Pilates is a method … it has general rules … it is grounded on the anatomy, on a concept of the center, of perfect alignment, awareness, interaction between mind and body, control, … . wow !!! So what???
What I, “poor wretch”, have to do?? I would just like to start… and so far I’ve read who was Mr. Pilates, as it spread around the world .. and many nice words about how I have to be careful at every moment for the execution of each exercise … but how do I know if I do well or not??
Here is a first response:
there are some basic principles to keep in mind while performing movements, principles that lead automatically to a proper articular-muscular work. We found them in all the exercises, either individually or as a combination of several principles together .. an ABC of motion.
1- BREATHING, three-dimensional – thoracic/intercostal: during the execution of an exercise we always want to have an active and supported center, so we do not use diaphragmatic breathing, but the intercostal one … plus, oxygen is our fuel!
2 – NEUTRAL PELVIS, that’s to say we want to train our muscles starting from a proper alignment, to achieve a strong and stable center. Every movement should start from here.
3 – PELVIS STABILIZATION (OR HIP DIFFERENTIATION): after identifying the neutral pelvis is, now we want to be able to move our legs independently and at the same time with the support of a stable center.
4 – SHOULDER’S DIFFERENTIATION: as for the legs, even the correct movement of the arms is independent and at the same time supported by a strong center. If I raise an arm, I shouldn’t raise the shoulder, open the chest and misalign everything and … (if you want to look to the right, you don’t need to turn the whole body, right ??? … I don’t think … but we usually do not think about what we do and how we do it … in Pilates we try!)
5 – FLEXION OF THE UPPER SPINE with and without a neutral pelvis. That’s to say, how to set the head, neck and shoulders in the correct way, by performing movements like roll up and roll over. Where to feel and how to activate the muscles of the neck to prevent pain (cervical-issues), to correct bad habits .. etc.
6 – IMPRINTING of the spine Acknowledge how the spine responds to more complex movements and how to have an immediate feedback of the correctness of an exercise.
7 – BRIDGING, alignment and strengthening of the back of the body, what to look for, how to understand the position of the pelvis in this pose, how to be aware of alignment, knees, ankles and the interaction between the muscles involved.
8 – EXTENSION OF THE UPPER SPINE: how to mobilize your back, gaining flexibility and strength without overloading the lower back or shoulders (upper trapezius).
For every exercise we do, we should have clear which of these principles are involved and constantly monitor the movement, understanding which muscles are activated and how, as they coordinate with each other and how they are supported by the breath.
What I want to emphasize is that these principles are not just purely Pilates, indeed, if you saw some exercises, with a bit of imagination you can understand that every movement, is found in everyday life, usually in a more complex way, and in other sports and fitness activities ..
We are constantly moving, even when we are standing waiting for somebody, at a table with friends, always … and accustom our body to consciously moving, in the most correct and appropriate way, is equal to preserve it over time and be able to face any situation work, effort, with awareness!
“Power is nothing without control …” [Pirelli]
that applied to you means … (I leave to you the conclusions, in the thousands of nuances that it can imply!)