The Eight Principles of Pilates
Control: One of the fundamental rules when doing Pilates is to control you body's every movement. While performing Pilates exercises, attention is
paid to the detail of the movement and attacking and ending each exercise with control.
Breath: Most people use about 50% of their lung capacity resulting in stress, improper posture, and reinforce tension habits. Consistent breathing is
essential to flowing movement and proper muscle balance. Every Pilates exercise has a specific breathing pattern assigned to it to help maximize the
body's ability to stretch and release tension in order to gain optimal body control. Deep inhalations and full exhalations increase lung capacity resulting
in deep relaxation.
Flow: Pilates exercises are performed gracefully, smoothly, and evenly. There are no movements that require momentum or static positions.
Precision: Precision is similar to control but with the added element of spatial awareness. All Pilates exercises have precise definitions of how the
body is positioned at all times. Lack of spatial awareness results in postural misalignments that become difficult for us to detect within ourselves.
Under the guidance of a competent Pilates instructor, precision of movement and body spatial awareness can be increased resulting in improved
posture and overall movement.
Centering: All movement starts from the center or the core of the body. This area of the body is sometimes referred to as the powerhouse (deep
abdominal and back muscles). All exercises are done with the deep abdominals engaged to ensure proper centering.
Stability: Stability is the concept of being able to not move a part of the body while another part is challenging it. In Pilates exercises, attention to the part
of the body that is not moving is just as important as the part that is moving. Being able to maintain a stable, neutral spine while the arms and legs are
moving results in efficient movement patterns.
Range of Motion: Range of motion (ROM) is how much movement a part of the body can perform and is related to flexibility. Pilates exercises are
designed to increase ROM in the spine or joints if there is tightness and, also, if there is too much flexibility that could result in instability. It is important
to understand the proper ROM for the spine or joints to ensure stability and prevent injury.
Opposition: Within the body, muscles or groups of muscles work as opposing pairs (antagonist and agonist). Pilates goal is to train the body to be
balanced. From this concept of opposition, Pilates exercises are prescribed to strengthen weak muscles while stretching the opposing bulky, tight
muscles in order to create this sense of balance in the body.
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