One of the six principles of Pilates. Breath is used to calm the mind, bring warmth and awareness into the body, engage the core and drive movement. A strong breathing diaphragm is essential to a strong core. Most often in Pilates, the exhale is used to power the core through an exercise. You can also connect to the breath on its own to enjoy the benefits of stress-relief and relaxation.
The first mat exercise is the One Hundred. The goal is deep breathing.
The breath pattern of the One Hundred is to inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. This pattern can change to create challenge in the One Hundred: inhale for 2, exhale for 8. This exercise and breath engages and warms the core very quickly to prepare you for your practice.
The following technique could be performed lying down in a comfortable position or even seated in a way that allows the spine to be lengthened:
Start with eyes closed and notice yourself breathing. Where do you feel the breath move. Slowly inhale without adding any unnecessary tension to the face or body and exhale. Practice this for several rounds and then gradually extend the exhale by 2-3 counts. You are now working on breath capacity and strengthening of the diaphragm.
Perform this exercise daily and enjoy the benefits!