Breathing is essential to life. It is also essential for getting the most benefit out of exercise, many of us shallow breath, or don’t fully expel the air from our lungs, meaning we never get a proper breath of fresh air.

Breathing better helps improve your circulation, rids your body of toxins and enables deeper concentration as well as a nice calming effect.

Breathing happens automatically we don’t have to thin about it or focus on it your body just does it. However during Pilates we want breathing to become conscious, we want you to think about the way and the rate you are breathing, using breath patterns helps you to focus your mind, can inhibit stress and is said to relax. During most exercises it will be said to breathe out when the spine is in flexion and breathe in when it is in extension. Sometimes this is changed to make exercises more challenging or for specific exercises.

Lateral or intercostal breathing looks to increase the size of the rib cage whilst maintain control of the core muscles during certain Pilates exercises. In Pilates we use set breath patterns for three main reasons:

  1. To stop you from holding your breath during greater efforts, holding your breath creates unnecessary muscle tension and dangerous increase in blood pressure.
  2. To help you recruit certain muscles for example a big inhale helps you recruit deeper into your transversus abdominus.
  3. Creating a breath pattern gives a rhythm to exercises and can help you focus on slowing your speed and working on the quality of the movements.

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