Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Deep breathing is an important part of Pilates exercises because it brings oxygen into the bloodstream and stimulates the
internal organs, including the heart. Also, breathing out carbon dioxide helps to remove waste from the body. Joseph Pilates referred to this as the "internal shower" which is the effect of the exercises that he created. In the words of Pilates himself the exercises "discharge through your bloodstream the accumulation of fatigue products created by muscular and mental activities." Here is a list of eight benefits that deep breathing can bring to the mind, body, and soul.
Stimulates the Lymphatic System: The blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the cells and the cells excrete waste into the lymphatic fluid. Shallow breathing can cause the lymph to move more slowly and makes the body work less efficiently to remove waste. Deep breathing stimulates the lymphatic system and regulates the disposal of waste from the body.
Relieves Pain: Our unconscious reaction when experiencing pain is to hold our breath. Deep breathing will help release endorphins which are the body's natural pain killers.
Improves Digestion: The digestive organs receive more oxygen through deep breathing and as a result are able to work more efficiently. Increased blood flow will stimulate the intestines to work and will improve digestion.
Strengthens the Major Organs: Breathing deeply makes the lungs have to expand more and therefore makes them work more efficiently. It brings more oxygen into the bloodstream so the heart can pump more efficiently, which helps to improve circulation.
Helps Improve Posture: Deep breathing encourages the body to straighten the spine in order to make room for the lungs to expand. It is important to be able to maintain good posture in order to have optimal breathing capacity.
Makes You Calm: Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which causes the body to relax. Our sympathetic nervous system is triggered by stress which triggers adrenaline and cortisol to be produced. Deep breathing can help to link the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and allow the body to begin to relax and calm down.
Helps to Regulate Weight: Extra oxygen in the body will help feed tissue and cells. Extra oxygen in the body will help you burn fat more efficiently. Deep breathing is key in triggering the relaxation response which will encourage the body to burn fat instead of glycogen, which is what occurs when we are stressed.
Increases Happiness: Deep breathing increases neurochemical production in the brain and allows for release of the chemicals that elevate moods and control pain.
Here's a link from the Cleveland Clinic about diaphragmatic breathing exercises that you can try: