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In Through the Nose, Out Through the Mouth

Posted Aug 24 2008 9:44pm

Have you ever wondered how to breathe in pilates?

If you've ever taken a yoga class, you know there is a specific way of breathing that enhances the whole experience of yoga called ujayi breath. This is an audible way of breathing, with the exhale coming from the back of your throat, sounding like you're drinking out of the bottom of a glass with a straw. I love breathing like this in yoga, it feels so good and really centers me. Pilates breathing, however, is much different.

In other posts, I've written about how you can inhale up into your upper back and use your exhale to help deepen your abdominals. But what about your nose and your mouth? What part do they play in the pilates breath?

There are a few different schools of thought on this one. The way I was taught, and the way I think is best, is: breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. This way, you're clearing both passageways.

The inhale through your nose can help you make the connection of inhaling into the lungs and upper back, so you can find expansion. The exhale through your mouth can help you to directly connect into your abdominals.

The breathing in pilates is not audible, as in yoga. You should be able to hear yourself actually breathing, but not by making a purposeful sound. You might find that breathing out through your mouth has a "blowing wind" sound to it, and that's cool. You should be able to hear that, and as I teacher, I like to hear that so I know that you are really breathing!

To help yourself exhale properly, pretend you're outside on a beautiful summer day... blowing on a dandelion puff. Read more!

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