Pilates Facts: Principles for the Complete Coordination of Body, Mind, and Spirit

Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes balanced development of the body. This is achieved through core strength, flexibility, and awareness that supports efficient, graceful movement. In short, the goal of Pilates is coordination of body, mind, and spirit. When considering Pilates facts, we need to look at the six core principles that Joseph Pilates set as the foundation for the practice he developed. First, though, let’s look at a couple of other selling points that make Pilates such an appealing exercise modality.

Adaptability and Development of Core Strength

Pilates is an adaptable method, meaning it is possible to modify the exercises so anyone can do them. Modification is the key to Pilates exercise success with a variety of populations. Joseph Pilates developed every exercise with modifications that can make a workout both safe and challenging for a person at any level.

Development of core strength is the foundation of Pilates exercise. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job, as they are trained to do in Pilates, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and facilitate movement.

As you develop your core strength, you develop stability throughout your entire torso. This is one of the ways Pilates helps people overcome back pain. Stabilizing the trunk properly relieves pressure on the back. The body can then move freely and efficiently.

Pilates Principles

No discussion of Pilates facts is complete without looking at the six Pilates principles. In fact, if we want to understand Pilates facts, we need to start here.

These six principles—centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow—are the foundation of the Pilates approach to exercise. Applying the principles to the Pilates method of exercise is part of what makes Pilates unique in the fitness world.

With this in mind, let’s look briefly define each principle.

Centering – Physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, which is the area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from center, or the core.

Concentration – Placing full attention on the exercise and performing it with full commitment to obtain maximum value from each movement.

Control – Using muscles completely. In Pilates, we do not leave any part of the body to its own devices.

Precision – Sustaining awareness throughout each movement with detailed attention to the appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body.

Breath – Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. He advocated thinking of the lungs as a bellows and using them strongly to pump air fully in and out. Proper breathing is an integral part of a Pilates workout. Most Pilates exercises are performed in coordination with the breath.

Flow – Moving with fluidity, grace, and ease. The goal is to use the energy of an exercise in an even way to connect all parts of the body.

Knowing these Pilates facts and applying them to your practice is your key to success. In other words, like anything else, you’ll need to take the time to understand the foundation of Pilates practice. Know your Pilates facts, and your practice will thrive!

About Susan Sommers

Hi, I’m Susan Sommers. I’m a native New Yorker, living on the Upper West Side. Pilates Body NYC provides private in-home Pilates instruction, focusing on mindful movement that enables you to reconnect with your body. My mantra is fitness is achieved one thought, one step, and one day at a time. It is a commitment you make to yourself to treat yourself right and give your body what it needs as you age. I believe that Pilates is much more than exercise. I practice it as a way of life that brings strength, awareness, and mindfulness to everything I do. My wish is to help you experience the same.
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