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Breathing for Peak Performance: A Book Review

Amy Bowman, OPTP Staff Writer - July 25, 2019

In his new book, Breathing for Peak Performance: Functional Exercises for Dance, Yoga, and Pilates, movement educator and mind-body expert Eric Franklin explains the anatomy of breathing and tells how you can do it better in order to be more alert, have more energy, and improve performance. 
 
“People take about 20,000 breaths a day. Therefore, improving your breathing brings noticeable benefits to every aspect of your daily life. Generally better breathing makes your life more comfortable. It makes you more alert and energetic, and it improves exercise and sport performance,” says Franklin, who has tested his ideas and exercises during more than 30 years of teaching. His principles have been used by dancers, yoga practitioners, Pilates instructors, actors, vocal coaches, singing coaches, and many others. 
 
The book begins by breaking down the evolution of breathing to better understand why we breathe the way we do, before going into detail about the function of each of the major muscles and organs involved in breathing, including the diaphragm, rib cage, lungs and more. Franklin provides exercises to help you visualize the breathing process in order to fully understand how it happens. “If you cannot see the design and movement of … any part of the body, improving it is difficult,” Franklin says. “Positive change begins with awareness.” 
 
The book includes 35 breathing exercises with step-by-step instructions, as well as color photos and illustrations. At the end of the book, Franklin presents a recommended daily practice, which is ideal for individuals, professionals, coaches, practitioners, and students of dance, yoga, and Pilates. 
 
Breathing for Peak Performance is extremely concise and includes the information necessary to help achieve the goals for improved breathing, including: 
·     Embodying optimal breathing function 
·     Improving posture 
·     Reducing gripping and unnecessary tension 
·     Improving mobility and coordination of the rib cage and thoracic spine 
·     Increasing flexibility and strength in the muscles of breathing 
·     Optimizing breathing patterns for individual situations 
·     Evening movement distribution between breathing regions 
·     Improving coordination in the powerhouse of breathing, the diaphragm 
·     Improving your state of mind 
 
Whether you are an athlete, a coach, or simply someone who wants to experience the many benefits of breathing more efficiently, then this book is for you. 

Eric Franklin 
Eric is the founder and director of the Franklin Method, which he created over 25 years ago and has taught all over the world. He earned his B.S. from the University of Zurich and his B.F.A. at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Eric presents at numerous conferences internationally and teaches at universities and schools including the Julliard School in New York, Rutgers University and the University of Vienna. Eric’s series of more than 20 books and Franklin Method products were created to help people learn to harness the transforming power of the mind to make positive changes in the way they move for a more youthful and energized body.  



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Amy Bowman, OPTP Staff Writer

Amy is a Minneapolis runner, cyclist and yoga enthusiast who enjoys writing about health and wellness, physical therapy and fitness topics.

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