And breathe deeply...

Method Putkisto Pilates lesson #3 

In today's lesson, Sanna made us focus on our breathing. Since breathing is considered to be one of the five most important elements of Method Putkisto, I was really excited for this lesson.

According to their website and member, efficient diaphragm breathing is the key to successful results in Method Putkisto. Method Putkisto exercises will help you to develop the necessary flexibility and awareness of your body to make this kind of breathing more accessible.

By learning how to use your diaphragm as the primary breathing muscle and the muscles that assist breathing, you will unite the body to work as a functional unit. Conscious control of diaphragm and assisting breathing muscles is required for reaching the optimum level of fitness. Efficient breathing is also the key to achieving a good posture and muscle balance. Correct breathing also supports the stretches by making them more comfortable, and far more efficient than if you were taking very shallow breaths, and if you don't use your entire lung capacity.

It’s important to know that tensions in shoulder area and a bad upper body posture are usually consequence of ineffective breathing. 

In today's lesson, Sanna pointed out that we should try to link the diaphragm to the psoas major and iliacus major muscles. The psoa spans from the solar plexus to the inner thigh, deep within your core and behind your abdominal muscles. It provides a muscular shelf that supports all organs, and should be relaxed and responsive for movement all the time. It contributes to flexion and external rotation of the hip joint (important for riders!!) The iliacus major muscles is also an important muscle, especially for riders because it flexes and laterally rotates the thigh at the hip. With the correct breathing, you can stretch these muscles to help you become stronger and gain a better posture from your ribs right down to your hips!

We did some very basic Pilates movements today, mostly repetitions of last weeks, but again this time we had to focus on something new. Last week it was focussing on the muscles, and today it was more focussing on breathing, but also including the work we already did the previous lesson. This way each week we look at the same exercises each week but from a different perspective, and build up our knowledge in the easiest way possible. Using many different movements each lesson would take away time and concentration from the important elements, such as breathing. 

Some of the movements today: including side kicks with bent knees, shoulder bridge, cat stretch, standing twist and diagonal limb stretches

Side kicks (we did this but with bent knees)

Shoulder bridge

Cat stretch

Diagonal limb stretch
Standing twist
Out of all of these, my personal favorites are the diagonal limb stretch and the standing twist. The diagonal limb stretch is a really difficult movement for me, as it requires total control over your body when changing sides, and is a very good workout for your abdominals and obliques. I tend to lose my balance and twist my hips when when I'm stretched out fully because my core just isn't strong enough to support me in this position. My wrists also start to hurt after a while, and I'm hoping to use some kind of wrist supports next time to make the exercise a little bit easier. I really enjoy the standing twist as well. Although it looks incredibly easy, when done with the correct breathing and total control of your core, this is will work your obliques to their max! Doing this movement as slowly as possible will also give a good workout to your arms, which easily start to tire as there is no resting position for them.

Our next lesson is on Wednesday 20th, and then that weekend (23rd-24th) we have a Method Putkisto Deep Stretching course. Exciting times!

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