The use of breath is of the utmost importance to any exercise. It provides the necessary oxygen to the muscles at work. Pilates integrates the breath into the movement so that it flows naturally and works to assist the movement.
When movement is initiated through the center, through the powerhouse muscles, it creates stability that allows the spine and limbs to move with greater power and less effort and strain. Energy comes from the center and radiates outward.
Control and precision
Exercises should be done with great precision. Knowing what to tell the body to do help teach the body the correct movement pattern. This is closely connected with the control of the movement. Only do as much as you can control and keep the integrity of the movement intact. Always value Quality over Quantity.
Nothing about the exercises should be abrupt or shaky. When working in a state of fluid motion, the body has to coordinate both big and small muscles groups. Practicing fluid, smooth and precise movements provides you with greater range of control over the muscles.
The mind has to be focused at the task at hand. Part of the reason Pilates is also seen to be a relaxing form of exercise is that it forces the mind to be present in the moment and not drifting off to go over the long “to-do” list that’s in everyone’s thoughts. The challenge of the movements forces the student to concentrate and stay mentally involved.
Part of keeping students mentally involved is an educational process. In order to get the full results of these exercises it’s important to know why you are doing them. Keeping the intention of the movement in mind helps with the control, fluidity, and precision as well.
If a student does not understand a movement cue, how is she expected to do the movement correctly? Using visual cues has become an essential part of the Pilates teaching methods. Visualization helps keep the mind involved and remind the student to think three-dimensionally.
Lines of oppositional energy are used in almost every single Pilates exercise. These dynamic oppositions create balance and stability, seeing the body as an integrated whole not just the individual parts directly linked to the action.