The Lift Pilates on Twitter

The Lift Pilates on Flickr

Belting The Star-Spangled Banner: How Pilates helps you hit the high note

Posted on July 06, 2011

Recently, I traveled to New York City to support my daughter at an audition for opportunity to sing the National Anthem. As I watched her rehearse with her voice teacher, it got me thinking about the impact breathing has on successfully singing a tough tune like that. Breathing is something most of us don’t think twice about yet it plays such an important role in our day-to-day activities.

Image from

While it takes focus and training, once you develop a proper breath you will see the impact on your daily life. Whether you’re singing in the shower or running a marathon, Pilates will improve your breath so you can do the things you love more easily.

Clear your mind. Training your body to change something you learned at birth, like breathing, takes full concentration. During class, commit to staying focused on your body and your breath. If you find yourself thinking about something else, recommit to your breath and stay focused in the moment. Acknowledge the thought that pops into your head yet accept that there is nothing that you can do about it during class and quickly force it away.

Slower is better. Joseph Pilates emphasized that a controlled and complete (full inhalation and exhalation) breath is key to increase the intake of oxygen and circulate blood through the body. Also, in a proper Pilates breath, the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are engaged on a full, complete exhale. To get the most out of each Pilates exercise it is important to take the time to learn the proper technique from your instructor and execute it slowly, and completely, during class.

Consistency is key. A difficult thing to remember when exercising is to keep breathing. It’s a very common mistake to hold your breath when your body is working hard in an exercise. The most important thing to do in Pilates is to keep breathing in a consistent and controlled speed. Helpful cues from your instructor will remind you to breathe until your body understands how to maintain it correctly.

In what activities have you noticed that Pilates improved your breath? What helps you focus on breathing while doing Pilates or other physical activities?