Joseph Pilates thought of his method as a way to connect and
develop the mind, body and spirit. These are the key principles
of the Pilates method.
The breath is the essential link between the mind and the
body. It draws our wandering mind back into our bodies and
back to the task at hand. It is the foundation of our existence
and the rhythm that accompanies us from birth to death. In
Pilates the breath is integrated into every movement in order
to keep our awareness on what we are doing, to improve the
flow of oxygen throughout our tissues and to improve the
capacity of our lungs.
To concentrate is to pay attention to what you are doing. To be
present with and in control of the task at hand. Without
concentration the exercises lose their form and their purpose.
When teaching it is important to have a client do only as many
repetitions as they can without losing their concentration. As
Joe often said, “It is better to do five repetitions perfectly than
20 without paying attention:’
To be in control is to understand and maintain the proper
form, alignment and effort during an entire exercise. Pilates
exercises are never done without engaging the mind to control
the movements and the efforts that the body is making.
In Pilates all movement radiates outward from the center.
Developing a strong, stable and flexible center is one of the
defining features of this form of exercise.
Understanding proper form and placement and being able
to perform exercises with efficiency comes with practice.
Precision is the end product of concentration, control,
centering and practice.
Balanced Muscle Development
Understanding, developing and maintaining correct alignment
and form is essential to Pilates. With practice these principles
become second nature and lead to improved posture,
increased comfort and enhanced physical abilities
All movements in Pilates are done with a sense of rhythm
and flow. Flow creates smooth, graceful and functional
movements. It decreases the amount of stress placed on our
joints and develops movement patterns that integrate our
body into a smoothly flowing whole.
Whole Body Movement
Pilates is fundamentally about integration: integrating
movement into a flowing whole body experience, integrating
the mind and body to create clarity and purpose, integrating
mind, body and spirit to create a life of balance
To be healthy in body and mind it is important to understand
the balance between effort and relaxation. In Pilates we
learn to use just the amount of effort needed to complete
the exercise correctly, no more, no less. Learning to release
unnecessary tension in our bodies helps us to find ease and
flow in movement and in the rest of our lives.