The Principals of Pilates
Pilates Core Principals
These eight core principles are what you need to keep in mind while practicing your exercises. Think of them as a check list. Inevitably some will come up more than others in your mind that’s why I give out this list. It is vital to build from 1-8 to help your fully understand and integrate the method for your mind and body.
1) Concentration “Concentrate of the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value.” J. Pilates
This seems simple but is often difficult. To concentrate on the entire body while it performs a complex set of movements is challenging and takes time. Keep in mind that to focus the muscles as they move is not an easy task. Often the body doesn’t follow what the mind wants, but after concerted practice the simple movements become more focused and what once was just a simple movement turns into something complex.
The abdominal area is often described as the second spine. It is your powerhouse of your anatomy. Your center is a pivotal point of the body. All strength movements emanate from this area. Abdominal control is different from abdominal strength this is important! The former does not rely on the latter. In my opinion it is preferable to have control.
3) Breathing “To breathe correctly you must completely exhale and inhale, always trying very hard to “squeeze” every atom of pure air from your lungs in much the same manner that you would wring every drop of water from a wet cloth.” J. Pilates
Correct breathing should be performed with the following in mind:
- Keep the neck and shoulder relaxed; hunching causes neck tension
- Allow the breath to flow: don’t hold your breath at any point
- Breath in through the nose (into the chest) for a five second count, without allowing the shoulders to lift at all ( it helps to do this in front of a mirror)
- Without stopping breath out of the mouth with a sigh for a five second count (it is important to not purse the lips into any shape this can create tension in the jaw and you wont get all the air out)
- If you find it difficult to breathe into the chest, breathe into your back or shoulder blades as if you where filling up sails on a boat. There is a whole section of space in the back of our chest cavity for extra breath intake!
4) Control “Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles.” J. Pilates
Once you master the previous three concepts control is more easily accessible. In essence control gives you the ability to practice without injury, or putting yourself at risk for injury
5) Precision “Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities.” J. Pilates
Precision of movement leads to more overall grace throughout the body. Precision requires controlled action, without which the movement becomes sloppy and aesthetically unappealing. The space with which you move and preform various activities also determines, and is determined by precision.
6) Flowing Movement “Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in all you do.” J. Pilates
Fluidity of movement while exercising leads to fluidity of movement when not exercising. That’s a wonderful benefit! Conscious control of all muscular movement through all ranges of motion will help eliminate stiff, jerky movements.
7) Isolation “Each muscle may cooperatively and loyally aid in the uniform development of all our muscles.” J. Pilates
As you gain more control over the weaker muscles and you are more able to integrate them into your movements the greater isolation you’ll be able to achieve.
8) Routine “Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” J. Pilates
Ok this is so important and really does develop as you build on the pervious principals. Simply put an established Pilates routine will improve mental and physical conditioning in all individuals. The more you do, the better the results. So use your videos, they are designed to assist you in achieving your personal goals.
Good luck and I am always here to answer any questions you may have.