Natalie Shook NCPT
6 Basic Pilates Principles
CENTERING: What most people refer to as the “core” is not just the front of the body. It is the entire body from the top of the head, torso, front, back and sides to the bottom of your seat. It is what is known as the ‘Powerhouse’ in Pilates. The limbs work from the center aka powerhouse. The duality of centering refers to both your mind and body by bringing focus of mind into the body.
CONCENTRATION: Pilates was intended to be a mental exercise as well as a physical exercise. Exercising physically with mindfulness requires dedicated focus. With regular practice it is likely that you will develop a greater sense of body awareness not only in Pilates, but also in daily life. While you might be tempted to close those gorgeous eyes while concentrating, Joseph Pilates wanted the eyes OPEN and actively aware of where your body is.
CONTROL: Romana Kryzanowska famously said, “Pilates is about stretch, strength and control, and control is most important because it uses your mind.” The art of control while achieving precise flowing Pilates exercises is quite pleasing to the eye of a bystander as much while it brings a sense of satisfaction and empowerment to the person performing Pilates.
PRECISION: It is in the precision of movement where you exercise your body comprehendingly and regain correct alignment. As you learn to perfect movement patterns by using the control of your body and mind in unity, most people report several positive changes. Improved concentration and clarity, improved strength, newfound flexibility, with a sense of refreshment, more energy and better mood.
Learning any new fundamental movement skills or new movement patterns might feel similar to learning a whole new language or musical instrument. It takes patience and practice to achieve precision.
BREATH: Though breathing is something we all do from the beginning of life, learning to control the breath specifically coordinated to a movement is an acquired skill that is learned with regular practice. When used effectively, the breath will encourage strength and integrity within each movement.The breath used in Pilates is different than the breath used in other modalities. It is very specific to Pilates.
FLOW (FLUID MOVEMENT): This is a more advanced precept as it requires memory of exercise order and specific way to move from one exercise to another with fluidity and ease. In Pilates we call these movement selections ‘transitions’, which in essence creates the flow in Pilates. This is also a precursor to a more dynamic, advanced and cardiovascular workout. It is very important to know that Pilates is constant movement, it is an exercise. Though it involves deep concentration and at first glance may appear to have some similarities, it is very different than Yoga. Pilates does not keep any still pose, it always moves continually.The more advanced you become, the faster and more precisely it moves and challenges your mind and body.