According to Joesph Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology, first published in 1945, there are six guiding principals for the exercises. Contrology is defined as “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” Through Pilates discipline performed correctly at least 4 times per week and in specific order, “Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong posture, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”
Here are the guiding principals of the Pilates Method: Breath; Centering; Concentration; Control; Flow and Precision. Interesting that 3 of the 6 principals are focused on the importance of the mind and mental discipline. Pilates saw the exercises as truly the connection of mind, body and spirit, and did not believe that you could separate the physical from the mental discipline.
Breathing: Is the first act of life and the last, our vary life depends on it. Pilates emphasized that students should use very full, deep breaths.
Centering: Joseph Pilates emphasized the powerhouse of you body which is the area between your lower ribs and hips and it includes the lower and upper back muscles. Centering the mind through focus on the core is key.
Concentration: Simply put, Pilates requires that you bring your full attention to the movements of eat exercise. “Concentrate on the correct movements EACH TIME YOU EXERCISE, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value. Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities. Contrology exercises build a sturdy body and sound mind fitted to perform every daily take with east and perfection as well as to provide tremendous reserve energy for sports, recreation, emergencies.”
Control: having control of all movements directed by the mind. Pilates famously said, “Good posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control.”
Flow: The elegance of the movement is defined as flow. Movements are performed with grace, elegance and fluidity.
Precision: Pilates emphasized correct form and alignment. Instructors are taught to use precise cueing in order to make movements more precise.
Joseph Pilates emphasized that over time the body would move according to the six guiding principals in everyday life, making the exercise something that is incorporated into a person’s overall well-being and health vs a separate activity for the sole purposes of an isolated form of exercise.