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Principles of Pilates (1) – Breathing

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Principles of Pilates (1) Breathing

Principles of Pilates are an important part of your workout so ensure you arrive in class in good time so you don’t have to rush through the Principles or worse miss them completely! The five Principles of Pilates work together to create an intelligent form of exercise and ensures safety and effectiveness for you, the Pilates practitioner.  The Principles give you awareness of how your body moves and functions developing your skill at the movements and giving you mindfulness, focus and control and greater benefit from your sessions.

The first Principle is breathing!  Working with correct breathing relaxes the muscles and helps you avoid tension.  Breathe into your side and back ribs – this oxygenates the blood more efficiently – through the nostrils and exhale through a lightly pursed lip as though blowing out a candle.  This method of breathing activate the deep abdominal muscles and encourages the subtle connection to those (often underused) pelvic floor muscles.  An inhalation may assist you to lengthen the spine during your Pilates workout and an exhalation may be used to recruit the deep abdominal muscles and support the lumbar spine.  To test this, you could sit on your mat with your knees bent in front of you.  Inhale into your back and side ribs and exhale through lightly pursed lips.  Flex forward sequentially through the spine to rest the body on your legs.  Stay with that breath for a full round of breath – a breath in and a breath out.  On your second exhalation restore the spine sequentially to its start position. Notice if you feel more relaxed and focused and stay with this method of breathing throughout your Pilates practice whether in a seated, lying down or standing position.

Breathing - start position

Breathing – start position

 

Breathing - flexed forward over bent knees

Breathing – flexed forward over bent knees

 

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