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 the 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 practicing it is important to do only as many repetitions as you can without losing your 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 of the body. The center refers to the abdomen, lower back and pelvis and is often called the powerhouse or the core. The center is where power is generated in the body. Developing a strong, stable and flexible center is one of the defining features of Pilates.
Precision in movement means being able to perform exercises with proper form every time you practice. It is the end product of concentration, control, centering and practice!
Every movement of Pilates method has a purpose. Every step has a vital importance that ensures the success of each initiative. Any detail left out means ignoring the intrinsic value of the exercise. Therefore, concentrate on the correct and perfect execution of one exercise rather than of more exercises done relunctantly. After all, this correctness in execution will become your second nature and you will not tolerate what is beneath it.
6. Balanced Muscle Development
One of the goals of Pilates is to develop the body in a uniform and balanced way. With attention to the principles and patience, Pilates will create a more balanced and efficient body for whatever activities you choose to perform.
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.
8. 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.