Pilates and the power of BREATH
Joseph Pilates said, ‘Breathing is the first act of life. Our very life depends on it. Millions have never learned to master the art of correct breathing’. as published in Professional Fitness UK, Spring 2008
Why do we need to breathe?
All cells in your body require oxygen. Without it, they can’t move, build, reproduce and turn food into energy. You get oxygen from breathing in air which your blood circulates to all parts of your body. Like fuel for your car, proper breathing ensures that enough oxygen flows to fuel muscle action.
Breathing in Pilates
The STOTT PILATES® breath pattern involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth with slightly pursed lips. This technique facilitates full expiration and should allow the release of unnecessary tension in the body, particularly in the neck and shoulder areas. It encourages breathing into the lower ribs three dimensionally. During inhalation, we focus on expanding the ribcage sideways and backwards. During exhalation, we cue the activation of the deep support muscles by engaging the transversus abdominis first and then the oblique abdominals. Proper alignment of your body, having all your bones in the correct place, allows the diaphragm to move freely and uninterrupted. Pilates restores that neutral alignment and helps you get strong enough to maintain it.
Conscious breath is a powerful tool to accentuate movement, to fuel the body for strength and stability, or even to calm anxious nerves in moments of high stress. Learning how to breathe properly is one of the benefits of Pilates which will enhance your mind and body connection, allowing you to reap the full benefits of any physical activity.