Breathe

Foundations: Breathing in Pilates – Intro

Foundations: Breathing

Quick Intro: Breathing in Pilates

Breathing is often the first thing we learn in Pilates.  It’s the first thing we do in life.

In Pilates breathing can be a bit of a can of worms.  It adds on an extra layer of complexity and possible confusion onto what can be already new and unfamiliar ways (for beginners) of moving and thinking about movement.

If breathing instructions do “do your head in” – just be aware of it as something to master eventually.  Don’t allow it to impede your progress forward – just get moving.  The very worst thing that you can do is hold your breath – but as you can only do that for a short time anyways – you’ll have to breathe eventually!

A good teacher will be able to get you breathing the right way without you even noticing!  A good teacher won’t labour the point!

 

The Foundation and Rhythm of Life

Breathing is the foundation of our existence and provides the rhythm to life.  Breathing techniques can be used to decrease stress, raise or lower blood pressure, improve aerobic capacity and calm the mind and spirit.  Breathing has been used in every culture to change mind and physical states in meditation, exercise and daily living.

Joseph Pilates wrote about the importance of breathing:

“Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.”

and,

“Lazy breathing converts the lungs, literally and figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying and dead germs.”

In order to get the most out of your Pilates practice, becoming aware of how we’re breathing is helpful.

But here’s a very important caveat: some schools of Pilates have created a whole vision of Pilates around the breath – Fletcher Pilates being the most well known.  Other schools of Pilates barely give it a mention, preferring to get to the same destination using other routes.  Both perspectives have their merits…

 

First things first:

In through the nose.

Out through the mouth!

 

What’s it good for?

Yeah… ok… LOL!  – but why are breathing exercises useful and are there any muscle strengthening benefits?

🌟  Breathing exercises help promote movement.

🌟  Good use of breath can help further increase mobility.   This can be used to good advantage in any exercise where there is an element of stretch or lengthening.

🌟  Breathing exercises can improve lung capacity and lung health.

🌟  Practising breathing exercises can help focus the mind.

🌟  Improves strength by strengthening the diaphragm, pelvic floor, transversus abdominis, internal and external intercostals, serratus posterior, superior and inferior, the scalenes, and upper trapezius! (Read this book -it’s an anatomy book, but beautifully written and illustrated – a total TREASURE!).

 

“Belly vs Rib Breathing” – Diaphragmatic vs Posterio-Lateral

These first two breathing techniques are perfect contrasts!  You could do worse than think of them as opposites…

Diaphragmatic

… is relaxed and relaxing.  It comes to us naturally, most people rarely stop to notice it!

Find our more here

Lateral

… is energising and active … it takes concentration, effort and energy…

Breathing exercises help promote movement.

  Good use of breath can help further increase mobility.   This can be used to good advantage in any exercise where there is an element of stretch or lengthening.

  Breathing exercises can improve lung capacity.

  Focusing the mind.

Find our more here

 

Another awareness raising technique…

Wrap a towel, belt or theraband around your torso and as you inhale, feel the ribs expand into the band:

 

 

Any Questions?

Ask away – I love to help!  Click here for the Contact Page 🙂 – or leave a comment at the bottom of the post – see you there…

To find a short deliberate pace, beginners workout that looks specifically these exercises go to the Foundations section of our video page.

Miguel 🙂

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