Joseph Pilates developed his fitness method with one overarching goal: to give people a way to achieve "true health". He defined true health as "the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body" with a well balanced "holy trinity" of body, mind and spirit.
Principle 1: Concentration
Concentration connects your mind to your body. To work your body you must be present in your mind. Concentration allows you to pay attention to your entire body - knowing what all the parts of your body are doing at any given moment. To do Pilates movements correctly you must focus attention to your muscles, your body position and your breathing.
Principle 2: Control
Precise, controlled, even flowing movement makes Pilates different from other exercise techniques. Joseph Pilates originally names his method "Contrology" because he believed that you could become fit and healthy only if you trained your mind to control the actions of your body.
Principle 3: Flowing Natural Movement
The Pilates method is unique because of its fluidity with each exercise. Each exercise has a specific place where it begins and ends. with a seamless middle of precise motion emphasizing grace and control. This smoothness and flowing movement helps to assist the connections or transitions between the exercises.
Principle 4: Breath
Joseph Pilates designed this method to cleanse the bloodstream through oxygenation. Proper breathing guides everything you do in learning the Pilates method. The more deeply you breath in and the more fully you exhale, the better you will nourish and cleanse your body. You will find that proper breathing will help to control your movements both during the exercises and in daily life. Joseph Pilates wrote: "above all... learn to breathe correctly."
Principle 5: Precision
Precision elevates the benefits of each exercise from superficial to intense. Let your focus be to complete each exercise as perfectly as possible. Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose.
Principle 6: Centering
The large group of muscles in our center encompasses the abdomen, low back, hips, and the buttocks. In Pilates this center is "the powerhouse". All energy for Pilates exercises is initiated from the "powerhouse" center. In Pilates you use oppositional energy from your center to simultaneously engage both the muscles used for lengthening and the opposing muscles to stabilize or resist that pull. A strong center supports and decompresses your spine.