Class #4745

Breathing In

15 min - Class


Fill up your lungs and take a deep breath with this quick class by Diane Severino. She breaks down Ron Fletcher's Percussive Breathing as he had it in his book, Every Body is Beautiful. She shares the history of this method of breathing while demonstrating movements designed to open your chest and shoulders.
What You'll Need: No props needed


Read Full Transcript

This is the portion of Ron Fletcher's work called "Breathing In", me and the Ron Fletcher Company. Ron coined the phrase percussive breathing, and he broke it down in the book a little bit like this. We're gonna take our hands and place them on your rib cage underneath your chest. Elbows pointed out, stomach in, butt tight, magnets closed. We're gonna take one inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, making the shh sound.

And again, inhale through the nose. Now notice, and exhale, that we are not separating our hands on purpose. Inhale, this is the action of what the ribs do with the inhale, and then with the exhale, they close. The ribs kiss together. And again, inhale, big breath, open across the back too, your lungs are there, and exhale.

Excellent, you're wringing out all that stale air. We're gonna take that into two breaths now, and out shh. And feel the lungs opening to wring out the air. And hold the butt tight and the stomach in shh. One more for two inhales. Inhale.

This is percussive working with a movement. Three and shh Shh and again, try not to get your shoulders involved in this movement. It's all in the ribs, like a bellows opening up and the bell is closing into the fire and four, two, three, four, and exhale two, that's it, good. And four, two, yeah. Fill that good air X out, exhale the bad air out last for two.

Don't lose your magnets for an exhale. Two, three, and four. Now, if you're a beginner breather, you might find yourself yawning. You know why, Ron says it in the book. That's what you do in the morning.

The body wants to breathe. Nature knows what to do. So take a cleaning breath like this, but if you yawn in the morning, enjoy that. Well now we're gonna take the arms down to the side. Perfect alignment, have a string growing up through the crown of your head to the ceiling.

We're just gonna take an opening of the arms a little lower than the shoulders. As you inhale, feel those ribs, expanding with that movement and exhale down and take a breath through the nose to filter the air and exhale through the mouth, making that shush sound, and lift, and up, that's it and down. Now feel that air as a solid as you open the arms to the side and down. Remember in those quotes sections, the air is solid. The outside of the shoulders are opening it up. Exhale. Close those ribs, like you had the fingers on your chest, open to grow tall, like a big bird, down, grow out of the crown of the head.

I'm sort of cutting it into a pulse here. I didn't mean to but my body wanted to do it. Out, Two, Three. Last one butt and stomach working with the arms and lower squeeze those lungs to free them. Excellent.

You're gonna rock to your heels and turn out your toes. You're gonna take a step to the side. We're gonna round the arms like you're holding a beach ball. You're gonna take an inhale as you lift the arms up over the crown of the head, past the forehead, and exhale as you lower down. Same movement in the ribs.

Feel those lungs in the ribs, expanding as you lift and exhale lower, hold that nice big ball. And of course the arms are up and the shoulders stay down. Lower. One more like that. Lift and low exhale, good breathing, stomach in.

Now let's look at the fingers as we bring the arms up, we're gonna gaze on the diagonal. So we get the neck in there and follow the hands as you lower down with the breath, and feel and experience how the arms just work in the socket and exhale. This is the body awareness. You're conscious of what you're doing. I'm gonna bring the arms up over the crown of the head again.

You're holding your head on that diagonal. You're gonna bring the wrists together as you exhale, rotating the armpits to me, touch your fingertips. Inhale and exhale, lengthen the neck, don't collapse it. We will do that again and the arms. Good. The wrists touch the armpits open, and the fingertips, down.

And the body is growing out of the waist, and the wrist and the finger lengthen down.. We're gonna take that a little further. You're gonna inhale as you lift the arms up. Exhale, keep you gaze up. I know you're watching me, bring the arms all the way back behind you.

Take that exhale, cup your buttocks with your hands remind you to squeeze it bring the arms close together behind you. Bring the wrists to touch, then the fingertips you follow the head down to start. And a little quicker, lift, and the wrists. Way back and squeeze the butt, stomach in. Wrists, fingers, and down.

And lift, and the wrists, squeeze the butt, back. And wrists, and fingers, down and center the head. Now this, in the early part of Ron doing this work, he was very discouraged that people didn't have the mobility in the shoulder. As we all know, we all see that. This was the beginning of Ron, getting a little pissed and added the towel to the work, which will be a chapter Carrie is gonna re re produce in the new book.

Because this movement of the arm that we just did here, people would just... It's like, Hey, take this towel. Can you feel that? And that's sorta how it started. Alright we are gonna take that movement up again, way around to the back.

