If, snooping around, you have not yet clear what this method is and what is done in Pilates … how it is different from other “fitness” etc …and for what you have done and understand so far, you could argue that it is just a lot of abdominals, back and corrective exercises for stretching and strengthening, in short, much in common with any fitness class posture, gag, stretch and tone, etc … well, here is a further explanation !!!
First let’s remember that it is called “method”: a process to achieve a goal. That’s to say, it provides rules, principles and criteria to follow while doing it … Let’s see the General Rules, which identify the Pilates and that we should keep in mind when we get to practice exercises.
1 – Concentration
Pilates requires great attention, all the time, all over the body, for any movement, and also for what it does not move … it’s more important the “how” you are focused in making an exercise that the exercise itself .
2 – Control
“Contrology” was the name Joseph Pilates himself gave his method, muscle control, nothing ventured, during an exercise you should seek complete control of the movement, to get to work ever more deeply and to learn how to be in “control” of your body and not at its mercy.
3 – Centering
To have control over your own body, you have to have a starting point: your CENTER, a focus of Pilates. We hear words such as “CORE”, “POWERHOUSE”, “Stamina”, and usually means the whole area which includes the abdomen, back, hips, buttocks and thigh. Each movement should start from here and flow to the limbs.
4 – Flow of movement
If the movement starts from our center, well then it should flow outward, toward the arts. In an elegant, effective and coordinated way.
5 – Precision
Core principle to keep in mind each class: be specific and focused on the fairness of each exercise every time you practice, so that you don’t lose its effectiveness nor risk of performing it in the wrong way.
Look for the perfection in every movement , precise, and conscious, so that it gradually become a part of our muscle memory, and so it will turn “natural” in daily life.
6 – Breathing
Breathing is very important in Pilates and, as in yoga, is seen as a way to cleanse the body: oxygenation is a way to increase the energy flow and circulation in all parts of the body. Cleans and invigorates! Deep breathing, both during inspiration and complete exhalation. That’s why the teacher always remember how and when to breathe. Plus as explained in the basic principles,in Pilates we talk about “tridimensional, thoracic / intercostal” breath.
In this article I explained the rules to follow to make sure you practice the Pilates Method, while, in the article “The Basic Principles” I clarify what are the “rules” more practical and specific with which to face each exercise.
See you soon… Ciao!!!