First Principles

First Principles: Important For Understanding Pilates Exercise

by Tony Dunne

Pilates is based on the concept of using your mind to control your body. It follows carefully laid out principles. These principles are well constructed and have theoretical and philosophical foundations.

Pilates has been developed and practiced for over 80 years. It’s not just a collection of exercises but experience put into practice.

A Glimpse Of Various Exercising Styles

The pilates regime is a collection and observation of different types of diverse exercising styles. As well as yoga, it’s also derived from various other posturing exercises from ancient Greek and Roman exercising styles.

Furthermore, you get a glimpse of Chinese acrobatics. However, certain inherent ruling principles are important in bringing all these elements together in pilates.

Principles of Pilates

The pilates principles involve concentration, control, centring, flowing movement or fluidity, breathing, precision and, most importantly, control of mind over matter. All these principles together contribute to the unique exercise regime called pilates.

Whilst it’s not necessary for you to have an in-depth knowledge of these principles in order to derive benefit from pilates, it is quite useful if you want to take it up as a central part of your exercise routine.

So a brief description of each principle is mentioned below:

1. Concentration

The principle of concentration, as the name suggests, requires your complete attention. Concentration on your entire body is important, although this is not as simple as it sounds and requires practice.

2. Control

Complete muscle control is taught under pilates training. Pilates cannot be performed with sloppy or haphazard movements. It’s important to exercise complete control. Each aspect of each progression should be performed in a uniform way, to achieve a smooth transition from one movement to the next.

3. Centring

The powerhouse of the body that involves the abdomen, hips, buttocks and lower back require centring while performing pilates. All the energy during exercising flows out towards the extremities. But they start from the powerhouse itself.

As your physical energy is highly exerted and concentrated, the centring of the exercises needs a strong foundation.

4. Fluidity

Pilates exercise is not isolated or static. It has fluidity. The quick and jerky movements of other exercises are replaced by dynamic energy. Speed emphasizes the grace of motion.

5. Breathing

Proper blood pumping awakens all of the cells in your body. Proper breathing provides adequate flow of oxygen in your blood and takes away waste gases. To perform pilates exercises correctly, proper breathing is essential.

6. Precision

Each movement made while performing pilates has a purpose. Each instruction helps in performing correctly; no detail can be left out, as this would mean forsaking the intrinsic value of the action performed.

Thus doing just one exercise movement perfectly and precisely is better than performing all half-heartedly.

7. Mind Over Matter

The most paradoxical method of pilates is also its central element. This requires attention to the free union of the mind and body. Complete attention is concentrated onthe body whilst a range of movements is performed.


As a beginner, it isn’t necessary to have a detailed knowledge of these undelying principles. But once you’ve explored some of the basics of pilates, and you’ve put in place a rudimentary exercise routine, you might want to delve a little more deeply into what the principles mean in practice.

You’ll gain a deeper understanding of pilates and this, in turn, will equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to make pilates a greater part of your life, with all the health benefits this will produce.

Tony Dunne is a publisher whose aim is to bring difficult-to-find information to the attention of those who want to find new and easy ways of making their lives healthier and more rewarding. See here for more information:

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