This time, you're gonna pretend to put your hands in your back imaginary pockets. Let's bring our head forward, so you can look at the camera. You're gonna squeeze the wings together, inhale and let them come to the side and inhale, open that chest, side. And you're working the joints of the shoulders you are working expansion and opening of the chest Inhale, that's it, and exit. And remember this works, the upper body posture, which is a great portrayal of people being out of shape or old.

And hold the elbows together. We're gonna pulse them back. Two breaths in, two out. Shh. Open the chest.

Shh. Keep your butt tight. Your stomach in. And four more. Two, three, hold four, hold that. I'm gonna take a little sidestep, keeping it there with your stomach in, butt tight. You're just gonna extend the arms as you inhale, there's opening the chest and bend them back to your pocket In half. That's it.

Get the arms up, and exhale, and inhale. Palms are down, and exhale, and keep the stomach in the butt, and exhale. And though I'm saying all this stuff to you, I am really saying it to myself. Because the movement starts with the thought. It's the brain and the body have to be a team.

Hold the elbow straight behind you. Chest up, make fist. knuckles to the floor. With a straight as arm as you can, criss-cross. This is great for the backs of your arms too.

See that's the percussive breathing. It's rhythmic. And it's going with the movement. Ron invented this, Joe started the breathing. Ron made it an event. Sometimes you might think the breathing's a little annoying because you can hear it.

But believe me, it gets beginners and students to really know when they're holding their breath. Don't do that, you'll die. And hold the cross, lace your hands together behind your waist. Lace your fingers and pull your arms straight. Gaze slightly up. That's it.

Pull. See how high you can get those arms. Don't tug. Just, you know, get them up. Let go of your hands. Keep them straight. Can you clap? Clap, clap, shh. Clap clap, open the chest. Shh. Shh. Shh.

And five, six, seven, hold. You're gonna rotate back, around to the wrist to the finger, lower the arms. Center the head. Arms at the side. Now think about that alignment. Just you take your nice quiet breaths there, and exhale.

We're centering the body. Are you feeling and thinking about your body alignment. Your ear over your shoulder. Over your hip bone. And if our feet were together, Your hip bone would be over your ankle.

And take the breath. Feel the armpits opening with the breath. And close, and one more. Open and close. Now we're gonna rock back on the heels.

As you bring your toes forward, the heels forward. squeeze the butt, toes forward. Heels to touch ankle, The magnets, toe joints, ankle bones. Inside the knees, upper thighs. They're pulled together.

The bolts from the outside of the hips, connecting to the lower pelvis. Where the pubic bone lines up with the tailbone. That's as low as you want to go to pull in those abdominal muscles. Working from there, the girdle strength is pulled up. The shoulders are down.

The head is forwarded and up in alignment with the spine. So there you are, ear over the shoulder. Shoulder over the hip, hip over the ankle. One inhale as you lift the arms in this perfect alignment and exhale down. And again, like a proud bird taking off.

And lower, two more. Feel the air on the outside of those arms, outside of the shoulders, like a solid. And last. Grow and lower. And thank you very much.

Pilates Legacy Project: Every Body is Beautiful


Wowww !!!! That felt amazing . Absolutely peaked my curiosity about the Fletcher method .Thank you !!
2 people like this.
I love your classes, Diane! I have got a DVD - a workshop  with you and Ron Fletcher, it is my treasure and inspiration. Thank you.
Christine S
1 person likes this.
Thank you Diane this class is such a gift.
Laura Maria
1 person likes this.
Wow! The breath work is so strong...I'm looking forward to the book
Cynthia G
Thank you.  That was so great. Have had a difficult covid day.  This was just what i needed.
Kristina C
Diane you are a delight. I will always do the reverence at the end with you! This is a wonderful warm-up to inspire my practice, thank you.
Loved loved this class. Loved the red color even more :)
1 person likes this.
Deborah Wasko The Fletcher method is amazing! I would encourage you to explore it more! Watch the other videos that include Diane, Kyria, Deborah and David! 
I just discovered this wonderfull Woman .I'm a BASI instructor( i was an injured dancer when i discover Pilates in Dance Academy in Austria, back in 2002,but not cause of bad teachers, all renowned and tested :)D), with a 38 years experience in dance as choreographer and performer, and i felt imediatly the connection with this woman. Just i fall in Love with Diane.I will be always proud to Be part of BASI family,but i want to Thank you so much ,i admire Fletcher's method,i saw online and i loved to do  last year the super cool Italian  Fletcher'Pilates  Studio class(my favourite after Basi),did it during the worst Corona moment, when APPI ( italian association of Professional Pilates ,made by the world recognised pilates Schools)organised a wondefull Pilates online Marathon with all the best teachers from each schools, so gratefull and spreading joy alonside the commitment.. I keep following you for sure.  Hugs from Italy
Julie Lloyd
Love love love this breathing class!! Thank you Diane. Your positive personality and beautiful teaching are very addictive. I will be following your classes from here on in. 
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