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The Pilates Principles – Breathing

Of all of the 6 principles of Pilates, Breathing sits at the foundation and is our most essential pursuit when practicing Pilates.

Joseph Pilates recognized the importance of proper breathing for optimal well-being – body, mind and spirit. The act of fully exhaling cleanses the body of toxins and inhaling brings in the good stuff.


In order to fully detox and replenish, the breathing mechanism of the body has to work efficiently. One way we can help this is to be sure our body is muscularly balanced. The muscles around our ribcage and spine must be flexible and strong – no over-tight muscles to constrict movement of the muscles used to create expansion and compression.

Each exercise in the Pilates method is designed to help restore and improve good breathing by changing muscles from tight and weak to strong and flexible.


At Live Life Moving, we emphasize that we don’t “train the core” – we train proper breathing first.

You may have heard often to “brace your core” or “grip your abdominals”.  While this may be helpful in exercises using much heaver weight, when working on improving the functional movement of the body, this can actually create imbalances and get in the way of creating long-lasting change and sustainable fitness.

The Pilates exercises strengthen the core by syncing movement with full breathing.  With a focus on full, “rib-cage” breathing, breathing into the sides and back of the ribs,  we naturally activate the deep core muscles, often missed when gripping or bracing.  When these deep core muscles are strong, your body can move with more efficiency and range, getting you stronger faster and keeping you strong for the rest of your life.


The ability to breath in an exercise is also helps you know when to progress in the Pilates method. Joseph Pilates wanted you to be able to fully breathe while performing your exercises. If you CAN’T full breath in an exercise, you may need to modify the exercise so you CAN breathe or even take an exercise out until you are ready for it. Of course, repetition is the key here – in order to learn to breathe in the exercises you have to do them on a regular basis.


Want to create a foundation of how to breath and move?  Visit Live Life Moving’s YouTube channel and view the playlist – Get Moving and Breathing with Pre-Pilates!  You’ll learn the mechanics of breathing, how to practice breathing and simple exercise to get you moving and breathing at the same time.

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