I went to my first Pilates class today (for over fifties). Its a course of ten weeks and I want to make the best use of it and learn well. I know its only the first week but I already feel a little out of my depth! We went through everything so quickly and I cant remember half of it and I wanted to practice at home so consolidate my learning. We were concentrating on basic moves focusing on the neutral spine. I understood most of what I was supposed to be doing but it seemed like I needed to be thinking about a lot of things all at the same time. And I kept forgetting to breath. In fact i think I was holding my breath through a lot of it. I feel a bit achy now (around my middle). I guess that means I was doing it right/wrong? I hope I catch on a bit quicker next week. Ho hum.
Pilates can be a bit confusing when you start. Most important thing is to move and don't worry too much about the breath pattern as long as you're breathing. Generally you exhale (through the mouth) while you expend the most effort. For example if you're rolling up into a shoulder bridge position, you exhale as you roll up on to your shoulder blades and either inhale to hold before exhaling as you roll down or inhale to roll down. Also try to keep your navel drawing to your spine as this helps activate the core muscles you are trying to use (think about the muscles you use when you're trying to do up the waist of a tight pair of jeans or pull in your belt one notch).
Hope that helps - and your teacher should be able to answer any questions you have.