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Don’t Hold Your Breath


In our fast paced world, many of us take the simple act of breathing for granted. We assume that since it is an involuntary movement (our body will naturally do it to keep us alive), there is no need to think about it.

However, bringing awareness to your breath is a critical component of Pilates. When you inhale and exhale during an exercise can completely change the movement in your body. And, while there are many opinions on when to breathe, the most important thing is that you do BREATHE!

Often, we hold tension in our body, conscious or unconscious by holding our breath. Usually at a difficult point in a movement, we will pause the breath. I typically see this during the “roll-up”, a mat exercise where you start laying flat on the mat and roll up to a sitting, forward stretch.

Next time you are in Pilates class, bring awareness to your breathing patterns. Try to breathe through the hard part of the movement, allowing tension to leave your body. You will feel more connected to the exercise, less stiff, and more in control of your movements.

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.

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