In the realm of Pilates, the principles are not just guidelines; they are the essence of the practice. As teachers, it's crucial to impart these principles effectively to our clients. This blog post aims to delve deeper into each principle, debunk some common misconceptions, and explore why slower is often better in Pilates.
The Core Pilates Principles
Centre Common Misconception: Many people equate the "centre" with achieving a six-pack. Reality: The centre is actually about the deeper muscles like the transversus abdominis that work to support us. These muscles need to be trained on a lower contraction level because we rely on them for functional support throughout the day. Think of it as an "active centre" that works on a low level to provide constant support.
Concentration As a teacher, your voice can be both a guide and a distraction. While beginners may need more verbal cues, those who are past the foundational stage benefit from less talk and more action. After providing the necessary information, allow your clients the space to internalise and apply what they've learned.
Control Slower movements demand more control, which means more muscle engagement. This is not just about the primary muscles involved in an exercise but also the stabilising muscles that are often overlooked. The result? A more comprehensive workout that relies less on momentum and more on muscular effort.
Precision To highlight the importance of precision, you can play games to test people's proprioception. A fun exercise is to cross one hand to the nose and the other to the ear and then quickly reverse. This not only adds an element of fun but also sharpens awareness of body positioning and movement.
Breath Breath is the fuel that powers each movement. Holding one's breath is counterproductive; it turns the exercise into mere movement. When breath is married to movement, that's when it truly becomes Pilates.
Flow Imagine a windmill turning without stopping, a river flowing without interruption, or a bicycle wheel spinning seamlessly. That's the kind of flow you want to achieve in a Pilates session. This principle is not unique to Pilates; it's also a cornerstone in our mind-body family member, Tai Chi.
The Tai Chi Connection In Tai Chi, the concept of flow is deeply ingrained. Movements are performed in a slow, graceful manner, each flowing seamlessly into the next. The aim is to achieve a state of mental calm and clarity, similar to what we strive for in Pilates. By understanding the flow in Tai Chi, we can better appreciate and incorporate this quality into our Pilates practice. The goal is to move with such fluidity and control that the body and mind function as one harmonious unit.
Enhanced Muscle Activation When you move slowly, you're not just going through the motions; you're engaging multiple muscle fibres. This comprehensive engagement leads to better results, as it allows for a more nuanced and effective workout.
Reduced Risk of Injury Quick, jerky movements can easily lead to strains or even more serious injuries. Slower, controlled movements, on the other hand, allow for better form and safer execution. This is especially important for clients who are new to Pilates or are returning after a break.
Conclusion Teaching Pilates is an art form that requires a deep understanding of its core principles. By slowing down and paying attention to each principle, we can offer our clients a richer, more beneficial experience. Remember, in Pilates, slower is not just better; it's essential.