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Breathing during Pilates Practice

Breathing during Pilates Practice

Inhale and Exhale

You may hear a lot in Pilates class, “breath in to prepare, inhale, now exhale and hold” or words to that effect.  It is the foundation of Pilates that you work from a very strong core and to do that we need to do lateral breathing. We want to oxygenate our blood, get our circulation going, and get the rejuvenating qualities that a deep breath delivers.

We use the breath to  coordinate our Pilates movements and to coordinate the movements with inhale and exhale patterns. Despite this focus on breathing in Pilates, some people, myself included  feel an odd sensation which is sometimes referred to as “inhale deprived” when they start Pilates class.

Keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in and inhaling at the same time can feel very strange in the beginning. But this is where the special breathing technique we use in Pilates comes in to play. It allows us to maintain a contraction of the abs throughout an exercise and it is called lateral breathing.

We use lateral breathing to breathe deeply, to fully expand the lungs, but as you inhale you want to focus the expanding breath into the back and sides of the ribcage.

When the abs are pulled in properly, they protect the spine and give support for the whole abdomen area.  Knowing how to breathe, while keeping the abs contracted gives support throughout an exercise. As you practice lateral breathing, you will find that you are able to perform Pilates exercises with greater ease.

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