The Pilates Principles
The Pilates Principles were not established by Joseph Pilates and this is why Pilates community don’t always agree about the number and order of the Pilates Principles. You will find some version of the Pilates principles–similar to what I present here–to be a part of almost any Pilates training program.
In Pilates we concentrate on the correct use of breathing for each exercise – deep and full breathing nourishes not only your body but also your brain. Proper breathing oxygenates your blood, increases circulation and flexibility, awakening all the body’s cells and carrying away wastes, deepens the work of your abdominal and brings a sense of ease to your movement. As a general rule we inhale through the nose to prepare for a movement and we exhale through the mouth on the point of effort.
All Pilates movements should be executed with complete control, focusing on quality rather than quantity. It’s much better to complete one perfect movement than ten haphazard ones. Try to focus on the muscles you’re using holding the rest of the body relaxed and aligned.
This is an art of being able to concentrate and block out all other thoughts – none of the other principles can be achieved without this focusing of the mind over the body. Pilates is often referred to as a “thinking execrcise” – first think about your muscles, then locate them and then use them.
The centre is the core of your body. Joseph Pilates often called this the “powerhouse” – it’s the area of your body that goes from the bottom of your ribs to your hip line. It includes the abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, pelvic floor and glutes. Each exercise in Pilates has initial in “powerhouse”, everything else – your arm, legs and head are appendages coming from the centre.
Correct alignment of the body is crucial while exercising, if you are only a couple of centimetres out of alignment the movement might be much less effective. For optimum results listen to the instructions and when you are unsure just ask.
Each Pilates motion should be smooth and graceful, lenghtening outward from a strong centre. Never jerky or erratic, with every movement try to create the grace of a dancer or a gymnast.