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Teaching the Six Main Principles of Pilates: A Guide for Pilates Teachers

Pilates Method Principles
Six Principles of Pilates

As Pilates teachers, we are the custodians of a practice deeply rooted in a set of guiding principles. These principles not only form the foundation of Pilates but also enrich the quality of practice for our students. Over the years, some have introduced additional principles such as coordination and relaxation, which are valuable but should not overshadow the six core principles. In this blog, let’s delve into how we can effectively teach these foundational elements: Breath, Centreing, Concentration, Control, Precision, and Flow.

1. Breath Teaching Point: Breath is the life force, the energy that fuels every movement. Teach your students the importance of inhaling and exhaling at precise moments during each exercise.

Practical Tips: - Use vocal cues and hands-on adjustments to guide the timing and rhythm of breath. - Integrate breathing patterns into warm-ups to establish good habits from the start.

2. Centreing Teaching Point: The ‘powerhouse’ or the core is the centre of the body. Educate your students about engaging their core as the focal point for all movements.

Practical Tips: - Use imagery like ‘zipping up a tight pair of jeans’ to help students visualise core engagement. - Incorporate core-activating exercises early in the class to set the tone.

3. Concentration Teaching Point: Pilates is a mindful exercise. Encourage students to be present and focus on each movement and its purpose.

Practical Tips: - Use simple, direct language to keep students' attention. - Periodically remind them to reconnect with their bodies and minds, especially if you notice wandering focus.

4. Control Teaching Point; In Pilates, control reigns supreme over speed. Stress the importance of controlled, deliberate movements.

Practical Tips: - Demonstrate the difference between controlled and uncontrolled movements. - Use props like Pilates circles or resistance bands to provide feedback on control.

5. Precision Teaching Point: Every move in Pilates has a purpose and a proper form. The principle of precision calls for exact alignment and execution, which can be honed through an understanding of proprioception—the awareness of the position of one's body in space.

Practical Tips - Encourage students to close their eyes briefly during certain exercises to better tune into proprioceptive signals, fostering an internal awareness of body alignment. - Offer verbal cues and hands-on adjustments for real-time corrections that not only correct but also educate the students in their proprioceptive sense.

6. Flow Teaching Point Pilates is fluid and graceful. To instill the concept of flow in your students, encourage them to link their breath with their movements, creating a harmonious experience.

Practical Tips - Teach the technique of synchronising inhales and exhales with specific movement sequences. For example, maintaining an inhale and exhale of the same length can guide the pace and rhythm of a flow. - Use smooth transitions and cueing that incorporates breath guidance to maintain an effortless flow throughout the class.

Teaching the main principles of Pilates is not just about relaying information; it's about embodying these principles ourselves and inspiring our students to do the same. Happy teaching!

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