How many times have you heard a Reformer instructor bang on about Pilates breathing? For a lot of us, the thought of making noise in public (that sounds like a deflating blow up bed at a festival) is cringeworthy. Question – why the hell are we so repressed that we are afraid to breathe loudly in public? As Joseph Pilates once said “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” So let’s take a collective deep breath in and get into the fun facts of Pilates breathing and why we ALL need to embrace it.
The Pilates breathing technique is designed to assist the movements and increase muscle activation for each exercise.
Inhale through the nose, directing the breath into the sides of the ribs
Exhale through pursed lips, closing the ribs down and in
Inhale with normal breathing not an exaggerated deep breath and exhale with a slow but forceful breath
Top tip place both hands on either side of your rib cage to ensure the inhale is being directed laterally and that your slow forceful exhale is driving the ribs down and in
Why Pilates Breathing is important
There are lots of reasons that Pilates breathing is used. Two of the main ones are that it helps you to activate the correct muscle engagement (better technique, better results!) and it ensures you’re doing the exercises safely.
Directing the inhale into the sides of the ribs rather than the lower stomach helps to keep the abdominal muscles activated while moving through the pilates exercises.
Exhaling through pursed lips allows the forceful breath that helps activate the transversus abdominis and oblique muscles.
The additional benefits of this kind of breathing
- Breathing fully reduces stress
- Clears and calms the mind
- Helps rid the body of toxins through the lymphatic system
To finish. While Pilates Breathing technique is important, there is also A LOT to think about during a class and the last thing you want to do is panic about breathing and lose your form altogether. Like anything, consistency is key. The more you practice the easier it will become and you will become a breathing expert in no time!
Feeling inspired to put the theory to the test? Book a class now.