I’m going to state the obvious here – breathing is fundamental to life, not just to Pilates! Using your breath effectively to aid your movement can be a powerful tool. Being consciously aware of your breath and how you are breathing, helps to:
- Prevent you from holding your breath
- Help you to recruit the correct muscles for each movement
- Give rhythm and flow to your movements
- Prevent you ‘bracing’ or gripping your muscles; important because gripping can stifle and restrict your movement
Pilates uses mainly lateral thoracic breathing – the emphasis being on the expansion of your rib cage into your back.
“Take a wide breath into the back of your ribs”
Breathing this way, rather than into the belly, allows you to connect to your abdominal muscles. This connection contributes towards a stable base – your ‘inner unit’ from which to move. So, it aids your stability and mobility.
Beginning with an awareness of how and where you are breathing, both as you move and are still, helps to improve posture. So it’s no surprise that this is one of the fundamental principles of Pilates.
Breathing patterns are learned because they have their own important values.
Learning to breathe effectively is a skill that brings the benefits mentioned above and more. If your breath and your movement are coordinated, your mind and body are more able to relax. Being able to relax helps you to concentrate and focus on your movement. Allowing yourself to focus and think about your movement and alignment brings greater self awareness. Rhythmical, focused movements are brought together with good alignment and synchronised breathing.
The fundamentals of Pilates feed into each other.
The results lead not only to your body becoming stronger, more flexible and balanced. Your mind benefits too; both brain and body are relaxed, strengthened and recharged.
Pilates really is Perfect.