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How to yield your chest?

Charleston Samu Rii Marquis Blog, EN, General, In-depth Pilates

Do you know the soothing and comforting feeling of a chest as soft as melting butter? Not sure!? Or not yet? … Why not get to it today? Because today I will show you a simple but effective breathing exercise – the dog breathing – to get you to this comforting feeling.

This simple breathing exercise is for people with tension in their chest as a result of faulty breathing habits (upper chest breathing) and people who do not yet use their so-called “Powerhouse” correctly while practicing the Pilates method.

By the way, the yielding of our chest is a prerequisite for all Pilates exercises because it facilitates mobility and fluidity of our spine in flexion, extension and rotation. In the Hundred exercise, for example, the yielding of the chest allows our chest to descend horizontally towards the pelvis, which makes it easier for our spine to uplift, and for our head to float out of our neck, instead of having our head dig into our throat towards the mat.

Now, how to yield our chest in order to be able to benefit positively from all Pilates exercises where flexion or extension of the spine is required?

The Dog Breathing in a nutshell

Visual imagery = chest melting like butter
Breathing technique = Dog breathing – Long sustained tone
Breath ratio = 6-3-12
6: Riding the breath (in-breath)
3: Listening (breath suspension)
12: Breathing out forever (out-breath)

The procedure

First, place your thumb and index finger on your cheeks in between your jaw bones and allow your tongue to hang out like a dog’s tongue would do. Breathe normally. After five regular breaths, implement the breath-ratio 6-3-12 in the following way

  • Ride your in-breath in 6 counts
  • Hold your breath and listen in 3 counts
  • Vocalise and breathe out forever in 12 counts with a long sustained tone, and wait for the in-breath to come reflectively in about 3 counts.

Repeat this sequence five times.

Then take your thumb and fingers away from your jaw bones, draw your tongue in and rest it on your lower palate, but do not change the position of your jaw. Your jaw still hangs down like a dog’s jaw;) Do the breathing sequence again but this time with a visualisation in the end

  • Ride your in-breath in 6 counts
  • Hold your breath and listen in 3 counts
  • Vocalise, and as you breathe out “forever” in 12 counts with the long sustained tone visualise your chest melting as smoothly as butter in your mind’s eye.

Repeat this also five times. And afterwards keeping your awareness on your chest, feel the difference:)

Try it & fly with it!