In life breath is an event that happens right in front of your face. You pull air in from the nose from the space right in front of it, and deposit it back into the space. In movement, breath isn't an outside event. It is initiated deep inside the abdominal cavity, from the diaphragm. In a Pilates studio we don't breath to live, we breath for an abdominal response.
An inhale is a suction that begins pulling from deep in the pelvic floor, behind the belly button, behind the stomach, behind the heart, behind the throat, behind the eyes, and out through the top of the head. The last thing to do on an inhale is pull air in through the nose. When the inhale happens, only take whats needed. Inhales in Pilates and Gyrotonic are like desserts, don't eat the whole cake just a bite will do. On an exhale, abdominals pull inward and upward to push the air out, as the spine reaches upward and legs lengthen downward away from that pulling feeling.
Beginners in Pilates, Gyrotonic and Yoga can be quite good at this inside outside integration. In the beginning days of learning they are so utterly focused on the idea of marrying their new external movements with a breath. Advanced clients can fall into the trap of memorizing and executing exercises with very little consciousness or attention. Reminding clients to only move as fast as they can feel the integration correctly helps them keep that connected relationship with their external movement and their internal breathing. It keeps the work a complete neurological package.
Breath teaches flow, timing, and control of exercises. Breath creates new ways of doing the same choreography of exercises. It connects the external expression of movement with the inside expression of a person. When you execute movement from the inside you make it your own. Instead of repeating and executing exercises and focusing on doing them 'right', you perform them, that day, for you, and where you are at.
Breathing is what makes movement live in that moment. Once it is performed its over never to be done the same again. Just like you can't hang onto breath, you can't hang onto movement, let it go an move on.
Tracy Fitzpatrick, Aline Studios