How To Breathe Properly In Pilates

pilates breathing

“Above all, learn how to breathe correctly,” Joseph Pilates

Learning how to breathe properly in Pilates is one of the most important aspects of the method. By breathing correctly, you’ll feel more centered, develop a strong mind body connection, and feel better in the exercises.

The art of breathing is part of the six principles of Pilates. The six principles include: breathing, centering, concentration, control, precision and flow.

By connecting breath to movement in Pilates, this helps to cleanse the body, improve circulation and encourage proper control and form.

What makes Pilates unique is that you are often encouraged to match the intensity and pattern of your breath to the exercise you are performing. You’ll often hear your teachers’ cues on breathing. This is to ensure the body is in the correct position to perform the exercises effectively and safely. It’s also important for oxygenation of the body and circulation!

An example is if the movement is more restorative, natural breathing would be appropriate. If the exercise is more energetic, like The Hundred (see below!), then you would want to use a more vigorous breathing style.

Check out the resources below to learn all about breathing in Pilates!

Discover the complex system that allows us to breathe. Joe Muscolino covers the anatomy of breathing and then Simona Cirpiani takes you through classical Pilates exercises designed to assist the skills you need to breathe properly:

Victoria Torrie Capan teaches this basic/intermediate level mat class with emphasis on the movements of the torso which open pathways for increased breath capacity. You will bend and twist your way to a more supple rib cage, increase awareness of places you can direct breath and build strength in the muscles that support respiration. After class take a nice deep breath and appreciate what you have done for your overall health.

Blossom Leilani Crawford explains the unique ways that her mentor, First Generation Pilates Teacher Kathy Grant, taught breathing. In a session with Kathy, you might be asked to whistle, count out loud, exhale through ‘number three’, hiss like a cat and more. She used sounds to give you a better feel for how to engage your abs and still allow air enter and exit. All of these techniques were used differently by Kathy depending on the student’s needs. Watch for Part 2 of this session, and explore how these techniques can work for you.

Happy Hundreds!


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