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The Basic Principles | Breathing

Proper breathing ensures that enough oxygen is flowing to the muscles you are using, and helps prevent unnecessary tension. A relaxed and full breath pattern encourages focus and concentration.

The STOTT PILATES breath pattern involves an expansion of the rib cage out to the sides and back without allowing the shoulders to lift. It is also important to breathe into the lower part of your lungs, because there is more efficient gas exchange.

The breath pattern used in STOTT PILATES will help engage your deep abdominal muscles and stabilize your torso.


1. Notice Natural Breath Pattern
Lying on back, breathe smoothly, noticing natural breath pattern.
Is breath going into abdominal cavity, upper chest, sides of rib cage, back of rib cage?
2. Breathing Flexed Forward
This encourages breathing into the sides and back of the rib cage. Click on an image to view image at a larger size.
Click through the steps at the bottom of the pop-up window.

STARTING POSITION Sit in an upright position, arms relaxed.
To prepare inhale...

EXHALE initiate from top of head and curve forward, relaxing over legs.

While flexed forward...
INHALE through nose, feeling sides and
back of rib cage expand.
EXHALE through pursed lips,
allowing rib cage to close.

Complete 3–5 repetitions

On last exhale...
initiate from tailbone and roll up
to starting position.