I was doing a Pilates class next to this lady who obviously had the rhythmic breathing perfected. While I panted like a dog through the drop hip planks and lunges with stretch bands and continuously thought “almost done … almost done,” this dark-haired beauty next to me always performed one extra flawless lunge — probably for the personal challenge.
While I gasped for air and tried to keep my stomach from dragging on my red mat, she executed her lateral, or intercostal breathing, maintaining a consistent inward pull of the deep abdominal muscle during inhalation and exhalation. While taking a 45-second water break, this same lady leaned over and reminded me in that familiar motherly reprimand: “Janet, you always forget your water bottle.”
I made some excuse about leaving my water in the car and when we continued with our push-ups and butterfly shoulder moves on floor sliders, I suddenly realized how comfortingly familiar her steady breathing has been for more than half a century.