A couple of principles were found in the original texts and footage of Joseph Pilates. This list of principles may vary slightly according to different Pilates school. However, these are considered to be the foundation of the system
Everything begins with a breath. “Breathing is the first act of life and the last”- says Joseph Pilates in his book, Return to Life Through Contrology. There are many disciplines that use breath either to enhance performance or to unite body, mind and spirit: yoga, tai chi, aikido, capoeira, ballet, swimming, etc.
Pilates uses breathing in a couple of ways: lateral breathing, set breath patterns(inhale on some phases of movement and exhale on others) and active breathing. Lateral breathing involves the expansion of the rib cage during inhalation together with a corset-like action around the middle trunk.
The Pilates practitioner must concentrate on: which muscles need to be recruited in the exercise he is going to perform, maintaining a correct spine alignment and stabilization, breath pattern. Concentration together with awareness are key to a precise movement.
In physical terms, referring to center, Pilates introduces the concept of powerhouse. However, in Pilates, centering yourself has a more esoteric connotation, meaning to feel the balance within, body, mind and spirit as one.
A high level of control means fewer and smaller errors, alignment, cordination, balance, in other words the ability to execute an almost perfect movement. In order to get control of movement, one must practice a lot.
Precision is the exact way in which an exercise is done, it makes the difference between accessing a muscle or not and achieving a goal or not.
Romana Kryzanowska, one of the Jospeh Pilates’s students, who developed her own school, called Romana Pilates school, described the method as “flowing motion outward from a strong center”.
Flow is also physically and mentally: the translation of energy into movement and the connection of one movement to the next
Rael Isacovitz says that “Movement with flow, starting with the breath and leading to the recruitment of the muscles, becomes an inner quality, which is simultaneously calming and rejuvenating”