Original Principles of Pilates

As a Pilates Instructor I want to introduce people to the original principles of Pilates (breathing, centring, concentration, control, precision and flow) and also the widely excepted fundamentals (alignment, stabilisation, mobilisation and flexibility/stretching).  Here is a quick look at each of them.

Joseph Pilates original principles


Breathing enhances natural movement and aids relaxation.  In Pilates its important to breath in wide and full allows the ribs to open, correct breathing patterns can enhance the connection between the deep abdominal muscles, pelvis floor and diaphragm.


The centre is also referred to as the core, the muscles that provide stability allowing the body to function efficiently.


Concentration allows the mind body connection of the technique.  Concentrating on each movement and the correct use of the muscles will give balance to the body.  Concentrating on breath encourages focus and a flowing rhythm.


Control is improved with practise and it is the ability to perform each movement without excessive muscle tension – each move should eventually look almost effortless.


Precision is the key element which distinguishes Pilates from other forms of exercise.  The movements are felt much more profoundly through small corrections to alignment and execution.


The body should fluidly move through the exercises without fast and slow sections to the move but a constant flowing speed. 


As the Pilates method has evolved and research has been published new fundamentals have become integral to the Pilates technique.


Good alignment/posture is when you are placing the least strain on your body; placing minimal wear and tear on joints and correct muscle length is maintained. 

Pilates works the body in neutral pelvis, therefore allowing neutral spine.  Learning to find and maintain neutral in and outside of the Pilates session is extremely beneficial for good posture and back health.


The core can be defined as a group of deep muscles creating a cylindrical effect around the spine providing stability and support.


Mobilisation can be defined as the movement of joints and soft tissue through full range of motion.  Pilates sessions aim to move the spine through all planes, flexion, extension, lateral flexion, rotation and neutral.

Flexibility and stretching

Flexibility is the ability of the muscle and the joint to move through a full range of motion.