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Pilates Principles 101 - Centring

When you come to one of our Pilates Reformer classes, you should hear the following six words pretty frequently: breath, centre, concentration, control, flow, and precision. Why’s that, you ask? Well, these words are the six fundamental principles of Pilates – the key themes that Joseph Pilates taught when he created ‘Contrology’ what is now known as the Pilates Method back in the 1930’s.

Last week we looked at the importance of 'Breath' - this week we are looking at 'Centre' or 'Centring' (or 'Centering' if you're in the US).

Joseph Pilates' definition of Centring is:

"Centering represents the act of drawing your own mental and physical focus during each exercise to the core, or center (often called the 'powerhouse'), of your body. This is roughly the area between your lower ribs and hips, although it also includes the lower and upper back muscles."

Usually you will hear one of us say something like 'find your centre' or 'centre yourselves' before you start any of the exercises - this reminds you to engage your core muscles (your stabilisers) before you make any movements with the rest of your body (your mobilisers) - in everyday speak that means getting all your deep abdominal & pelvic muscles working together in harmony. This provides stability and strength to your movement.

Putting it into Practice:

The Pilates 'Hundred' Exercise - The whole concept of this exercise is to keep your middle and centre engaged and by using long levers, arm movements or leg movements to challenge the centre of your body.

  • Lie down, clasp your hands behind your head and come into a curl up position – lifting the head, flexing the neck and flexing the mid back.

  • In the curl up position reach your arms away and move them up and down in a beating movement

  • To make the exercise more challenging lift both legs, with knees and feet together (in a table top position)

  • To add a further level of difficulty lengthen the legs away and continue the arm beats making sure the “centre” stays still and strong

Next time you’re in class, make sure you 'find your centre' before each and every exercise and you'll see the difference in your technique in no time!

Best wishes,

The Studio Team

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