Picture the incredible Joseph Pilates in front of you and telling you in his strong German accent saying “In d the air, to out d air”.
Joseph said that breathing can significantly influence the body’s overall processes, oxygenation, volume capacity, and physical changes. As the body does a full steady respiration, the circulatory system is provided with adequate oxygenated blood while cleansing occurs as the metabolic wastes and impurities become eliminated. This mechanism has been labelled by Joseph Pilates as the “internal shower”. It is believed to affect physical and mental rejuvenation as well as invigoration.
In our classes, clients are taught about how they can get a full diaphoretic breath while still moving. In Pilates we inhale through our nose while directing the breath to the sides and the backs of our ribs. Then a slow gentle exhale through pursed lips as if you were trying to fog up a mirror in front of you. Pilates breathing needs to enable a full diaphoretic breath, it should not be forceful and it should be quite – we should not be able to hear the person breathing beside you in class. The only time we should hear the person breathing beside you in class is during the Pilates Hundred - this exercises not only works the core but is also a breathing exercises.
One of the most important things to remember during the class is to “remember to breathe”. People often hold their breath during exercises, but breath creates movement. Try holding your breath now…then slowly start to roll the head neck and shoulders, continue articulating one vertebrate at a time. Now how does that feel? Does the movement feel restricted? Now try again, but instead of holding your breath, exhale nice and slow as you start to roll the head neck and shoulders, continue articulating one vertebrate at a time – now did that feel like there was more flow to the movement? That’s because the breath makes it possible for us to move without restrictions.
It is important to remember that there is no right or wrong when it comes to breathing. What’s important is that you’re still breathing! It can take a while to get the Pilates breathing technique but don’t give up, you will get it! Remember that the Pilates breathing technique is only for our classes, you can continue to breath naturally once you have left the class.
Why do we breath like this in Pilates? Well, one of the main reasons we send the breath into the sides and back of the rib cage is so that we can keep our abdominal connected through the session and the breath creates movement.