Pilates Principles: Centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow. For many people, these six principles are the foundation of the Pilates approach to exercise. Their application to the Pilates method of exercise, it is a part of what makes it unique in the fitness world.
It is very important to know that Joseph Pilates did not directly set out the Pilates principles, they are concepts distilled from Joseph Pilates’ work by later instructors.
This is the reason why people don’t usually agree in the Pilates community about the order of the principles, the specific words that are used for certain concepts or the number of principles. Nevertheless, you will find that some versions of the Pilates principles are the same to what I present here, which is a part to be of almost any Pilates program you will pursue.
The 6 Principles of the Integrative Mind-Body-Spirit Approach of Pilates
Joseph Pilates formerly called his work “Contrology”. He considered this to be a body/mind/spirit approach to movement made on the integrative effect of principles like centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow.
Whether one is working out on a mat or using Pilates equipment, like the reformer or Cadillac, these basic principles infuse each exercise with intention and full of expression.
Centering – This concept is defined as physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the powerhouse area between the lower ribs and public bone.
Concentration – If you focus all your attention to the exercise and do it with full commitment, you will get maximum value from each movement.
Control: Every Pilates exercise is performed with complete muscular control. No body part is left behind to its own devices. It is all a deliberate movement that the mind is controlling.
Precision In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is a right placement, alignment relative to other body parts and trajectory for each part of your body.
Breath: Joseph Pilates focused on using a very full breath in his exercise. He encouraged thinking of the lungs as a bellows- using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises match up with the breath and using the breath properly is an essential part of Pilates exercise.
Learn more: Breathing in Pilates
Flow: Pilates exercise is done in a flowing manner. Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all exercises. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. Pilates equipment, like the reformer, are very good mirrors of one’s flow and concentration as they tend to bang around and suddenly become quite “machine-like” if one loses ones control and flow.