While teaching a class, “what is the breathing again?”, is by far the most asked questions from my Pilates students. I generally cue the breathing while instructing, because the movement without the breath is nowhere near as effective as when they are combined.
Generally speaking in Pilates, the exhale comes on the effort…or when the abdominals contract deeper. Try it with me. As you are seated in your computer chair, gently breathe in and out. You should naturally feel your stomach inflate and deflate accordingly. Now, engage your core and inhale then exhale. Did you feel that? Each time you exhale when your core is engaged, the work goes deeper.
That is the whole point of breathing in Pilates. To help you take each movement, each contraction, each exercise to the deepest level possible for your body. Now, you don’t have to make the breath loud or exaggerated, you can make it soft and get the benefits. You are fine tuning your body to work more efficiently and to create more depth to your practice.