In Pilates, the centre of the body is where all movements originate. The centre is found in the pelvis, just below the level of the navel. The deep muscles of the abdominal area are connected by the centre. Our centre is involved with supporting our spine as well as major organs, strengthening our back and improving our alignment and posture. When our centre is properly developed we are less vulnerable to lower-back pain and fatigue.
Quality control is essential to every single movement in Pilates. Overexertion of exercises and muscles is contradictory to the principles of Pilates. The underlying notion is that movement exercises performed without precision and control could lead to injury, but exercises that are cautiously controlled are more likely to produce positive results.
The mind-body connection forms the very foundation of Pilates, and the basis of coordinating the mind and body is concentration. Here the focus is to be precise, careful and slow with foundation work. Before performing or teaching a movement, be mindful and practice organized cueing to encourage full-body awareness. Each exercise requires body and spatial awareness.
Movement precision stems from concentration. Precision is reached through clear movement, guiding and placement of the body together with its parts. Realizing that every movement is purpose-driven and every instruction is important to the success of the movement as a whole.
Complete, purposeful and thorough inhalation and exhalation is of vital importance in Pilates. Unlike yoga, air is inhaled through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. Consciousness of breathing and specific breathing patterns, assist with movement by directing the attention and focus of the body, as well as being an oxygen transporter to the muscles being utilized.
Evenly flowing movement accompanied with smoothness, work hand in hand especially when assisting in the transitions between movements or from connecting one movement to the next. Each exercise has a beginning and an end with dynamic fluid movement in the middle that is performed with gracious control.