Siri and the Pandemic

Exercise has always been a part of my life. When I was in junior high, I would wake up early to do the Jane Fonda workout videos. In high school, I became certified as a group exercise instructor, bossing around adults more than twice my age.

In college, I taught ten classes per week and became a personal trainer. I discovered Pilates while pregnant with my second child and immediately found my favorite workout. I owned a Pilates studio for fifteen years and I exercise almost every day.

For my birthday a couple years ago, I received an Apple Watch from my boyfriend. While I love the connectivity to my phone and other Apple devices, Siri is rather bossy.

She monitors my workouts and sometimes when I forget to log a workout on my watch, I’m shamed for it. I discovered how to add in a workout if I forget to activate my watch, but Siri is somewhat suspicious and doubts the validity. Please, like I’d cheat myself out of a workout…

Miraculously, Siri has become less annoying recently. Another of her commands is reminding me to breathe. The pandemic has influenced this specific Siri directive, taking on a deeper meaning.

Breath is life. The Chinese refer to life force energy as Chi. There is Tai Chi breathing, Qigong breathing techniques, and in yoga, Prayayama is the formal practice of controlling breath.

In Pilates, we perform posterior lateral rib cage breathing — which is expanding your lungs and ribcage outward to the sides with a complete inhale. This can be felt across your back, with the abdominals held in. This breathing technique is known for maximizing the oxygen efficiency in the blood, generating energy (Chi).

In a study of occupations as it relates to life expectancy*, orchestra conductors live (on average) 38% longer than the general population. Why? Because they lift up their arms expanding their breath, opening up their ribcage while they work (bossing around musicians). Their breathing technique is half of their job — which is vigorous cardiovascular training.

During this pandemic, Siri reminding me to breathe feels like a blessing. I do not take for granted my ability to take a deep breath. I am gratefully able to expand my ribcage without feeling any discomfort in my lungs. The only pressure I receive is from Siri — to breathe.

I wish everyone positive Chi and deep breaths and I need to sign off now because Siri tells me it’s time for me to stand up.

*Metropolitan Life Insurance Company study

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Kara Kavensky

Kara Kavensky