The Pilates Principles: They maketh the Method
The six original principles of the Pilates Method are:
BREATHING – CENTREING – CONTROL – CONCENTRATION – FLOW – PRECISION
The Pilates Method is firmly founded in this set of principles that make the method what it is. The principles of the Pilates method not only bind the various Pilates method approaches together but the principles are the overriding philosophy bequeathed to us by the legendary Joseph Pilates.
This is the third of six articles where we are examining these Principles in greater depth so as to offer you a richer understanding of how they will guide you in your quest for Pilates health and happiness.
Remember, we are looking at the principles given in alphabetical order – they are all as important as each other!
Control refers to the ability to sustain direction over something or self. In the Pilates Method it is important to ensure all movements are executed with absolute control of the mind and body. Whether it be fast, slow, big or small movements, an outstanding concept that separates Pilates from many other ways of exercising is to ensure the whole body is the focus of control at all times.
Joseph Pilates originally trademarked his method as ‘Contrology’, such was the importance within his method of creating control over movement and self. When you exercise control of your mind and body you create good habits, good health, and preparedness for any eventuality that might come upon you.
In his book ‘Return to Life Through Contrology’, Joe Pilates tells us that through doing his method you will “..first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.”
Pilates changes the way you will think about movement, how you will move, and ultimately how strong and in control of your life you will be. There is a trick though – commitment.
Bruce King, one of the elders who studied with Joe Pilates from 1955 onward, gives us this:
“In my experience, both in Joe’s studio and in my work, the method works for the people who are willing to make a mental commitment. The principles go back to Joe, to contrology, which meant (the term Contrology) that the mind controls the body. If a person does not want to involve the mind, they don’t get much more out of it than they get out of anything else. The real benefits come to the person who is willing to make a commitment.”
Remember that to master the method, or to master any skill, you must refine control and for this practice is key. Consistently performing the Pilates exercises with the application of all the principles will wake up all the fibres in the body and bring them into a team work that will allow you to control all your movements and activities.
Just like Joe!