I am a qualified Pilates & Yoga instructor and have been practising Pilates for over 15 years. It has made a huge difference to my life and my health. I teach Pilates from Beginner to Intermediate level. I also teach Yin Yoga. You can read more about how I came to practice Pilates here.
To view my Pilates videos, see here.
Principles of Pilates
Pilates develops not only the muscles of the body, suppleness of the limbs and functioning of vital organs and endocrine glands; it also clarifies the mind & develops the will.From “Return to life though Contrology” by Joseph Pilates, 1960.
Pilates believed that deep breathing was essential for the body to work correctly. Breathing supplies oxygen to the bloodstream, which in turn supplies oxygen to the muscles and organs. Deep breathing – filling the lungs completely with air, then squeezing that air back out again – is central to his philosophy.
In Pilates, we contract our core muscles as we’re performing the exercises. As such, it is important to breathe into the sides and back of the lungs, expanding the ribcage, as opposed to expanding the belly as we breathe.
Centring is the act of engaging the muscles in the centre of your body or “core” – the area between the base of the ribcage and the base of the pelvic floor. These muscles should be active when completing all Pilates exercises.
All Pilates movements must be done with precision – it is important to hold the body in the correct alignment and to move in specific ways so that the correct muscles are being activated.
Pilates movements are done with active control – there are no passive movements. If a leg is raised and then lowered, the same conscious effort is required for both lifting and lowering the leg (i.e., we don’t allow the leg to simply fall!)
There’s a lot to think about when doing Pilates exercises – breathing, doing the exercises correctly, making sure all movements are done with control. This requires a lot of concentration! Many people who practice Pilates actually enjoy this concentration as it helps them forget about other things for the duration of their practice.
A Pilates session should flow seamlessly from one exercise to the next without breaks, with mindful movements being used to transition from one position to the next. This flow is not so apparent at Beginner level, when it is necessary to watch the teacher for instruction, but should come as your Pilates practice develops.