Pilates Breathing

Pilates Breathing 

Joseph Pilates was asthmatic and therefore was understandably focused on proper breathing. He advocated inhalations that filed the lungs entirely and exhalations that emptied the lungs to the very bottom, cleaning the bloodstream and purifying the body of toxins. The Pilates method as performed today follows a simple breathing technique known as lateral breathing.

Your lungs lie nestled without our rib cage. As a general rule, women are upper chest breathers, elevating your shoulders and your upper body with each breath. Men tend to be more diaphragmatic breathers, filling their belly with each breath.

In Pilates, you should practise lateral breathing. This technique allows you to hold the abdominals gently and simultaneously keep your upper body relaxed. Before you embark up a Pilates programme, take a few minutes to practising your lateral breathing

Lateral breathing.

  1. Actively exhale, collapsing the ribs as far as possible and feeling the sides of your rib care coming together.
  2. Breathe in, allowing your ribs to push outwards, laterally, into your hands without expanding your belly.

Try this breathing exercise:

  • Align yourself in standing or seated with your feet hip-distance,
  • your pelvis in neutral,
  • your shoulders down,
  • place your hands on your ribcage with your hands spread across your ribs.

Take a  deep breath in through the nose and allow the air to slowly expand and fill up your lungs in the ribcage (not the abdomen).

Imagine you’re creating a little space in between each rib as the air comes into the thoracic (ribcage) cavity.


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Try and get your fingers to separate or move apart from one another on this wide in breath. Now, breathe out through the mouth slowly, as though you’re blowing out through a straw, letting your fingers touch once again.

Repeat this 4 or 5 times.

DON’T let the chest rise, the rib cage lift (it’s widening laterally, not lifting) or your shoulders to come up towards your ears.

When you are breathing well – notice how are you feeling

A little more refreshed?Perhaps more open through the back?

Do you feel a little more refreshed?

Perhaps more open through the back?

Did you manage to keep your shoulders relaxed?

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Find out what others have to say about Adele’s Pilates…

John's driving experience at Pecorama

Adele accepts that Pilates is much more of a challenge for men (something to do with not having to make an effort with tummy after childbirth?) but she makes every allowance for this and is very encouraging of her male attendees. Adele’s classes are the sole reason why I have not seized up altogether. I moan to myself, and anyone else who will listen, before each Pilates class but in truth I feel much better at the end. Adele is forever supportive, consistently professional and amazingly cheerful at every class. It is an hour well spent away from whatever else is going on in your world. (And where else would you pay but £7 for an hour to lay on the floor with a whole loan of lovely women!)

Unlike rich dining, copious drinking and sex (well at least for someone my age) Pilates is one activity where one feels better afterwards than before. Adele is very professional and her classes really are enjoyable, the hour just slips by. A small word of warning to people thinking of joining one of Adele’s classes; numbers are not her strongest skill. An exercise that comprise “a left” and “a right” counts as one rather than two! When she says that there are ten more moves to do, there will be at least eleven and fourteen is not unknown! When very occasionally there needs to be a change of venue, the [prudent][perfect] attendee should always double-check!

John – Topsham 25th November 2016


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