The Pilates Method is set apart from other exercise methodologies by 6 principles that form the foundation and basis of the system.
Breathing – Breathing is essential for life, however there are many breathing applications while exercising. A full and continuous breath is encouraged which allows for effective oxygenation of the blood.
Centering – This concept relates to the core in that all movements or exercises initiate from a deep core connection and flow outwards to the limbs. This is also explained as working the body from the inside out which relates to ensuring that the body is working from a place of stability before moving.
Concentration – Total focus on what you are doing, the whole body, all the time! A pilates practitioner’s focus is to perform movements as correctly as possible according to their personal skill level. This requires concentration within each moment to ensure that alignment is maintained and the muscles are firing appropriately in proper sequence and maintaining this focus throughout the workout.
Control – Be in control of your body in each moment, not at it’s mercy! Control of the body requires consistent practice which in turn develops strength with the goal of the body being able to perform movements more autonomically, thus leaving the mind able to focus on fine tuning.
Precision – This is based on the idea of quality vs quantity. The correct movements each time you execute them, with proper sequencing and muscular contractions, creates quality and efficiency of movement. Less repetitions done with more precision is highly effective as the body does not fight against imbalances and poor movement habits.
Flow (Fluidity) – The exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina. It is about smooth, uninterrupted, continuous movement. There is no holding of positions, nor jerky or ballistic movements.
All of these principles are interdependent and are applied to a pilates practice each and every time. Pilates method exercise is as much strengthening of mental acuity as it is a strengthening tool for the body physically.