What is Pilates?

“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy callisthenics or forced contortion. “
— Joseph H. Pilates

The Pilates Method of body conditioning (originally  named “Controlology”) was conceived  by German-born Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967.)

Joe did not merely create a collection of exercises, but rather a refined system with more than seventy years of use and observation.  There are over 500 different exercises described in The Pilates Method, performed either on a mat or on specialized equipment using springs for resistance.

The first generation of teachers who trained directly with Joe committed themselves to passing on his work, and they carefully laid out guiding principles for his system.  Here is a basic description of each of the six fundamental principles:

1)   CONCENTRATION:   Focus and be fully present of what you are doing.  Be aware of your entire body and breath  in each moment.

2)   CONTROL:  Concentration is key to be in control of every aspect of your movement.  Not just the large motions of your limbs, but the positions of your fingers, head, and toes, the degree of flexion or extension of your spine, the rotation of your wrists, the turning in or out of your hips and legs.

3)  CENTERING:  Your center,”core” or “Power House” is the focal point of the Pilates Method.  Strengthening your central muscle groups engirdling the abdomen, back, and pelvis, while keeping it stretched and supple is the prime physical result.

4)  FLOWING MOVEMENT:  Graceful, flowing motion outward from a strong center.  Releasing tension in over-stressed areas of the body.

5)  BREATHING:  Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are essential in every Pilates exercise.  One must fully exhale in order to fully inhale.

6)  PRECISION:  Concentration on precision of motion and placement creates fine tuning of the body that carries over in every day life as grace and economy of movement.