Correct breathing in Pilates is the key to success

Breathing is one of the most important things in life. It gives our body the oxygen it needs. This, the most vital function of our bodies happens instinctively and completely automatically. Most of the time, we don’t even notice that we breathe. However, in Pilates, breathing is not done automatically without us noticing it – on the contrary. We focus on breathing and executing the movement in unison with our breath.

Pilates breating

Pilates breathing – how is it different?

Rarely in our everyday lives do we breathe consciously. That is why sometimes breathing gets shallow and we don’t get enough oxygen into our bodies. This may cause a lack of energy and a general feeling of unwellness. Luckily with Pilates, you can train your breathing technique and get more power and control to your breathing. This helps you energize your life and bring up your body’s full potential.

Inhaling and exhaling

In Pilates, breathing supports the movement. If you want to get the best results out of your Pilates training, you should learn the correct technique of Pilates breathing. The first rule of thumb is to inhale through your nose. This way, the air you breathe moisturizes and gets warmer. Your nasal mucosa and hair protect you from impurities and filters foreign particles from entering the nasal cavity.

You can exhale either through your nose or mouth, whichever is more comfortable for you. Exhaling can be boosted by holding your mouth a little bit open and pushing your tongue against the palate.

Does it have to be loud?

Some Pilates teachers may say it is better to make some noise while breathing in Pilates. Particularly, the hissing voice while exhaling can be pretty loud when the whole group does it simultaneously.

The truth is, however, that it doesn’t really matter. If it comes naturally, you can be as loud as you want. If your Pilates breathing is quiet, that’s okay too, don’t overdo it.

What happens in Pilates breathing?

So, you inhale deeply through your nose to support the movement you are executing. Your lungs expand and the diaphragm moves downwards while the ribs spread to the side. Inhalation is directed to the sides and upper back.

Especially, the abdominal muscles and the inner abdominal muscles are involved in exhalation. During exhalation, the stomach is pulled in and up. This will activate the core. Exhaling should be a little bit longer than inhaling.

This style of breathing is called lateral breathing and it is the most popular breathing technique in Pilates.

Is Pilates breathing difficult?

At first, it might be. If you try Pilates for the very first time, it is a challenge to focus on both moving and breathing at the same time. But, it will get easier moment after moment and before you know it, your Pilates breathing comes naturally and easily. Practice makes perfect, doesn’t it?

Pilates breathing is quite different from breathing in normal everyday life. Still, it will help you to be more aware and more focused on your breathing. This will help you to take deeper breaths when stressed, and maybe realize when you just need to take a moment to breathe. After all, good breathing is the key to a healthy life – and success in Pilates.


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