The Nine Principles of Pilates - VigorUS Fitness Shop

There are many reasons why you might want to start Pilates. It might be that you have been doing weightlifting for years now and you just need the change or you want to find an alternative to Yoga. You are at the right place. According to Alan Herdman, pilates is not just a set of exercises: it is an awareness of the way we use our bodies. 

It can seem overwhelming to employ all the principles of pilates from checking your posture and alignment to focusing on correct breathing. You should try to focus on working on one principle at a time and over time, employ two or more principles. There is no room for thinking about what your body is doing except focusing on the movement. The list below include the principles necessary in pilates:

  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Centre
  • Flowing Movements
  • Precision
  • Breathing
  • Imagination
  • Intuition
  • Coordination

Let's explain each of these principles further.


It is important that when you are performing a movement you give it your full concentration. Alan Herdman, a former dancer, teacher, author, and Pilates expert explained the mind-to-muscle connection in Pilates. He explained that your mind wills your muscle to move correctly. If you pay attention to the muscles you are using, you will create a muscle memory that will make it easier to repeat the action next time. 

pilates concentration


You need control in pilates to prevent injury from occurring. It is important not to rush through a movement. Perform each exercise slowly, deliberately, and carefully with your mind controlling the large and small movements.

pilates control


Alan explained that the muscles between the bottom of the rib cage and the hip bones are the powerhouse of the body and should help you to maintain correct posture and to control your movements. A strong centre protects your spine from injury and holds the pelvis in the correct alignment. The core is said to be the powerhouse.

pilates - core

Flowing Movements

It is very important that you perform each movement slowly; not too quickly or too slowly. Alan emphasized that movements should never be jerked or isolated. Whole sequences should proceed gracefully, with one posture flowing on from the next, rather like a waltz.


flowing movements


In Pilates, every single instruction is important and if you leave out any detail, the exercise becomes less effective. You should always check your position carefully before you begin, because if you are just a fraction out of alignment the exercise won't be as successful. Alan explained in his book that one perfectly executed movement is much better than a dozen sloppy ones. Remember the mantra 'quality, not quantity'.


precision pilates


Correct breathing helps in performing the exercise accurately. By employing full control and using the right breathing technique, you will gain the maximum benefit of the movement.

ProTip: At first, you have to concentrate on coordinating breathing with movement but, before long, this comes naturally. 




Being able to visualize the movement you want to make in your mind's eye will help you to achieve it. When you can imagine the movement with your mind, the body will follow. 




Pilates teaches you to listen to your body and feel what is good for it and what could be harmful. On some days you will be more able and on other days less so. You can tailor your routine to accommodate this. Perhaps you need to spend more time stretching one area and loosening the muscles in another. The more you train your intuition, the better you will get.



When you are moving one part of the body, you should always be mindful of the whole body. Make sure you maintain a good posture at all times and that you develop muscle uniformly. 




You can read more on the origins of Pilates by clicking the link below:

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