Pilates breathing is not just a normal simple breath, or is it just a single technique. Breathing in Pilates is an integral part of the exercise, and requires a minimum of two kinds of breathing to facilitate the different exercise forms.
The first breathing technique you need to learn in Pilates is the diaphragmatic breathing. This breathing starts deep in your belly, right under the bottom of the ribs where your diaphragm muscles sits. For proper diaphragmatic breathing you will start the breath from the bottom, feeling your diaphragm pulling down, expanding your lungs. Allow your lungs to start filling with air from the top. You can then feel as your lungs inflate all the way to the bottom. Make sure to breathe very deeply.
The deep breath of this form of Pilates breathing helps fully oxygenate the blood, and expels waste out of your body. Your body is constantly producing waste gases which are carried from your body’s cells by the blood. When the blood reaches the lungs it purges the waste products, which are then expelled by the lungs. If you are not breathing deeply, and exhaling completely, you do not expel all of the poisonous gases from your body. The same type of deep breathing has been shown to help with blood pressure, lowering stress, and aiding in reaching a deep meditative state.
The second type of Pilates breathing is called lateral breathing. Lateral breathing is used during your abdominal exercises, and other motions which require your abdominal muscles to be drawn in tightly, and held for support of the spine. As you draw in your lateral breath, instead of focusing on the downward filling of your lungs, work on expanding your rib cage outwards to the sides, and forward and back. Your ribcage is expanding in all four directions to allow for the filling of your lungs, while not being pulled deeply into the belly.
Many people experience an uncomfortable feeling in their lower lungs when they first start working with these two forms of breathing. This is not anything to be worried about, it is simply the fact you have not been inflating the lower lobes of your lungs on a regular basis. By learning to use your entire lung capacity you improve your bodies ability to utilize oxygen and to clear itself of the waste it produces. Simply adopting the Pilates breathing methods can have you feeling more energetic and more relaxed. When combined with the exercise routines the results can be quite wonderful.
There is one more advantage to the Pilates breathing in connection with the exercise. It helps to create a strong foundation and timing for your routines. You move with your breathing. You inhale deeply during one motion of your exercise, and then exhale completely during the return motion. Combining your breathing with the exercise helps you to get deeper movement into the abdomen and core of your body, enhancing the exercises results. Take time to learn proper breathing, you will love the results.