Posture and breathing: a dynamic duo

Just as I thought I had had about enough of doing anything online, I came across a very enjoyable breathing course I signed up for in Canada. Yes, Canada!

Well, I didn’t get to go there, but joined from my living room. The first thing we did in the first class was move our ears back over our shoulders. Try it now and see how it affects your breathing.

Posture and breath are connected. Try slouching and breathing into your belly. Now sit up, ears over shoulders and try again. A good posture has a lot of health benefits - not in the least for our breathing.

When the ribs and pelvis are not centred over each other, the main muscle of respiration, the diaphragm, is affected. A good posture can make it easier to access this optimal breathing muscle again.

Posture is dynamic, not a fixed position to aim for. We’d also like to sense our core as supple and dynamic rather than a rigid muscular corset.

In today’s simple exercises let’s try and find a balanced posture, observe how we breathe and how well the belly can move with the breathing. Maybe you can even sense some movement in the lower back and spine.

Stand with your feet underneath the hips, ribcage, shoulders and ears. Let your feet sink a little into the floor. Allow your diaphragm (bottom of the ribcage) to relax, feel your breathing. You can use a mirror if that helps you find a balanced posture, but try to sense it too.

Next sit on a chair, finding a dynamic balance again between pelvis, ribs and head. Let your sitting bones sink into the chair, without slouching or making too much of an effort to sit up straight. Relax your belly, breathe.

Then come down to the floor and lie on your back, feet standing, knees bent. Feel where your body is in contact with the floor, and feel the connection between pelvis and ribs, shoulders and ears. Let your body settle and sink into the floor.

Stay for as long as is comfortable, and let your breath find its way. No need to control it. Let it flow, imagine how the organs are floating along with the breathing.

Once you’ve got the hang of this and can sense your postural alignment and your breathing, enjoy! This powerful duo will support you throughout your day.

Would you like more ideas to strengthen your life? Get in touch to find out about studio or online classes, a ‘movement bundle’ (short video classes you can download onto your computer) or one-to-one session.

Jaconel Janssen is a Pilates and Buff Bones teacher and founder of Pilates People Cork. She teaches regular movement classes in Cork (Douglas area), both in person and online, and a regular outdoor class. Visit or Facebook Pilates People Cork or contact or 085-1613505.