Did you know that breathing is directly related to our skeletal alignment as nearly every muscle that we use for breathing also has an effect on our posture?
This is one of the reasons why as Pilates teachers we will often encourage you to work with certain breath patterns as you move.
Actually as we exhale our abdominal muscles naturally have to go to work to make this happen (see even if you think you don't have any abs, you do!).
This action of the abdominal muscles working combined with you actively drawing your navel gently to your spine has the positive effect of creating a stable spine.
It is this stable spine that we need for many of the exercises to be carried out correctly and safely. For example when you are lying on your back with both knees bent up in what we call a 'double knee fold', to do what we call toe dipping, the challenge is to lower one leg to the floor without the spine arching- to be able to do this you will need a stable
spine, so lower the leg on an exhale.
When you breathe in its your diaphragm that does lots of the work, it presses on the abdominals and creates a pressure which naturally helps to keep the pelvis and lower spine (lumbar) areas stable. So when you want to stop the pelvis area from changing position an inhale is always useful...
A good example of this is being back in that double knee fold position doing toe dipping as I mentioned earlier. As you raise the leg back up to your start position, doing this on an inhale will avoid the pelvis tilting and keep it in what we call 'neutral'... You see it's all for a reason!
Although if you are a beginner, try not to panic too much about getting the breath correct, it will come with time and practice. Not forgetting all the list of other benefits good breathing patterns have on the body, but that's a post for another day ....
To learn more about correct breathing patterns join me for a private pilates class, tailored especially to you.