This Pilates Teacher Is Simply & Quietly Starting a Revolution!
I’m reprinting this thought-provoking article by Bob Hannum appearing in one of the best Pilates websites, PilatesIntel.com. In fact, the creator of PilatesIntel recently told me that Bob’s article has had the most hits of any of his many highly regarded articles that have been on his site over the years! I highly recommend signing up for the weekly articles published on PilatesIntel – it seems to attract the best writers and thinkers in the Pilates world today.
Bob’s talking about an entirely new way to teach Pilates which is probably the way it was originally taught by Joe himself! Well written – you’ll enjoy it even if you disagree!
Read and be sure to share it – every Pilates teacher and student NEEDS to hear it and take it to heart!
Pilates Breathing – What Is It, How To Do It &…Wait Just a Minute!
There Is No Pilates Breathing!I know what you’re thinking. I must be nuts! Joe Pilates emphasized breathing above all else as found in his books and films, and as told by Pilates Elders. But stay with me a moment, because as surprising as it sounds, I think you’ll agree!
The Cardinal PrincipleBreathing was so important to Joseph Pilates that a strong argument can be made that breathing was his MOST important principle. After all there’s the famous line from his book, Return to Life Through Contrology, “…above all, learn how to breathe correctly.”(p.13) And in a recent interview with the ‘Pilates Elder’ Mary Bowen, she remembers hearing Joe’s words resounding throughout his studio like a broken record “In d’air! Out d’air!” in his thick German accent.But nowhere in surviving films do we see Joe or Clara teaching a breathing technique. Patterns yes – wonderful breathing patterns for each exercise – but no techniques. Mary Bowen confirms that he never mentioned one in all the years she practiced weekly in his studio. Yes, he preferred inhaling through the nose, but never made it a rule, and he often encouraged a complete exhale to foster a fuller inhale, but never insisted upon it.So where have all our Pilates breathing methods come from? Lateral breathing, percussive breathing, ocean breathing and so many more described in books and on Youtube? More importantly, are they necessary?
Brief History of Pilates Breathing
We know that some of Joe’s students introduced special breathing techniques after he died. Most notably Ron Fletcher introduced ‘percussive breathing’ also known as ‘active breathing’ – characterized by short and repeated hissing sounds on the exhale. Now where the heck did this come from? Well, Ron was among the most advanced of Joe’s students, and I believe Joe shared a breathing technique he learned in his body-building days. It’s common not only to body-building but also to high-altitude climbing and deep-sea diving. It’s breathing forcefully and with some resistance on the exhale. Sounds complex but it’s actually not, and anyone can see it in action today in any weight room in any gym. Research confirms that it increases the body’s absorption of oxygen. I believe Joe shared this with Ron not as an essential or even important tool but rather as simply a way to get more out of a workout.OK but what about the most common of all our Pilates breathing methods, ‘lateral breathing?’ Here’s another interesting story….