For my next few classes I have decided to go back to my original training and therefore back to Joseph Pilates himself and “Contrology.” We will be reminding ourselves of the Principles and why we do what we do – not only in our practice but also in our day to day life.
In Joe Pilates’ book, Return to Life Through Contrology, he defined his work as a way to completely unify the body, mind and spirit. His principles, which we now call the principles of Pilates, are the building blocks for his approach to physical fitness. While the principles may sound abstract, their integration, according to Pilates, helps achieve balance, grace, coordination and fluidity.
Concentration promotes and helps to achieve the mind-body connection. As you focus and become mindful of each body movement, Pilates states you will receive optimum physical value from each movement as well as enhance your body awareness.
Pilates’ method is based on mindfulness, including correct, safe and complete muscle control. With control, you utilize the exact and correct form, leaving no part of your body unattended.
Whilst performing any Pilates exercise, you should consciously bring your focus to the centre of your body. As you focus within, this Pilates principle suggests you will bring calm to both your body and spirit. Pilates called the centre of your torso the “powerhouse,” from which all energy for exercise is derived.
Deep, controlled, diaphragmatic breathing activates blood circulation and awakens cells and muscles. Pilates recommended visualizing the lungs as bellows as you bring air in to the fullest and release it in the same manner. Controlling your breath with deep exhalations as you perform each exercise helps activate your muscles and keep you focused. He wrote that breathing is the most integral part of an exercise, and even if one follows no other recommendation, learning to breathe correctly is the most important thing.
Practice makes perfect. Proper form is essential to ensure you gain the most benefit and keep your body healthy. According to Pilates’ precision principle, executing one exercise creating correct shape and form is more important than completing more repetitions with sloppier form. Quality, not quantity!
Each Pilates motion should be smooth and graceful. Pilates routines are completed through a gentle flow. Grace, ease and fluidity should be the intention. Continuous, smooth, and elegant movement as you transition from one pose to another will bring strength and stamina according to this principle. If we can bring these elements together the benefits of Pilates are mind-blowing!
See you all soon,