Pilates is based on a series of core principles that can benefit your life long after your workout ends.
In Pilates, the starting point and source of all movement is the center of the body, or the Powerhouse. The Powerhouse is the area that includes the abdominal muscles, lower back muscles, pelvic floor, the glutes and muscles around the hips.
Centering is helpful in our lives because it teaches us to utilize our core as the impetus for our movement. This helps us to become stronger and aids in correct alignment and form in all we do, such as waiting in line at the store, sitting at our desks all day and even carrying our children. With a strong center and proper posture and spinal alignment, we are less likely to injure ourselves.
The Pilates principle of Concentration is about bringing full attention and commitment to each exercise in an effort to gain the most benefit from the workout.
Learning to be mindful and focused on the present can benefit us in countless ways. By concentrating only on the task at hand, our concentration improves and we perform better. Staying present helps us give our utmost attention to our kids, spouse, friends, coworkers, or whoever we are with. And we generally enjoy and experience life more fully, because we are more conscious.
In Pilates, we perform every single exercise with complete muscular control. Each muscle and body part works together to carry out the exercises.
The principle of Control extends beyond our Pilates mats and Equipment classes. We learn to control our bodies and move with steadiness all the time, which makes us less likely to make jerky or potentially injurious movements. We begin to carry ourselves in a more balanced and safe manner.
Every movement in Pilates has a purpose. It is important to be cognizant of correct body placement and to understand how each part of our body functions in conjunction with each other.
By learning how every part of our bodies plays an important role in our movement, we can remain aware of and grateful for the ways in which our muscles and ligaments work together to keep us performing and functioning efficiently.
In Pilates exercises, movement is propelled by breath. Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates, often advised people to use their lungs to powerfully pump air completely in and out of the body.
This is a useful principle in our daily lives because it reminds us to take deep, oxygenating breaths. Our breath sustains us and is a necessary component of everything we do and every movement we make.
Pilates exercises are completed in a smooth, steady and continuous manner, with each movement flowing gracefully into the other.
Outside of Pilates classes, the principle of Flow teaches people to take life as it comes and move through their days with ease, continuity, grace and fluidity.