Improve Mobility with Pilates Breathing

Improve Mobility with Pilates Breathing

Yes, that’s correct!

You cannot have true mobility in your spine, and in fact in any of your joints without effective breathing! Really? Yes, really!!!

How does Pilates breathing improve mobility?

The first clue in answering that question comes from looking at some of the common reasons that joints (including the joints in your spine) lose mobility.


Each joint in your body has a certain range of movement. That range of movement is different for each joint, for instance the shoulder joint has a big circular range, but the elbow joint only moves in one direction.

Unless you move each joint through it’s full range, it can get stiff and start to lose it’s integrity and start to degenerate or worse…get injured.


Poor posture is essentially, an imbalance in how your muscles keep your body upright. This can put extra stress and pressure on joints, which then restricts the range of movement.

If you have a tight, stiff upper back “hump”, it will be very challenging to have a full functional range of movement in your shoulder joint. So not only have you lost mobility in the spine, but that lose has contributed to a stiff shoulder joint.


Tense and tight muscles happen for many reasons. Stress, lack of movement, lack of stretching, lots of physical activity without stretching, poor posture, poor core strength…and the list goes on.

When the muscles around a joint are tight, they restrict its movement. And we know that when a joint isn’t able to move through its full range, it can end up compromised and potentially with injury or degeneration.

Where does Pilates breathing fit in to all of this?


Pilates breathing is designed to help your mind and muscles relax and release tension. It also helps to energise the entire body with increased blood flow and effective use of the lungs and the deep breathing muscles.

Once the mind and muscles have relaxed, the capacity for bigger, more flowing movements of the joints can happen. And it just feels so good to be tension free!!


Without control of the breath, the deep postural muscles don’t get activated in an effective manner and, yes, you can get the bigger core strength muscles strong without Pilates breathing, but that doesn’t create structural integrity in the body.

And you miss out on all the essential and amazing benefits of great posture and having a body free from daily aches and pains.  


Pilates breathing also stretches and releases tension from the spine and rib cage, making it easier to move your body and create flowing, precise movement. The sense of freedom this creates in the body is one of the main reasons people love Pilates!  

What is Pilates Breathing?

It is called “lateral” or “ribcage” breathing. You breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. There are many breath patterns in Pilates that challenge your breathing ability and some can be quite advanced. But in the beginning, it’s all about getting the ribs involved in breathing.

How do you master the Pilates breathing technique?

It can be a bit tricky to wrap your head around in the beginning, so the first step is to be taught by a Pilates professional. If you’re new to pilates, it’s important to get personal instruction and have the breathing technique reinforced continuously.

Then you need to realise that the breath is what facilitates movement and always give the principle of breathing attention and awareness, no matter what the exercise is. And then…relax!!! As soon as your body gets tense, your breath will either stop or not be as effective. Holding your breath creates tension in the body and tension is the enemy of movement…even when you are doing a challenging exercise like a push up.

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