Did you know that Pilates practice is based on six unique principles. “Pilates draws on the use of breath, posture and technique to perform movement patterns and establish mind muscle connections. It is the intention to feel the connection of the breath to movement and work from the inside out. We all want a strong core, but first we need to learn core control and be able to stabilize the joints by accessing the deep muscles of the core, spine, pelvis and shoulders. In Pilates we do this by performing small and deliberate movements initially to ensure we have correct muscle activation and then progressing to the more challenging Pilates repertoire.” (Atmosphere Pilates)
BREATH: (noun) an inhalation or exhalation of air from the lungs. “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” Joseph Pilates
The breath-work in Pilates helps to facilitate our movements. It also facilitates the movement of the lymphatic system and the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. We learn how our diaphragms work in synergy with one another and how this can assist with stabilization of the body along with accessing flexion, extension, rotation and side bending of the spine. Pilates teaches various breathing techniques to enhance relaxation, lower blood pressure, and to activate specific muscles that help improve posture.
Joseph Pilates grew up with asthma and so his emphasis was more focused on the exhale being long and from the bottom of the lungs. Pilates in current times focuses on the right amount of breath to match the movement being performed.
CONCENTRATION: (noun) the action or power of focusing all one's attention; (noun; Attention) the ability to think carefully about something you are doing and nothing else.
Pilates requires mindfulness and being in the moment. Extremely beneficial for mental health but it also allows the mind to connect to the body and to be able to listen to how you, the whole person is moving, feeling, sensing. Concentration is needed to ensure correct alignment of the body and maintaining stabilization of the body throughout the whole exercise routine.
CONTROL: (noun) the ability to manage a machine, vehicle, or other moving object.
The original name for Pilates was Contrology. A complete control of mind and body, you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities. Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices.
CENTERING: (Noun). 1. centering - the concentration of attention or energy on something;
Centering in Pilates means physically bringing focus and stability to the center of the body and moving the limbs independently from the centre or more specifically the area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Centering means a lot more than just your core or abdominal muscles, it is actually the correct level of use of abdominals, mid & lower back, pelvic floor, inner thigh and buttock muscles. Centering is essential for alignment, flow of movement and the control over the movement and it lowers the risk of injuries. It also improves our range of movement.
PRECISION: (noun) the quality, condition, or fact of being exact and accurate; Marked by or adapted for accuracy and exactness;
Pilates is not about doing a lot of repetitions poorly or with poor technique. Pilates aims for precise and correct mindful movement. With regular Pilates and expert instruction this precision will eventually become second nature and carry over into everyday life. Because each exercise has a specific purpose, the goal is to execute each exercise with good technique.
FLOW: (noun) the action or fact of moving along in a steady, continuous stream;
There is movement within movement. Each transition within Pilates should be fluid, thoughtful and controlled. Flow comes more easily the more we practice Pilates following all of the previous 5 principles. We are able to control the body whilst ‘flowing from one movement seamlessly’ into the next.
You will have heard many of these terms during your sessions at Pilates 44 Studio.