Breathing is the essence and most important part when practising the Pilates method, even so more when done correctly! During a Pilates session a specific breathing pattern is assigned to each exercise, which purposely serves as a way to coordinate and assist correct movement, proper posture, correct recruitment of muscles, gaining a flowing and natural movement throughout. For a beginner in Pilates this may all sound overwhelming, but through practise and time, this is achievable and can be accomplished, gaining great benefits to the body as a whole. Unfortunately, people are not aware that they could just be breathing with only the half of the lung capacity that they could, something in which Pilates promotes, inhaling deeply and exhaling fully. Breathing in this manner leads to better circulation of oxygen in the blood system, maximizes the body’s ability to release tension, use the fullest of your lung capacity and diaphragm which is a muscle and few people are aware.  Furthermore, learning the art of controlling your body through breathing can enable you to relax, rejuvenate and connect with the inner self, letting go of stress, both mentally and physically.



IT is called “LATERAL THORACIC BREATHING”. I could go all scientific to explain, but I would rather explain in very simple terms. First, in Pilates we breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth.  Breaking down the rest, lateral means to the sides and thoracic is involving expansion of the thorax, elevating the ribs. Bringing it all as one during the inhalation, the ribs move upward and outward like the handle of a bucket. During the exhalation the diaphragm relaxes and ascends, and the abdominal muscles are pulled in tight towards the body’s centre.


Different visuals is a powerful tool to help clients connect mind to body, and assist in the task of breathing in the right way, imagery such as that of wearing a corset which helps in the exhalation and drawing the abdominal muscles closer to your centre, as the image gives the feeling of narrowing your waist and a corset is worn around your mid-section.


Please view below the video for further explanation.

By Melanie Mantsch

Pilates Instructor


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