Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow
Pilates was originally called “Contrology.” Joseph felt that it was a system of exercises and the ultimate study of control. Control of your mind, your body, your intentions and your results.
The six pilates principles are found in every form of equipment, from reformer and tower work, to chair and matwork. You may focus on a single principle in a class or be reminded of several throughout. These principles embody the work of Joseph Pilates and when you are a student of Pilates they will become second nature. Learn about each pilates principle.
Centering: Pilates is centering and grounding. It is also done from a place of center and control, your powerhouse or core muscles. The midline of your body is considered your centerline and pilates works to lengthen and strengthen this connection.
Concentration: Pilates really takes concentration. Your mind is always working to depend your work and refine your practice. Each exercise has a specific movement, rhythm and flow. While each exercise will become easier in time you can always bring more commitment to your movements.
“Ideally, our muscles should obey our will. Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles.”
Control: You will discover muscles and connections you never knew you had. Pilates is a whole body exercise system and requires control to do so. Nothing is left alone. Exercises have a deliberate movement and you will learn how to control your body with precision and flow.
“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control over your body.”
Precision: Of course when you combine centering work with concentration and control, your pilates movements become precise. You will learn proper placement of your body for each exercise and learn where each movement should take you.
“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”
Breath: Breathing is central to our existence. We generally give little thought to how we breath. Joseph Pilates believed in the power of breath and uses breathing to deepen and enhance your pilates practice. Many pilates exercises coordinate timing with the breath to maximize the exercises effectiveness.
“Above all, learn how to breathe correctly.”
Flow: In classical Pilates, transitions are taught as part of the exercises. The equipment is designed to help assist and resist your movements and allow for smooth movement. Each pilates movement flows directly into the next. It becomes a supple dance and has a natural grace to it. This translates into how you move, walk and live.
“Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work.”