The Six Pilates Principles
Joseph Pilates introduced the following principles to his exercise system which he named contrology. Each exercise is performed with the aim of including all of the following principles:
Pilates uses lateral breathing to enhance stamina and engage muscles. Lateral breathing means you breathe into your back and sides instead of your chest or abdomen. This deep breathing allows your core to remain engaged during the exercises, improves circulation, and clears toxins from the body.
Using concentration enhances the exercises, allowing for a more focused experience. In pilates you use visualization to help concentrate on specific muscle groups. You should feel the movement, not simply perform the movement.
In pilates you use control to engage the correct muscles in sequence. Other areas of the body should remain stable as a resistance to the active movement. Moving slowly and carefully works the target muscle throughout the entire range of movement.
All movement begins in the core and moves outward. Without a stable and strong base, your arms and legs do not work efficiently. Pilates concentrates on strengthening the centre of your body (core).
In pilates you need to work towards a great attention to detail, ensuring that the targeted muscles work in a quality movement rather than focusing on quantity. Force has no place in pilates.
All pilates exercises should be performed slowly, with a controlled but flowing movement. There should be no stiffness, tension, or jerking.