East Meets West
Joseph Pilates fused the best
from the eastern and the western disciplines of exercise,
and it is the balancing of both these worlds that binds
so many people to his method. From the East he borrowed
the philosophies of contemplation, relaxation, and mind-body
connection. From the West he borrowed muscle tone and strength,
endurance and intensity of movement. His method utilizes
the whole body, not just a part of it. There are no endless
repetitions in his method. Breathing patterns are utilized
to relax the body and make the movements feel effortless.
The Pilates Method should work with what you have. If you
are very strong or very weak, injured or in superb shape,
a Pilates session tailored to your needs will be highly
The deeper you get into the work, and the more you understand
its principles, the more the work should expand into other
parts of your life. The Pilates Method is not about compartmentalizing
your exercise quota into one or two sessions a week, any
more than it is about building up some muscle groups and
neglecting the rest. Instead this work should cultivate
an awareness of your spine, your posture, and your everyday
movements in all aspects of your life. Muscle control and
postural awareness should translate to how you lift a child,
sit in front of a car steering wheel, or bang a tennis ball
across a net. Pilates should reflect on other parts of your
life not just on how you exercise.
article by Colleen Craig has been adapted from her article
published in Alive magazine, June, 2001.
Basic Principles of
The Pilates Method
- Concentration to engage
your mind on what your body is doing.
- Control to coordination
your body so that movements will not be sloppy or haphazard.
- Centering the ability to
work from a strong core.
- Breathing to breath three-dimensionally
into the rib cage.
- Postural alignment awareness
of the position of your body at all times.
- Flow slow, supple, graceful
- Precision exact, economic,
- Stamina introduce the element
of intensity to build endurance.
- Relaxation to learn to release
the body and not to overwork it.