PRINCIPLES OF PILATES
Pilates works the entire body with results that are noticeable within a short period of time. In order to realize the greatest value from the exercise regime, keep in mind a few core principles.
CONCENTRATE – Concentration is a key element in connecting your mind and body. Be present in your mind and you will build your body. Visualize the next step and pay attention to each movement as your body moves through the program. Visualization can help in multiple ways. Your mind will prepare your body for the next movement and can help you maintain a positive attitude and dedication as your body fatigues. By engaging both your mind and body, you will optimize each workout.
CONTROL – Controlling physical motion is led by the mind. The precision of control needed for pilates is what produces positive results and helps to prevent injury. Each movement serves a function, and control is at the core. As with any athletic pursuit, your mind should be fully engaged to control your muscle movements throughout the entire class. In doing so, you will achieve greater muscle stability and enhanced flexibility.
PRECISION – Precision goes hand-in-hand with the tenant of control. Success builds upon precise movements and when you concentrate on each movement throughout the class, you will learn proper control and benefit the most from each class. With precision, the body learns the purpose and importance of each move, which results in the greatest value for the effort you put forth.
ALIGN –Movement originates from your body’s core and pilates exercises focus on center strength and alignment. Each exercise moves from the center outward. Strengthening the associated muscles supports the spine and helps to improve posture. Pilates stabilizes the torso, which enables you to stretch and lengthen your body. All pilates exercises use the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, thighs and buttocks. The movements originate from the core and strengthening the core enables the rest of the body to move freely and in control.
BREATHE – As with many core exercise programs, pilates places emphasis on proper breathing. Good breathing techniques deliver oxygen to the blood and releases toxins from the body. It improves circulation while calming the mind and the body. Moreover, proper breathing will help you control your movements during the exercises and in your day-to-day activities. Controlling your breathing does not mean holding your breath. The only exercise we are aware of that requires the athlete to hold their breath for any period of time is swimming. On the contrary, controlling your breathing during pilates is about smooth inhales and exhales throughout each movement. The result will be improved endurance, stamina, and a clear mind.
FLOW – Flow is the rhythm and dynamics of each exercise. Pilates exercises strengthen the core and flow outward. When practicing pilates, you will move smoothly and evenly rather than hurrying through the various steps outlined by an instructor. In fact, at the core (pun intended) of a pilates exercise regimen is fluidity. There are no isolated movements.