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Feb 02

Tips in Finding your Powerhouse and the Pilates Breathe

The most important concepts to remember in Pilates is to ALWAYS ENGAGE YOUR POWERHOUSE (PH) and BREATHE.

What is your Powerhouse (PH)? Your lower abs, lower back, inner and outer thighs and your buttocks.  By engaging your PH, you protect and support your lower back.

How do you engage or contract your PH, or more specifically, how do you make that abdominal connection?
First, scoop or deepen your lower abs in and up, working against gravity to pull up and away from your hips.
Then, think lengthen your spine to grow taller; elongate your torso.  This gives you that corset or the feeling of wearing a girdle.

Here’s a visual: Imagine there is a big metal snap and a thick zipper that begin 2 inches below your navel.  First, connect that snap from the front of your body right into the inside of your low spine.  Then keep that snap shut and pull that zipper up your abdominals and inside of your spine.  The moment you want to let it go, don’t….do it again.

How do you breathe properly in Pilates?
In Pilates, we breathe laterally by expanding the rib cage, breathing into the sides of your body and back while still engaging your abs. Inhale through the nose to bring fresh oxygen to your body and exhale through the mouth to rid the body of waste. Don’t hold your breath! Pilates breathe supports, elongates and stabilizes your spine.



Here’s a visual: Imagine your ribcage is an accordion.  With each inhale, the accordion expands outward.  With each exhalation, imagine it drawing closed.  Begin to concentrate on lengthening your exhalation so it is 2 or 3 times longer than your inhalation; draw your navel deeper as you exhale.  The more you exhale, the more your body has to inhale.

At no point should you allow your abs to expand or relax while you breathe.  Always think, “Pull your abs in and up and breathe into the sides of your rib cage and  back.”

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