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Six Pilates Principles
For many, these six principles are the foundation of the Pilates approach to exercise. Their application to the Pilates method of exercise is part of what makes it unique in the fitness world.
Pilates is a Unique Method of Exercise.
Core strength and torso stability, along with the six Pilates principles, set the Pilates method apart from many other types of exercise. Weight lifting, Running and Swimming for example, can put a lot of attention on arm or leg strength without attending much to the fact that those parts are connected to the rest of the body! Ultimately those who really succeed at their sport learn to use their core muscles, but in Pilates this integrative approach is learned from the beginning.
Physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the core powerhouse area. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from center.
If one brings full attention to the exercise and does it with full commitment, maximum value will be obtained from each movement.
Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices.
In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body.
Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. He advocated thinking of the lungs as a bellows (an instrument or machine that by alternate expansion and contraction draws in air through a valve or orifice and expels it through a tube) -- using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise.
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.
These six Pilates principles are essential ingredients in a high quality Pilates workout.
The Pilates method has always emphasized quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike many systems of exercise, Pilates exercises do not include a lot of repetitions for each move. Instead, doing each exercise fully, with precision, yields significant results in a shorter time than one would ever imagine.