Written by: Kayte Corrigan
HIP Pilates principles #2 - The only wrong breath is no breath. If you wanted to get specific, each Pilates exercise has it’s own breath pattern to ensure enough oxygen is flowing to your working muscles. Typically trainers cue an inhale through the nose with an exhale through pursed lips, like blowing through a straw. This breath pattern helps engage the deep abdominal muscles, the transverses, to stabilize the torso.
Practicing proper breath can relieve unnecessary tension to promote relaxation and focus during each movement. Most exercises will exhale on the exertion. Some focus more on spinal placement, inhaling during extension and exhaling in flexion.
It’s important to imagine the lungs filling up into your sides, often described as and east/west breath. This deep breathing promotes a greater exchange of gasses into the lower lobes of the lungs.
Outside of class you can use Pilates breath patterns to relax. In stressful situations, the east/west breath can help slow down a rapid, nervous heart rate. When lifting or reaching in your every day life you can use this breath to help engage your core.
Breath equals life. Keep breathing, keep moving.