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The six principles of Pilates

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Pilates was founded with six key principles in mind: Breath, concentration, centre, control, precision and flow.

By building a strong foundation in each of these areas, your practice will improve, and your body will respond more effectively to the gift of exercise you are giving it.

Let’s take a closer look at each one of these principles.


Breathing is key in most exercise regimens. In Pilates, you learn that controlling your breathing is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your overall health and wellbeing.  Joseph Pilates was quoted as saying, “Breathing is the first act of life, and the last… above all, learn how to breath correctly”.


The act of Pilates itself requires concentration. You are training your body to do exercises and practice positions it’s probably not used to. Joseph Pilates instructed his students to focus solely on the movements their bodies were performing to get the maximum benefit from his exercise.


Most people that have done any amount of Pilates understand that one of the main parts of the body that it impacts is the core, or centre. This principle is key in reminding you to control your posture, helping to heal pain in your lower back, tone your core, and even assisting with breathing.


Unbeknownst to most, Pilates was originally called Contrology. Control plays one of the biggest roles in practicing Pilates correctly and efficiently. Joseph Pilates was adamant about the importance of purposefully controlling every movement and all the parts of the body when practicing Pilates. He found that this was key to maximizing both his mind and body exercise.


Precision is a key factor in all forms of exercise we practice. However, Joseph Pilates was adamant about how crucial he found precision to be. He believed this emphasis on a perfect technique and movement helped people to break down their existing bad habits and then relearn how to move in a better, more efficient way.


One of the main goals for Joseph Pilates was encouraging the body to move with ease and fluidity, even through challenging movements. Interesting fact: many of Joseph Pilates’s students were ballet students as well. This makes sense, as they practice graceful, beautiful, fluid motion. Having a good flow will come with practice and overall understanding of Pilates.