Breathing Quality and Movement Quality

Breathing has always been considered as an important aspect of movements in most martial arts as well as Yoga, Zen meditation, Feldenkrais Method, and more.  The importance of breathing has been emphasized in today's orthopedic physical therapy and fitness training as well.  As I started studying Feldenkrais Method, I've started paying much more attention to breathing while I'm moving as well as observing my clients moving.  I've realized that the state of breathing and the quality of breathing can tell you a lot about the quality of movement.  Breathing changes according to the state of the nervous system.  Stress changes breathing.  Just imagine that you are about to propose your girlfriend for marriage.  Or imagine that a spider (if you hate spiders) suddenly falling in front of your face from the ceiling.  Did that change your breathing??  When the nervous system perceives fear/anxiety, it affects breathing. Unfamiliar movements and movements related to past physical trauma can often induce fear/anxiety to the nervous system even though you may not be aware of that.  Thus, when you learn a new movement/skill (unfamiliar), your breathing is likely to change (mostly likely holding a breath) to a certain degree.  The more unfamiliar and complex a movement is, the more likely breathing will be affected.  For this reason as a movement educator, I always observe my clients' breathing quality as it is one of the most important movement qualities. Interestingly enough, you can influence movement quality by changing breathing quality.  Try filling up your lunges with air and hold your breath while rotating your body.  Note how far you can turn your body.  Next try exhaling slowly while turning your body.  Notice how far you can turn your body this time.  Any difference?  You'll be amazed how much you can improve your movement quality by improving your breathing quality.  Check out Awareness Through Movement classes and Movement Re-education sessions to improve your breathing and movement quality.