Breathing is as central to exercise as it is flute playing. I was reminded just how important it is recently as I practiced the coordinated movements I use to bring my legs up to the trapeze bar on at the gym on the mat. Lying on my back on the mat with my legs extended, I move my legs up through the air until they are over my head. (Similar to doing a backward roll without momentum.) Every time did this movement, my thoracic and cervical spine felt crunched when my eat moved over my head to touch the floor above my head. I also noticed that I held my breath until the movement was complete. As I repeat the exercise on an incline bench, it suddenly dawned on me that I needed to exhale through the movement. In the next repetition I focused on my breathing, and voilà the range of motion and ease increased.
This reminded me that along with an accurate body map, breathing is the key to range of motion and movement ease. Exhalation offers the movement precision and ease that is at the unlocks coordination ease. The day it dawned on me that my flute playing was the product of exhalation was a day of liberation. I I clearly understood that overworking to play limited expression, technique, and sound and what I really needed was to get out of my own way and exhale.