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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pilates Principles: The Power Behind the Work

The “core” of the Pilates method made up of the principles behind the work. There are theoretical principles and movement principles that permeate the all of the movements within the Pilates repertoire. These principles give the method it’s efficacy and power, and are what separates Pilates from other forms of mind-body fitness.

The following are lists of both sets of principles. Today I'll speak a bit to both groups, and in later posts I'll explain each in a bit more detail.

First, the theoretical principles:

1. Awareness
2. Balance
3. Breath
4. Centering
5. Concentration
6. Control
7. Efficiency
8. Flow
9. Precision
10. Harmony

These principles support, infuse and bring to life each Pilates movement and lesson. When you begin to practice Pilates regularly, you will experience physical manifestations of these principles within your practice time, and over time, they will begin to permeate your movement and your being, outside the studio.

The movement principles, on the other hand, are purely physical, and are largely the reason why Pilates is found to be such a wonderful complement within traditional rehabilitation and athletic training programs. The movement principles are as follows:

1. Neutral pelvic positioning  and pelvic stability
2. Abdominal and deep core muscle activation and strengthening
3. Posterior lateral breathing
4. Full range of motion of joints
5. Scapular stability
6. Spinal mobility
7. Stretching and myofacial release

In every Pilates lesson, many or all of these principles should be emphasized. Greater importance may be placed on one over another, depending on the needs of the student, the lesson plan or the teacher’s “pet principle” and training background. Each of these principles is powerful and complex, and once grasped can effect profound change.

Happy practicing!  

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