In Pilates, all movements are initiated from the centre of the body.
Have you heard about using your ‘core’? This is also sometimes called using your ‘centre’ or ‘powerhouse’. It all means the same thing: using the deeper muscles around your waist, so your spine is supported and held in good alignment.
So even before any movement occurs in any Pilates exercise, you want to activate your centre so you can maintain good control and protect your spine while moving. Because of this, you effectively work the muscles around your midriff throughout any Pilates session and this is why people typically gain a flatter stomach when doing Pilates.
To really feel in your own body what centering means, it is worth learning the fundamentals correctly and I did a short video on this, that you can watch it here:
Just while you are sitting here reading this blog, try this: Sit up nice and tall and think of narrowing the waist as if you are pulling your front hip bones towards one another while gently drawing your belly button up and in. Obviously your hip bones won’t move but you can use it as a mental image, and practise this until you can really feel your lower abdominals working. The more you practise, the more you will feel it, I promise!