6 Principles of Pilates
Pilates was originally named ‘Controlology’ as every movement aims to keep the body engaged from head to toe. However, there is no need to overexert yourself as activating your muscles to just 30% is recommended to ensure efficiency. Being in control of your body and its movements may also aid in preventing injury and improving longevity.
In Pilates, it is believed that all movement in the body should stem from the centre of your body and ripple outward towards your limbs. The centre of your body is often referred to as your ‘power house’, and this includes your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. A strong centre aids in supporting our spine and major organs, improves our posture, and is our source of energy when moving. Developing our centre may prevent fatigue and aid in removing lower back pain.
Pilates believes that your mental and physical health and interlinked. It requires great mental concentration to focus on breathing correctly, follow specific exercise patterns, ensure correct posture and alignment, and demonstrate control and grace. Pilates assists in developing full-body awareness as you will be giving your full attention and commitment to each movement.
The accuracy of each movement is essential to a great Pilates class. Striving for perfection in technique allows you to receive the full benefits each exercise has to offer, as it will aid you in improving body alignment and movement pathways. Having precision in Pilates helps you to avoid building bad habits, and allows you to exercise efficiently. Remember that doing one perfect movement is better than many incorrect ones.
Breath is the key to life and its importance is often overlooked. Breathing properly while exercising is important so that you are oxygenating the blood and increasing circulation throughout the body. In Pilates it is recommended to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth like you are breathing through a straw. During the class, you will be encouraged to breath into your ribcage as it expands sideways. This is called lateral breathing. Pilates has a very specific breathing pattern which was developed to ensure that you are able to engage your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles at the same time as breathing.
Pilates positions aim to glide seamlessly from one to another which allows you to develop your connection to the movements. Therefore, you will improve your endurance which will enable you to get the most out of your session. In conjunction with utilising the breath, having an even flow of energy throughout the class will improve your grace and fluidity.