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NEW Island Series - Ibiza Pilates - Correct Breathing

NEW for the Winter Sports section is a fortnightly Pilates column by accomplished Master Instructor Jacky Croad. This week, Correct Breathing.

Breathing, in addition to being vital for human life, is one of the fundamental principles of Pilates.

Ibiza pilates teaches you to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. With every inhalation, the ribs expand to the sides and into the back. On the exhalations, the abdominal muscles are pulled in tight toward the body's center (the powerhouse). This technique is called lateral breathing because of the way your ribs expand and contract to the sides and back.

Correct breathing helps prepare the body for movement and exercise, while also protecting the muscles of the back and the surrounding muscles of the spine.

Inhale as you expand and lengthen the body and exhale as you pull the navel towards the spine.


This exercise requires an exercise band, or you can simply place your hands on your ribcage.

1- Stand with correct posture. Wrap the exercise band around the lower portion of your ribcage and tie it snugly at the front of your chest.

2- As you inhale through your nose, bring your awareness to your back and the sides of your ribcage, where your lungs are located. Imagine your lungs are balloons, gently swelling with air on your inhalation. You should feel the band (or palms if using hands) tightening as the sides and back of your ribs expand and widen.

3- Let your mouth drop open softly as you exhale through your mouth, but do not puff your cheeks or tighten your lips. As you exhale, imagine the air is being squeezed out from the bottom of your lungs. You should feel the band loosening (or hands) slightly as your ribs gently compress. Exhale fully, expelling all of the air from your lungs. Engage your abdominal muscles as you exhale.

4- Continue breathing laterally. Feel your ribcage expanding outward and back on your inhalations. Exhale fully with each breath, allowing your ribcage to gently contract. Breathe with awareness and focus.

Ibiza Pilates Tips:

Correct breathing will help you maintain your focus, posture, and a calm mind during your Pilates workout and day to day life. Keep the following information in mind when you're practicing.

Do not hold your breath when performing Pilates exercises.

Do not force your inhalations. Your in-breath should feel comfortably full, not stuffed.

Keep your upper body steady and relaxed as you breathe. Do not allow your shoulders to rise when you inhale or to be pulled down when you exhale. The only movement should be in the lateral expansion of your ribcage.

Make sure you have correct posture.

Relax your neck and jaw.

Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

Exhale fully, expelling all of the air from your lungs.

Pull your navel to your spine on your exhalations, engaging your abdominal muscles.

Ibiza Pilates recommends this exercise also for relaxation and calming of the mind. Lay on your back with knees bent and hands on your abdomen. This is the safest position for your spine! Close your eyes and try the breathing making sure to relax the pelvis.

If you're new to Pilates, it might sound complicated and take some time to get used to. Once your breathing improves you will notice a huge difference with your sleep, exercise and general well being.

Author of the Ibiza Pilates Series, Jacky Croad of Ibiza Pilates UK offers quality reformer and matwork Pilates at her private and friendly studio in Santa Gertrudis town. Jacky can also travel to your villa/yacht and teach up to 7 clients with all equipment. Call direct on 0034 636 479 159 or see website link above for more details.

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