Pilates Principles

In each of the 79 Pilates classes I’ve taught over the past year, the class has completed the ever-challenging Abdominal Series, a sequence of five exercises that target the core. I walk through the studio, reminding participants to banish their boredom with the same exercises and instead find new strength and awakening in their bodies.

As we wander through this mission impossible-ish life, we don’t have someone following us, constantly pestering us with advice and inspirational phrases. We often become numb within our standard routine. If we want to experience newness and restoration every day, we can try applying Pilates Principles to our life.

Concentration. Focus on the present moment. Put your iPhone away. Get lost in a paint-by-number or bake banana bread with your absolute full attention.

Centering. You can practice centering yourself while sitting at your desk. Pull and scoop your belly button toward the spine in order to engage the core. Your posture immediately improves. Smiley face.

Control. In Pilates, participants mindfully control the muscles that lift an arm or stretch a leg. When leaving the Pilates studio and entering the classroom of life, you can control yourself but you have no control of others. Yeah, that annoys me too.

Breathing. Let’s practice now. Inhale for one, two, three, four, five. And exhale for one, two, three, four, five. Feels good, right? Repeat.

Precision. We sometimes move mindlessly about, searching for entertainment, stimulation and interaction. Try to move your mind and body with purpose each day. Find hobbies and people that contribute to your version of a precise, perfect world.

Flowing Movement. The transitional stretching between two Pilates exercises is just as important as the actual exercise. Remember that life ebbs and flows by treasuring times of relaxation and the little moments instead of just waiting for the next big event.

After carefully reviewing the points mentioned above, I recommend that you do one, none or a combination of the following:

a)   Write about a “principle” that works for you in the comment section below.

b)   Go to basic Pilates mat class on Wednesdays at 7 PM at the WAC North Shore.

c)   Ignore everything you just read and do whatever makes you happy.

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