During my Pilates training, it was imperative that I understood THE 6 principles before I even learned how to teach one exercise.
Pretty self explanatory, right? Well, not so fast. Ten years later, as a teacher AND a student of the discipline, I am amazed that I am STILL learning more and more about each of these principles.
Centering is the main focus of the Pilates method. All the work starts from and is sustained through the Center, or better known as the Pilates Powerhouse. Your Powerhouse includes all of your musculature within the area of shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, front to back of the body. This is also called your Pilates Box. Think of this as redefining your Core.
Concentration is required to execute the exercises with full benefit. The mind guides the body.
After centering and concentration comes control over the exercises . We never let gravity take over. We control gravity.
Precision. Each exercise is designed with a precise goal in mind. To reach this goal, you are encouraged to pay attention to form, structure and quality – not quantity. In other words, you can fatigue a muscle with very few repetitions
Then we look at Breath. Pilates breathing is about increasing lung capacity, inhaling to increase oxygenation to the muscles and exhaling to rid the body of stale air. As a result, the muscles of the Pilates powerhouse get stronger and more flexible.
Finally, there is Flow. As a student progresses, theres a continuous movement from exercise to exercise. My first instructor used to tell me “Erica, transitions are exercise too!” and she was so right!