‘Pilates? Isn’t that just breathing and stuff?’
This is often what I get asked when I meet someone who hasn’t tried Pilates. The short answer is NO, it’s not just breathing!
But the technique of breathing we use in Pilates is unique, fundamental to the work, and is used in every exercise you undertake. So a fully trained Pilates professional will always teach you the breathing first before you start the exercises. However that’s not to say you will be lying down breathing for your hour long session, far from it, but if you are to learn the method correctly, concentration and breath control are key, as is the mindset of being open to trying it, and having the patience to learn it. Pilates is an investment in your body not a quick fix so think of it that way.
For example, I’ve been training a professional singer for two years now who came to me originally looking for the aesthetic benefits of Pilates for their live shows- long, lean and toned muscles, along with increased stamina. Apart from losing just over 10lbs and getting the lean toned appearance they wanted, they also noticed a significant improvement in the ability to hold their notes longer as they had more breath control. In Pilates we teach a particular type of breathing that works the intercostal muscles (those attached to the ribcage) and this seems to have beneficial effects not only for singers but those with asthma, upper body tension or just clients who generally need stress relief along with physical exercise.
The technique of breathing we use takes a few lessons to grasp but once you have it, you can use it anywhere, anytime- I even have clients who use the technique when they are weight training in the gym! So yes Pilates does involve breathing but that’s just the beginning………
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