Tips from BollyFit Guide Ziva Will Leave You BEAMing! (Part II)


a. Many people do not know how to breathe correctly or even know that there is a correct way to breathe while moving.  We unfortunately do not have breathing 101 in our school systems (though I think it would be super beneficial grin ). As a child, I suffered from athletic-induced asthma and was even given an inhaler to use.  When I was ten, I realized that the inhaler made me feel weird and weak, and so I didn’t use it anymore.  Instead, I spent my late teenage years dancing, running, and training my body to be stronger to compensate for my breathing problem.  Then, at 19, I started doing Pilates (exercise with controlled breathing and body awareness). With Pilates training, I was able to completely manage my asthma using my own body versus a chemical agent.  Now, if you need an inhaler, do not just go and throw it away because there are of course varying degrees of asthma, and it is a blessing we have the medicine we have.  Just know being aware of our breathing properly can enhance our overall health.


b. Increased oxygen levels help our circulation to increase, which in turn, allows our muscles and organs to warm up and function more efficiently.  If we hold our breath during exercise or forget to breathe (which happens a lot) we go against our body’s natural rhythm. Similar to being not well hydrated, we will “crack and dry up, “ or be more likely to injure, pull, or tear muscles.  Also, our stamina and endurance will be greatly lowered and may prevent the body from moving for an extended period of time.


c. Breathing exercises:  There are two basic breathing exercises that can be done to enable the body to breathe more efficiently, not only during exercise, but for everyday life in general.  Read below and try them for yourself grin Fun Fact: the exercises below will not only enhance stamina, endurance, organ functioning, and circulation, but also each controlled breath is the equivalent to one sit up.  So you can actually breathe your way to strong, flexible abs! No more back breaking crunches


1. Rib Cage Breath: Lie on your back and place your hands on the either side of your rib cage.  With the belly button pulled toward the spine, inhale and feel the ribs pull apart.  When you exhale make a strong hissing sound (this will enable all the old oxygen used to get out of the body, enabling a larger quantity of fresh oxygen to come in).  Also feel the ribs close, concave, and grow closer together as the breath comes out.  A typical inhale should be on a count of 4 and an exhale can start on a count of 4 and then increase to a count of 6, 8, 10, 12, and beyond.  The longer we can exhale, the stronger our lungs, stamina, and endurance will become.  Try this while working, driving, dancing and take time to be aware of the breath.  The ultimate goal is that eventually the body will automatically do this without thought.
2. Belly Breath: Lie on your back and place both hands on the abdomen.  As you inhale inflate the belly like a balloon and make it as big as possible.  As the breath comes out, make a strong hissing sound and pull the belly button all the way to the spine.  Just like the rib cage breath, start with an inhale and exhale of 4 counts and then eventually increase the exhale by two counts.  The difference with the belly breath is this will not only strengthen the abdomen, it will also stretch all the muscles, increasing circulation and aid in overall functioning of the organs (especially digestion).



Tips to Preventing Injury from BollyFit Guide Ziva Will Leave You BEAMing! (Part I)
Monday, March 19, 2012
BollyFit and BollyFit Belly Guide, Ziva Lynn


Due to my extensive history of dancing and other endeavors such as gymnastics, I have dealt with many different injuries, including to my knees, during my years of performing. As a result, I have discovered many ways to not only continue dancing, tumbling, and performing while injured, but also how to prevent injury from happening in the first place.  So for those of you that are injured and afraid to continue to dance, or worry about getting hurt in the process, please read through the following tips.  Hopefully, they will be a guide to allow the body to move and groove for a lifetime.

When it comes to preventing injuries, there are many tips and tricks to remember. I have a shortcut that will help you remember the most important steps to follow before, during, and after your favorite BollyFit classes, and any other “workout” and fitness regimen. All you have to remember is the BollyFit B.E.A.M.

Before you begin, ask a doctor
Essentials of water and layers
Always breathe
Muscle awareness

Today, I am going to explain the first two letters, B and E.

1. BEFORE you begin ask a doctor! See a doctor! I just want to point out as a disclaimer I am not a doctor, just someone who has been a mover all my life and has learned tips to keep my body moving.  Also, if you are new to moving again or haven’t exercised or danced in a while, it is always good to see a doctor before starting any program to make sure the body is ready to go!

2. Before any movement class make sure you have the ESSENTIALS…

a. Drink a lot of water! Make sure to drink before, during, and after class.  Staying hydrated will keep the muscles from becoming rigid and sore.  In the same way that mud, a sponge, or plants that are dried out become hard, cracked, and broken up, the muscles and body are the same.  So, keep drinking to keep the body pliable, flexible, and moving.  Increased water intake will help keep your oxygen levels up as well, which will also help pump up your stamina and endurance.

b. Dress in layers, even if it is warm outside! There is a reason dancers wear layers of clothing when first arriving to class and then slowly remove layers as the class goes on.  Keeping the body warm also allows the body to move more freely and safely.  I have had my one knee reconstructed and my other knee has bursitis from gymnastics.  I use to have to wear braces to dance, but since I discovered leg warmers I haven’t had to wear a brace in years.  So yes, leg warmers, arm warmers, even wearing scarves, etc. are not just an added fashion accessory, they serve a functional purpose, too! (Just check out Emmy Rossum’s look below if you are a bit weary about how to rock leg warmers!) They actually work to keep the joints and body warm and keep circulation going.  Once the body is warm (typically at least 15 minutes-45 minutes into a class) they can start to be removed.  After class is done, before going outside (especially if it is cold out) , bundle back up.  It is best to let the body slowly return to its normal temperature instead of shocking it from one temperature to another.  Even though it might feel good to run into air conditioning or out into snow after sweating, it can cause havoc on the body, messing with circulation, and not to mention the immune system.

Stay tuned for Part II of Ziva’s BollyFit BEAM tips next week, where she shares the importance of breathing consciously.

Safe and happy moving to all,


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About the Author: Ziva Lynn is a BollyFit and BollyFit Belly Guide and a professional dancer and teacher.