Special #1176

Pilates Breathing

5 min - Special


For those who are beginning in Pilates or anyone who needs a refresh in an essential exercise principle, Amy Havens talks about Pilates breathing and how to incorporate that into your workouts. By using all of the 6 Pilates principles, you can learn how to breathe correctly to help you connect into the strength of your abdominals.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Aug 15, 2013
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Hi, this is Amy and I'm here to kind of break down a little bit of discussion about [inaudible] breathing and just kind of inform a little bit about the style of breath that we choose to use with the [inaudible] technique that might be a little bit different than what you're used to when fitness in your fitness routine. But before I do that, I want to pull out is we worked with General six principles, general principles. One is breathing the number one, uh, control, concentration, centering fluid movement or flow and precision. And in all of the these exercises, whether they're on the mat or the equipment, we do try to implement all of those principles if not all of them, most of them in every exercise. But the very basis is the breath. And Joseph potties was incredibly interested in breathing and he had asthma as a child among other things. So breathing was huge for him. And there's a famous quote that I've read many times above all else, learn how to breathe correctly. And I really truly believe in that.

And so if you don't get anything out of this, maybe you'll take a little takeaway of the difference with [inaudible] breathing and normal breathing. So why we do this? It's purification, oxygenation, circulation. We want a lot of blood flow. We want to clean our blood, get lots of body heat. And a lot of the ways to do that is through the breathing. Uh, it doesn't have to be loud, it doesn't have to be vigorous. But sometimes in our classes you'll hear us breathing loud. So that kind of gets us motivated and energized, uh, and also sets a rhythm.

But what I've got here is a bag of rice. It's just a little demonstration for us. And I'm going to have, I'm going to start this way. So I'm going to put my hands right on the side of my rib cage up high by the side of my lungs basically. And I'm going to push him into my body a little bit, put it, push in. Now pull out his breathing is really intended to expand and contract through the whole of the torso. Not just focusing on the abdominals, but the oblique muscles, which are abdominals, but the intercostals, which are the ribs, which go all the way around our upper trunk.

So if I have my hands here and try to expand into my hands, there is a stretching that takes place and then the exhale is the contraction. So [inaudible] is the expansion and the contraction in all directions really. But primarily I'm thinking right now sideways [inaudible] and also into my back, pull out. His breathing is not belly puffing up and down or forward and back, which would look something like this. And this is where the bad rice comes in handy.

I'm going to set it on my tummy just as a visual aid really. And if I do a different kind of reading, might look like this and you can see that I'm, I'm puffing, I call it puffing my belly. And the reason why we want to do that is it might even cause a little arch in the back or rock the spine and destabilized. So one, another layer of the breathing or principle of the breathing is to condition the deep abdominal muscles which control the spine and stabilize through the lower trunk, big principal employees as well as the stabilization. So if I avoid the belly poofing when I breathe, I actually have to find and feel and connect into internal muscles inside my abdominal region. And now can I try to breathe in and out without puffing this [inaudible], which takes another principle known as concentration.

I have to really think about not rising through that cavity there. So you might even put your hands back up on the side of the ribs and try to breathe sideways. [inaudible] so the inhale is the expansion and the exhale is the contraction. Yeah. All right, so kind of let's play around with that a little bit. So I'm going to try to do is hold ring one leg up.

I'm just going to raise my sigh up and you actually can even relax my foot a little bit and try to hold that leg up until I'm, we'll do three breath cycles in and out without puffing. [inaudible] and again, the exhalation is the contraction where I want to have you feel the deep abdominal muscles going to work to stabilize so that I don't re this, uh, up. And if I do my other leg [inaudible] [inaudible] Alrighty. And I'm going to bring both legs up for a minute. Now this takes a lot more strength within the core of the body to hold the weight of both legs up. And then I want to work on controlling this section of me while I breathe and try to feel, feel like I'm breathing sideways again. And I definitely am feeling muscles in my abdominal.

So it's a great way to get at your abs just by learning how to breathe. [inaudible] now I'm gonna add one more layer to this, and that's going to be some additional movement with the arms. In fact, I'll put the feedback down. And so I'm going to Duke somewhat of a vigorous motion up and down. And you'll see this in the classical exercise known as the 100 or the breathing 100 and so if I weren't working on that concept there of the control and the abdominals, it could get a little gyrated and kind of out of control there. So by holding this weight down and feeling my abdominals, I'm gonna focus on that side to side breathing.

I am feeling the center of my body and I am feeling my body warming up, meaning my blood is pumping, I feel the heat really. I don't feel my blood pumping so much as I feel hot. I'm feeling like I'm getting heated up and no better way to start a warm up of any exercise regime then to warm yourself up and get your body warm and your blood warm. And so this is the classical exercise known as the 100 there are 100 beats. There's a five inhale.

Yeah. And [inaudible] sales three, four, five, three, four, five, and so on and so on until you get to 100 so that's just one example. One small example of the Peloton is breathing a, you'll see that in every exercise. Sometimes there's a very direct inhale in a certain exercise for a very specific exhale in a certain movement. And then again, is to connect into the strength of your abdominals and the, uh, safety and security of your spine. So hope you've learned a little bit, a little takeaway. When in doubt, learn how to breathe correctly. Thank you.


Love this refresher...great reminders ... Breathe east /west = stable spine + connection to abs! Thank you!
Thank you Jennifer! This little segment should have been labeled part #1 and part #2 because next I'll talk about posterior breathing too! :)
Nice cueing and visuals-simple and easy-Looking forward to the posterior part :)
Thank you Debbie!!
Thank you Amy - really enjoyed the visual!! This will be an excellent aid that I can use in a credit class that I just began teaching at a Jr College - never have taught in this environment before - and only 2 of 15 students have done pilates! My theme for the semester course is the 6 principles of pilates!! Would welcome any other suggestions! I have also enjoyed all of your other short segments that you have done as well!
Mary.....thank you! I give credit to Karen Sanzo for the bag of rice prop! I've used light hand weights before to send the same message but the rice is very easy to understand. I think your Jr. College students are in for a great semester with you! I have lots of suggestions to offer and would be happy to dialogue over email with you...please contact me if you'd like. :) Karen Sanzo also has some incredible classes up on the site and I know you'll find everything she has to say very useful. Let me know how things are going with your students!
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Thank you Amy , that has been one of the best explanations of the breath I have seen . I am going to try that with my next beginner group , especially adding the leg raise sequence, thanks so much .
Hi Jacqueline, thank you for commenting. This is approachable for beginners, yes, and of course------this is one way of explaining our breathing! I didn't go into much (if at all) discussion of diaphragmatic detail, direction of the muscle during respiration etc. Perhaps I can do a follow up because there is so much interplay between the diaphragm muscle, deep abdominal muscles and viscera. Perhaps it's time for a follow up...."now that we've seen a basic look at Pilates breathing, let's dive a little deeper". :) Thanks again for taking the time to comment!!

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