levels? The conscious movement, body awareness, and controlled breathing make Pilates a type of moving meditation, like Tai Chi and yoga, that can raise your Glutathione levels.

Whether you are in a private or a group session, make sure to pay attention to your breath as your instructor guides you; you are sure to reap multiple benefits from peace of mind to a healthier you!