• Melissa Connolly

6 Pilates Principals

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

6 Principals and benefits of Pilates

These six principles are the foundation of the Pilates approach to exercise. Their application to the Pilates method of exercise is part of what makes this technique unique in the fitness world.


All movement in the body should originate from the center of the body. The center of your body is often referred to as your ‘power house’, and this includes your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. A strong center aids in supporting our spine and major organs, improves our posture, and is our source of energy when moving. Developing our center may prevent fatigue in our bodies and aid in relieving back pain. Centering is also a mentally centered mind. The mind is present and connected to what is required of the body so that all other principals can be executed.


Pilates was originally named ‘Controlology’ as every movement is performed with full body control. With the focus on quality of movement there is no rushing, using momentum or overexerting your body. Being in control of both body and mind is to understand and maintain the proper form, alignment and effort during each exercise.


To concentrate is to pay attention to what your body is doing. The mind-body connection is at the very core of Pilates, and the key to coordinating mind and body is concentration. Concentrate on quality vs. quantity and during each movement, stay aware, not only of the moving body part, but also of what the rest of the body is doing.


Precision is achieved by clear movements and proper placement of the body during each exercise and transition. To be precise with each movement is to have efficiency of movement with clear direction and form. Precision is the end product of centering, control and concentration.


Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. The breath is the essential link between the mind and the body. It calls for complete, thorough and purposeful inhalation and exhalation to connect mind and body. In Pilates the breath is integrated into each movement in order to keep our awareness in what we are doing and to improve the flow of oxygen to the muscles being used. Visualize the rib cage expanding front, side and back with each inhale breath and breathing out all the air on the exhale to engage the deep abdominal muscles.


The Fluidity, grace, and ease of The Pilates method makes it different from other fitness exercise techniques. The seamless transitions from one exercise to the next, smoothness and flowing movement create a dynamic and beautiful energy in the moving body.

The integration of these principles contribute to the balance, grace, and ease that one can experience as a result of practicing Pilates. Pilates can benefits all ages and activity level. It is meant to strengthen, mobilize and balance your body to move better in your daily activities whether you are a professional athlete, a 90 year old, a runner, a new mom or somebody who works a desk job. The Pilates principals will begin to seep over into your day to day activities and you will find that you are enhancing your quality of health and life.

I find that when practiced these principals really embody a mindful moveMEnt experience and at Move ME we incorporate the Pilates Principals in each of our classes including Barre and Yoga. Our exercises are effective in strengthening the body but also effective in bringing great body awareness, stress relief and help to positively enhance our moods.

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