Posture, Breath and Wheel Throwing

There are many factors affecting how you throw on the potters wheel. Mainly the type of clay, amount of water as well as pressure and speed influence your wheel throwing. However, there are other important aspect that sometimes we overlook. Our posture and mood.

Posture at the wheel is important. Sitting at the level of the wheel head (or slightly higher), as close to the wheel as you can get, with a straight back, and arms locked in your body is healthy, safe, and makes efficient use of bone, muscle, and gravity.

Sitting on the potter’s wheel can be very therapeutic and can give you a very rewarding experience whether your produce anything worth keeping or not. The key is to remember to breath. Keep your body relaxed, truck your arms in, use your core stretch and let the process guide you.

We see beginners start a class on the wheel and those who make progress at the start immediately relax and get comfortable. We also see a lot of people not making progress then spending the rest of the class destroying one piece after the other. They stress and they get upset, their muscle tense and they stop breathing. Holding your breath puts your body into a state of stress. You simply can’t work on the wheel and clear your mind if you are holding your breath.

Start with cantering the clay. Make sure the clay is really well compressed and centred. Make sure you have taken the time to wedge all the air out of your clay and make sure you have all that you need near you so you don’t have to leave your seat. Always remind yourself to breath.

Always take deep breathes while you are on the wheel. Drill in the centre and open the clay. Do this slowly and calmly. Don’t rush the process. Don’t hurry the work. Keep breathing and keep relaxed. Once the clay is open, then tuck your arms and prepare yourself to start pulling the walls. Think of your hands as a tool. Think of stability and think of keeping your fingers wet. Keep calm and keep breathing.

At any moment accidents will happen. The walls will collapse, the clay will get to wet, and the wheel may spin to fast. Just relax and breath. Your body is a tool, and it will be less productive when you stop breathing and your shoulders are to your ears and your arms are away from you unsupported. There is a lot to think about. You need to stay calm to keep the checklist running in your mind. If you are not breathing your mind will wonder and you will loss concentration.

Stop breathing and your pressure will be uneven. Stop breathing and your posture will change, your back will ache, your arms will start to move away from you. You’ll find it’s difficult to maintain a lot of physical tension when you are breathing properly. Deep breathing triggers the release of endorphins, which improves feelings of well-being and provides pain-relief.

Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result in incorrect breathing, so it is important part of the process to get your posture right from early on. You will see great benefits.

Benefits of good breathing:

Breathing Releases Tension

Breathing Improves Posture

Breathing Relaxes the Mind and Body, bringing Clarity

Breathing Boosts Energy levels and Improves Stamina

Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems

Breathing Relieves Pain

Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins

Breathing Massages Your Organs

Breathing Strengthens the Immune System

Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood

Breathing Increases Digestion

Breathing Improves the Nervous System

Proper Breathing assists in Weight Control

Breathing Improves Cellular Regeneration

Breathing Elevates Moods


  • Change positions frequently

  • Take a stretch frequently

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