Pilates method was the product of his lifelong observation of the human body and its natural functioning. His system Contrology was defined as the science and art of coordinated body-mind-spirit development through natural movements under strict control of the will.
The Pilates method combines the best of Western and Eastern traditions, blending the mind and the body and viewing them as a unity working in complete harmony with one another. The Eastern approach to exercise is calmness, being centered and whole, with an emphasis on stretching and flexibility. The Western approach focuses on motion, muscle tone and strength. Pilates adapted his techniques to suit the individual student, developing new mat exercises and designing special equipment to overcome injuries and postural problems. The Balanced Body Method of Pilates employs these basic principles :
Concentrating on the way the body moves and actively thinking about each step, you begin to notice how interrelated motions are. This trains your nervous system to choose the best combination of muscles to perform the movement.
Movements are performed with control, originating from the mind. Motion and activity without control leads to haphazard and counter-productive exercises with a heightened risk of injury.
The human body has a physical center from which all motion proceeds, called the Powerhouse by Pilates. The muscles involved are the abdomen, lower back and buttocks, which support the spine, internal organs and maintain sound posture. Virtually all Pilates exercises focus on the Powerhouse to stabilize your torso and permit you to stretch and lengthen your body. Centering promotes a trimmer waist and flatter stomach.
The exercises take you through a wide range of motions in a controlled and flowing manner. The Pilates method is a flowing motion outward from a strong center.
All movements require coordinated and performed with precision. It takes time and patience to learn the steps to each exercise. When you do you will be in command and control of your body.
Emphasis is placed on proper breathing to improve lung capacity and oxygen delivery to all cells. Breathing correctly is key to executing the exercises effectively.