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Pilates Breathing Cues, with Raphael Bender and Cloe Bunter

Episode 36:

Pilates Breathing Cues

On the show today we’re focusing on Pilates breathing, whether a ‘correct’ breathing pattern is really a thing, and if we should be cueing it if it is. Joseph Pilates wrote a book before his death called Your Health, and we read through some of the wackier passages about forced exhalation and examine how his ideas fit with what needs to happen biomechanically when we breathe. We also discuss the effect that Pilates breathing cues have on motor learning, and give a comprehensive example of when it is useful to zoom in on how a client breathes concerning pain during movement.

What You Will Learn:

  • If Pilates breathing cues have a place in your teaching
  • Why there is no such thing as Pilates breathing despite what some schools say
  • The biomechanics of what happens when you breathe
  • The anatomical structures that support breath when you’re exerting yourself
  • When it can be helpful to cue breath
  • How context can trigger a painful experience and what we can do about that

Reflecting on Breathing Elephants

The elephant in the room about Pilates breathing is pretty simple — is there even such a thing as a correct breathing pattern? There are also a few related misconceptions around how you should provide Pilates breathing cues. We look at why different styles of Pilates recommend different breathing patterns and go back to basics with a good look at what Joseph Pilates himself had to say about breathing. Breathing myths have been around in the community forever and we take a deep dive into why you should revise and reflect on why you’re cueing breath.

Biomechanics of Breath

We discuss the elephant that says you shouldn’t use your neck muscles when breathing and share specifics of anatomy that show that’s just not the case. Biomechanically speaking, there are three different breathing patterns; coughing, quiet breathing, and a more forced inhalation and exhalation like when you’re exerting yourself in a class. In this case you get the accessory muscles of inhalation and exhalation involved — you force the air out more quickly.

Breathing Patterns and Pain

Should we be cueing breath with our students? I (Raph) personally don’t think it’s usually necessary, however, there is one situation when it might benefit a client who suffers pain in certain movements. If your student has a particular activity that is painful for them, it can become part of the context of the way they behave in a movement. Typically if a client anticipates pain they hold their breath and brace, but if you cue them to breathe differently that can create a different context, which then alleviates their pain and avoids triggering that replay response. You’re not cueing a perfect breath pattern — you’re encouraging them to do something different and change the context.

Pilates Breathing Cues

About Raphael and Cloe:

Raphael Bender, CEO, Breathe Education

Raph believes everyone deserves the opportunity to transform into a better version of themselves. His main strength as a teacher and movement professional is the ability to distill complex research findings into a simple, science-based approach to help people move fearlessly, thoughtlessly, and painlessly. He LOVES running, weights, cycling, and Contrology.

Raph holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology (Rehabilitation), a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science, Diploma of Pilates Movement Therapy, and STOTT PILATES full certification.

Cloe Bunter, Training Manager, Breathe Education

With 8+ years in the industry, both teaching Pilates and nurturing new instructors, Cloe is passionate about empowering new and seasoned instructors to think critically and move fearlessly. Empowered instructors empower their clients, and in turn, change lives.

She finds great joy in building connections with clients, students, colleagues, and the broader movement and rehab community. Co-hosting the Pilates Elephants Podcast, with Raphael Bender, has provided an incredible platform to bust common Pilates, movement, and rehab myths whilst creating a worldwide community of critical thinkers who are elevating health literacy.

Cloe is fascinated by movement in general, and its ability to enhance our lives, at any age. Her own movement practice includes Contrology/Pilates, running, weights, and kettlebells. She has a Diploma of Clinical Pilates, Cert IV in Pilates, and Cert IV in Training and Assessing.

How to Connect with Raphael and Cloe:

Our Pilates instructor training is 100 percent online, so you can study from anywhere in the world.

Earn recognition: Your Breathe Education Pilates qualifications are recognized by the Australian Government, Exercise & Sport Science Australia, and all major insurers.

Build your skills: with our pilates instructor training, you’ll learn the original Contrology exercises created by Joseph Pilates. Plus, you’ll learn the most current, science-based ways to cue and program those exercises, how to work with injured and pregnant clients, and nurture beginners.

Gain confidence: Learning is fun and easy when you engage with our state-of-the-art eLearning system, filled with straightforward, relevant content and structured to guide your training as you build skills and confidence.

Feel supported: You’ll learn world-class problem-solving skills, not just a list of answers. Our student success team and trainers will provide you with all the guidance, challenge, and support you’ll need to become what you want to become.

Take your first step to becoming a certified Pilates instructor by scheduling a 20-minute Discovery Call with us here.

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