Fear – not just fear, panic… That deep-seated, fight-or-flight reptile brain response. It hits me every time I can’t breathe.
About 15 years ago I developed fairly severe asthma. It took awhile to get it under control, and during that first year so I would get fairly panicky every time I got short of breath. not knowing if I was going to find a solution or not. Over time things settled down and it hadn’t bothered me much until I began exercising. Apparently my lungs had some catching up to do. When I first started this weight loss deal I would have to use my asthma inhaler before I even worked out. Gradually things got better and as my muscles become more efficient I had less and less trouble with my breathing.
Of course there were some exercises that I just couldn’t do. As a singer (vocal stylist? Insert joke here…) I learned to breathe very deeply down into my abdomen. so that I could support my singing properly. Unfortunately, any exercise (pushups, planks, etc…) that required a lot of support from my abs made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. I start to do it and I would start feeling panicky because I literally have to hold my breath while I was doing it. So I just avoid it wherever possible.
Yesterday I went to RedBird Pilates & Fitness for my first evaluation for the Pilates classes I’m going to be taking. Elizabeth my trainer, started teaching me a different way to breathe. Instead of breathing deeply into my abdomen I’m learning to expand my rib cage while holding my abs tight. It’s a new technique, and having to think about how you breathe is always a little odd. I had to do it before when I was taking vocal lessons, and I suspect that this will be much the same sort of process it and I’ll eventually figure it out.
I tell you what, that Pilates stuff is sneaky. It didn’t feel like much of a workout. I know I didn’t burn many calories. And yet, as the day progressed I began to get sore .in places that I’ve never really been sore before. Elizabeth told me that we were going to be working the neglected muscles, and that our focus is going to be on developing the muscles that don’t normally get developed. So today I’m sore in places that I’m not usually sore but my main muscles, the ones that are usually really tired feel fine.
I go in for my second evaluation on Saturday, and I begin classes on Monday. It should be interesting… But this new way of breathing is pretty cool. It may finally open the door for me to be able to work on things I have not been able to work on up to now.