The Principles of Pilates

Breathing

The breathing pattern in Pilates is important and is a process that most people find very difficult to start with. It is always fine to take another breath if you need to. Whilst carrying out Pilates we engage the deep abdominal muscles and we need to focus the breathing into the rib area which is called lateral thoracic breathing. We breathe in through the nose and filling the lungs completely. We breathe out through the mouth emptying the lungs and closing them down. This exhalation maintains intra-abdominal pressure through the abdomen. If we do not breathe effectively the muscles will fatigue more quickly. We need to learn the breathing patterns as they assist with each movement of the exercises. We move on the breath.

Centering

All movement should come from a strong centre, the core which is also referred to as the power house and the girdle of strength. Before we start each exercise we engage the core by pulling up the pelvic floor muscles and drawing in the deep abdominals. See an Introduction to Pilates to understand which muscles we use to do this. All movement needs to be performed from a strong and stable base.

Control

As individuals we must work within our own range of movement to ensure that correct alignment and stability are maintained throughout. Each repetition is as important as the first and if control of that movement starts to fail then the range of movement should be decreased and perhaps fewer repetitions carried out.

Concentration

The aim in Pilates is to be able to focus completely on each movement with each part of the exercise flowing into the next. It doesn’t matter how experienced the participant is, a high level of concentration must still be held with an awareness of watch points so that poor technique does not occur.

Flow

All Pilates exercise should flow from position to position achieving slow controlled movement and optimum benefit. This comes with time and continuous instruction.

Precision

Quote from Joseph Pilates “The benefits of Pilates solely depend on your performing the exercises exactly according to the instructions”.

To allow muscles to work in harmony it is essential that each exercise is carried out with accurate technique from each part of the body. This comes with time.
Note from Helena “Pilates is a discipline, it cannot be learnt in five minutes. I have been teaching Pilates since 2005 and I am still learning!”