I've been practicing Pilates now for over 18 years and I cannot tell you how much my wellbeing, fitness and flexibility has improved from daily practice. I am fitter, stronger and less prone to injury than I was when I was a professional dancer and not only that I have more core strength now than I ever did when I was dancing professionally. Much has changed in the world of dance and sport in that time, so much so that it is now recognised that Pilates is an essential part of any dancer or athlete's cross training routine. But even if you practice Pilates regularly, are you aware of the original principles of this form of movement?
When Joseph Pilates developed his exercise regime in the early part of the twentieth century, it evolved over time as many forms of movement do, but he had a set of principles that he applied to all his work which are still taught today and I think it’s very useful to know what these are, and try and apply them to your own individual practice.
Be aware of your body - joints and muscles.
Work all your muscles in balance.
Breathe well to aid your exercise as well as relieve stress.
Concentrate on what you’re doing, be in the moment.
Control your movements in in a relaxed way to reduce tension.
Focus on your centre (core) at all times, thereby stabilising your body.
Be efficient in the ease & economy of your movement.
Flow by activating the muscles at just the right time.
Be in harmony with yourself, others and the environment.
Be precise & pay attention to the details of the exercise, enjoy the detail.
Written material and photograph copyright of Rachel Lawrence.
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