Breathing correctly promotes efficient exchange of gases and avoids a build up of any unnecessary muscular tension. Using the breath in Pilates allow us to facilitate how we move, connect and focus our body. The way we breathe can help us either control and activate our core more or allow us to utilise our breath to improve movement.
Breathing is there to have meaning and purpose in a Pilates class – not to confuse you and make it a real struggle. Focusing on breathing in pilates simply encourages the natural mechanics and movement of the ribcage. When breathing in, aim to breathe into the sides and back of the ribcage, you will notice that the lower half of your ribcage expands in both depth and width. When exhaling, aim to completely relax all the muscles of the ribcage.
Becoming familiar with your own breath pattern...
Without trying to alter the way you normally breathe, take a few breaths in and out. Pay attention to where your breath is going. Whilst practicing this try asking yourself the following questions:
1. Where do you feel movement?
2. Is your ribcage moving? Is it moving out, up or arching as you breath in?
4. How full is your breath?
5. Do you feel any tension as you breath out?
Breathing and the core...
Breathing at the right time helps you activate your core but it is not always easy to remember to breathe whilst performing an exercise. You want to avoid holding your breath as you are just 'bracing' and using internal pressure to achieve stability. We ask you to breath out whilst completing harder aspects of an exercise to help activate the core better. The muscles that we are trying to activate attach to the diaphragm and lower ribs, that along with the activation of your primary sling and pelvic floor muscles strengthens your core and improves your breath.
Remember the cue... "inhale to prepare, exhale to move…"