The importance of breath
Breath underpins everything we do in life. If we didn’t breathe we would die. Joseph Pilates believed correct breathing revitalises the body with fresh oxygen and energy. Blood circulation increases and we no longer feel lethargic. This is why breath is one of the key principles of the Pilates method.
Breath can often affect other areas of our lives. When we are tense and stressed our breathing can become shallow and irregular, making it harder to perform everyday tasks. In comparison we breathe easier and fuller when we are relaxed and calm. Thus learning to control our breath is of vital importance.
How to breathe properly?
Pilates focuses on lateral breathing. Pilates breathing is a pattern of breathing which facilitates the diaphragm to work efficiently in conjunction with our deep stabilisers, including transverse abdominus and pelvic floor, whilst massaging our internal organs. Try visualising your ribs expanding outwards when you inhale, and contracting when you exhale.
While your instructors may often guide you through breathing during each exercise, those new to Pilates may notice themselves not breathing correctly as they attempt each exercise. This is ok, as it is always important to master the technique of each new exercise first before focusing on your breath.
The beauty of breathing is that it can be practised anywhere at any time even while at work! If everyone takes a small amount of time each day to focus on breathing correctly, then it will soon become a habit and you will find yourself breathing correctly all the time.