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The 6 Principles of Pilates: What are they?

Have you heard of the 6 principles of Pilates? There is some discussion as to whether these principles actually came from Joseph Pilates himself or more likely from one of his students, but they are widely regarded as pillars of good Pilates practise. They are:

*Concentration

*Control

*Flow

*Centering

*Precision

*Breathing

Understanding and giving focus to these principles in every exercise that you do, can really help to deepen your Pilates practise, so you get the most from your sessions.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be diving a little bit deeper into each of these principles and look at why they are important, and how you can use them to get more out of each exercise you do.

I have also put them up on the wall in the studio as a reminder, ready for when we start back.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next post xx

What do I wear?

Having spent many years in leotards (it was the 90’s!) and leggings, I have learned some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to dressing for exercise and in particular Pilates. You really don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive branded gear unless that is your thing, but if like me you spend most of your life in leggings, it may be worth considering a few points. And I am going to share my top tips with you here:
1. Underwear…… Ladies; a good sports bra will keep you comfortable and supported, but make sure there are no buckles at the back as these may dig in when lying on your back. Ouch.
Gentlemen; shorts with a fitted lining is a must, both for your comfort but also to prevent any “bits” showing when you do feet-in-straps. Just saying 🙂
2. Wear layers on your top-half. You may feel chilly at the start of the session but will soon get warm.
3. Avoid anything with buckles and zips (even the little zippers on the back of your running leggings), as these can dig into you (ouch again) and also damage the upholstery on the equipment.
4. Fitted clothes make it easier for your Pilates teacher to see what your body is doing, and therefore easier to correct and ensure good technique. It can be difficult to see if a knee is fully extended in baggy tracksuit bottoms, and difficult to know if your abdominals are having a little siesta underneath a baggy T-shirt.
5. If you are going to invest, then my advice is to splurge on leggings. Spending your whole class either pulling your leggings up or down is just plain annoying…we have all done it! Look for good quality fabric with a good fit and plenty of elasticity.
6. When it comes to fabric it is down to preference. If going for synthetic fibres, look for “sweat-wicking” as some man-made clothing can make it impossible to sweat and make you feel like you are wearing a plastic-bag. Natural fibres such as cotton are very comfortable, but if you sweat a lot it can get a bit clammy and may make you feel chilly. No right or wrong, just things to consider.
7. Lastly; if you have invested in your work-out clothes, you will want them to last. Never use fabric softener as it ruins the lycra, and your clothes will last much longer if you air-dry them rather than putting them in the tumbler.
You are welcome !

 

Feeling old?

Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you have been rolled up in a ball all night and need un-folding? Do you notice a bit of ankle stiffness when walking down the stairs first thing? Maybe your hips feel tight when putting your socks and shoes on?
Do you look for a piece of furniture to lean on when getting up from the floor?
Funny how stiffness and weakness just creeps up on us after the age of 40?…50?….60?
But you can function and do all the things you need to do, so it doesn’t seem that important to address. And anyway, it’s just a normal part of getting older isn’t it?
I know how important it is for you to stay active, play with your grandchildren and do your gardening, and that you are not ready to slow down yet!
Clients are often amazed when they start doing Pilates, to realise just how weak and de-conditioned they have become despite being generally “active” with daily tasks and even going on regular walks. So let me explain why this deconditioning happens even if you are a busy person who never sits still:
The body is amazing in that it will adapt itself to the demands we put on it. Put simply; if you regularly run 2 miles, your body will over time acquire the strength, stamina and flexibility necessary to run 2 miles comfortably. That’s fine if you want to run 2 miles, but it’s not enough if you want to run 5 miles and be flexible enough to do a game of Twister!
So: If you regularly walk around Trentham Lake, your body will over time acquire the strength, stamina and flexibility necessary to walk around Trentham Lake. That’s fine if you want to walk around Trentham Lake, but not enough if you want to chase after a 3-year old grand-child and be able to reach down to dust your skirting-boards!
Do you see what I mean? The weakness, stiffness and lack of stamina will show up when you do those activities that your body is not conditioned to do. Not to mention it makes you feel T-I-R-E-D!
Imagine what it would feel like to free up your joints and for your spine to have fluid freedom of movement? How good would it be if your legs felt strong enough to easily get you off the floor? For your arms and shoulders to be strong enough to lift your shopping bags in/out of the car?
With commitment and a bit of work, Pilates will keep you doing the things you love for a lot longer. And I really want to help you with that!

Anne-Marie xx