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What is the breathing rule for Pilates?

Views: 65654     Author: raetin     Publish Time: 2023-12-29      Origin: raetin

In Pilates, a key aspect of the practice is mindful and controlled breathing. The general breathing rule in Pilates is often referred to as "lateral thoracic breathing" or "lateral breathing." Here's an explanation of this breathing technique:

Pilates reformer (70)


  1. Lateral Thoracic Breathing:

    • Pilates typically emphasizes breathing into the sides and back of the ribcage rather than breathing deeply into the chest or belly.

    • The idea is to engage the intercostal muscles (muscles between the ribs) and promote greater ribcage mobility.

    • As you inhale, imagine expanding your ribcage laterally, feeling the ribs move outward to the sides.

    • Exhale with control, engaging the abdominal muscles to assist in the expulsion of air.

  2. Coordination with Movement:

    • In Pilates, breath and movement are coordinated. The goal is to synchronize the breath with the specific movements of each exercise.

    • Typically, inhale during the preparatory phase or a movement that opens the body, and exhale during the exertion or a movement that contracts the muscles.

    • For example, when performing a Pilates exercise that involves spinal flexion, like the Hundred, you may inhale to prepare and exhale as you lift your head and shoulders off the mat.

      Pilates reformer (45)

  3. Maintaining a Continuous Flow:

    • Pilates often encourages a continuous and flowing breath, avoiding breath-holding or forced breathing.

    • The breath should be steady and controlled, allowing for a sense of relaxation and focus.

  4. Engaging the Transverse Abdominis:

    • Throughout the breath cycle, there is an emphasis on engaging the transverse abdominis, the deep abdominal muscle that acts like a corset around the waist.

    • This engagement helps stabilize the core and supports the spine during movements.

Remember that while lateral thoracic breathing is a common guideline, individual instructors and styles of Pilates may have variations in their approach to breathing. It's advisable to follow the specific instructions provided by your Pilates instructor, as they may tailor the breathing cues to the particular exercises and goals of the session. Developing awareness of your breath in Pilates can enhance the effectiveness of the exercises and contribute to a mindful and connected practice.


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