The Key Elements of Pilates
An element, the essence and characteristic of a substance, defines the very nature of the substance. We are surrounded by elements of nature.
Space: the environment in which we move
Earth: the stability required for motion
Fire: the energy needed to move
Water: the fluidity of motion
Air: the essence of breathe and its movement
Movement forms the very core of our being.
The key elements of Pilates work on our core, our powerhouse, by using the breath to generate energy. We need a stable core to have the fluidity to move when, where and how we want in our environment.
There are five key elements which I encourage my clients to incorporate in their practice and day to day life:
An essential link between the mind and the body, correct breathing is the first key element of Pilates. We must breathe from the base of the lungs to improve the flow of oxygen to the muscles. Our muscles enable us to move. Each exercise in Pilates is integrated with our breath to create awareness and focus on the movement pattern.
It is important to initiate any movement from the centre of the body, keeping the pelvis in neutral. Keeping the core engaged entails keeping the pelvis in neutral while continuing to breathe normally. Moving from a strong, stable core allows for efficient muscle recruitment and movement patterns. Pelvic stability is essential to the locomotive functions of the lower extremities of our bodies
3. Rib cage Placement
Aligning the upper and mid back in the plane of the body places the spine in neutral. The correct rib cage placement helps one breathe better and gives adequate space for the major organs in the body to function properly. Incorrect flaring of the chest can cause dysfunctional movement.
4. Shoulder Blade Placement
Aligning the shoulder blade on the rib cage in the correct way paves the way for the mobility function of the upper extremities. Pilates corrects the slouch and allows for our arms to be used to their full potential.
5. Head and Neck Placement
Keeping the head and neck relaxed while maintaining the natural curve of the spine in the neck seems a minor element, but is the most important. It works the deep, stabilising muscles of the neck, taking away the physical stress which we usually associate with burdened shoulders. This key element correction lets us think and focus better.
At Moushu’s Pilates, we start each client’s first session by teaching the key elements of Pilates and the basic principles of the exercise form. Using these tenets of Pilates helps control the way you move, creating precision and the rhythmic flow of a relaxed body.
This blog is dedicated to my mother, the essential core of my being.
A writer and Pilates instructor by profession, and a lawyer by education, Tarannum is passionate about art, travel, fitness and food. She has been practicing Pilates for the past five years at Moushu’s Pilates Studio and has experienced the transforming effects of it on her body, firsthand.