This is required to concentrate on the exercise and what the body is doing; this is why the mind and body are essential to perform the exercise in a place in which you are not distracted by outside thoughts, allowing you to focus on mind and body alone.
Breathing is a key point to Pilates; very hard to get right for beginners. As well as the breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, it also involves lateral breathing or thoracic breathing. This is where the oxygen is taken into the lower part of the lungs, as most people do not use all of the lungs resulting in shallow breathing,. You will hear these terms frequently in Pilates. You always breathe in to prepare and on the breath you activate core stabilisers, belly button to spine, zip up and engage. You then perform the exercise on the breath out. An easy way to remember is that on the out breath your limbs move out and on the in breath you bring the limbs to the centre of your body depending on what the exercise is designed achieve in a controlled movement.
This is the core stability, which involves the muscles around your stomach, the abdominal muscles. There are four types 1.Transverse Abdominus (TVA), which is like a girdle wrapping itself around you from the spine and connecting to the pubic bone. 2.Rectus abdominus (your abs) 3.Obilques, which are both internal and external. Centring also involves balance of your body whilst the body is still and when the body is in moving, without it we would fall over. Keeping your weight evenly balanced will create even development in the muscles, which will give you the ideal posture, therefore avoiding injuries such as back pain, neck and knee problems.
This is being aware of how you perform the exercise- giving you more strength and stamina. It is when the movement is performed to its fullest potential. This is usually lost more in the down movement of exercise, for example- lift arm up to shoulder height in a controlled motion and lower in the same speed as when you lifted it. Controlling the move is very important so you do get all the advantages and work out safely.
This refers to the skeletal structure. If the skeletal is aligned properly then muscles will be well balanced properly. This is where Pilates helps you to understand your inner body awareness, so when you perform an exercise you are getting the most from the movement. Alignment will also help your centring
6. Flowing movement
This is when there is no pause in the exercise you are performing like there is no beginning or end to each movement, so everything flows together in harmony giving you more grace. When you become more advanced in Pilates you will rest less in-between movements, allowing one movement to flow into the next. Again this will require control and concentration to achieve a continuous flowing movement.
Pilates will improve your co-ordination, which will help you link each move together to flow better. Co-ordination is often negleted in our modern world. By performing exercise to music, or dancing, you can improve in this area.
You will become good at this over time. What it means is when you perform an exercise you only use the muscles needed to execute the move and allowing the other muscles to relax, your breathing will help this as it takes oxygen to fuel the muscles that are working hard and relieves stress, whilst the opposite muscle will relax, helping you work most efficiently!