You may just be starting out in your Pilates journey, or maybe you’re a fitness guru and Pilates is an essential tool in your arsenal. Regardless of where you are in your journey, we believe that continuing education is critical to ever evolving goals in health, wellness and fitness. Take note of the nine principles of Pilates and use them as a guide in your practice. Emphasis on practice. If you’re new in the Pilates realm, perhaps focus on just one goal per class. And if you’re a seasoned Pilates veteran, begin to stack the principles a few classes at a time:
1) Breathing - there are two people in the world, one who holds their breath while exercising, and the second believes there is a certain breath pattern with different movement patterns. Be the third person and just focus on actually breathing while you’re moving. The first and most effective step in breath work is to actually breathe! Bringing awareness to this builds a foundation to the next eight principles, while improving lung capacity.
2) Concentration - paying attention to what you’re doing (and hopefully, with the guidance of a good instructor why you’re doing it) allows you to be present in the moment and the movement.
3) Control - perhaps you’ve heard that Pilates is mind-body, and if you have you’re right. When you understand proper form and ideal alignment it only makes sense to engage the body and mind to maximize your work.
4) Centering - similar to concentration, centering allows for your mind to be fully engaged in the work that you’re doing. However, the other aspect of centering is the concentrated focus on a strong physical center of your body- your core. 5) Precision - once you’ve practiced and realized that concentration, control and centering are becoming habits, precision begins to naturally follow suit. Appropriate amounts of effort, coupled with performing movements with great form yields precision. Our favorite part of precision? It replaces “perfection” in the Pilates vocabulary!
6) Balanced Muscle Development - working with a Pilates Professional will ensure that your muscles will be worked synergistically and in a way hat complements your efforts. Being consistent with your Pilates practice contributes to improved posture, endurance in other sports, fitness, and even activities of daily living, and over all general comfort throughout your body. 7) Flow/Rhythm - by adding fluidity to functional movement, your body is able to move more efficiently with decreased stress on joints. Flow develops a rhythm that eventually become second nature to ya in all movements.
8) Whole Body Movement - how many times have you rolled your eyes when people call Pilates and “abs class”? Or wait, is that just us? The strength in the rest of our muscles and body are strongly supported by strong abs, but, we digress. By engaging our minds and create purpose in our movement, we fully submerge ourselves into a whole body experience. 9) Relaxation - okay, we love this. ’Relaxation’ does not mean ’a meditation class’, but what is does mean is that when you’re able to relax the parts of your body that are not supposed to be engaged in movement, you maximize your efforts. We love that when you walk away from Pilates, it does not leave you feeling depleted, and it does leave you feeling restored. FTW, IMO.
Study these principles and change your Pilates practice!