top of page

Just What is Pilates Anyway?

In Amanda Curd's upcoming blog for Anchor Pilates, she explores the core of Pilates, delving into its history and principles. From Joseph Pilates' innovative foundation to the Contrology concept fusing body and mind, Amanda introduces the pivotal Pilates Principles: Breath, Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, and Flow. She then highlights Anchor Pilates' unique approach, tailoring functional exercises to individual needs. Ultimately, Amanda portrays Pilates as a life-enhancing anchor, cultivating strength, posture, and balance.


 


Learn more about Pilates and the Anchor Pilates way.

In this is Blog:

  1. What is Pilates?

  2. Contrology

  3. The Pilates Principles

  4. The Anchor Pilates difference


What is Pilates Anyway?

Learn about the history of Pilates and the founder, Joseph Pilates.

According to the Oxford Dictionary., Pilates is a system of exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness.



I think though, in order to understand what Pilates IS, we need to know where or rather WHO it came from. Here's your history lesson…



Joseph Pilates was born in Düsseldorf Germany in 1883, and was known as a frail child diagnosed with rickets and asthma. In World War 1 Joseph worked in an English hospital as an orderly where he used bed springs to help support patient limbs. This is the birthplace of the Cadillac, a piece of Pilates equipment. Following the war he moved to the USA in the early 1920’s with his wife Clara. It was in New York City that they opened their gym. In their gym, they had the classical Pilates equipment we see variations of in Pilates studios today.

He became renowned in dance community in aiding the rehabilitation of injuries from dance. Some of the dance legends were Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, and Kathy Grant. Some of these dancers went on to train under Joseph and Clara who then disseminated the broad scope of exercises to other teacher, who then taught other teachers, and so the education of Pilates still continues in this manner today.


Contrology: Physical Fitness is the first requisite of happiness

Contrology

In 1945, Joseph published Return to Life through Contrology. This is one of the quotes from that book that I believe sums it up beautifully and reinforces my "anchor to life".

"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure." Joseph Pilates

Contrology, as defined by Joseph Pilates is "complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit."

"Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit." Return to Life

Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow

The Pilates Prinicples

As outlined in return to life the Pilates Principles are the following: Breath, Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, and Flow

Breath: "Breathing is the first act of life, and the last. Our very life depends on it" In his

Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow

book, breathing is cued in every exercise presented. I will often say to clients I don't care how you breathe, but just breathe! It's one of my anchoring rules, DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!

Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow



Centering: bringing together your mental and physical focus to your core or center. To me this is your "anchor". Your core(back, abdominals, pelvic floor, and diaphragm) are your anchor to all other movements. If you don't have a strong base, how can you efficiently move your arms and legs with strength and control?



Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow

Concentration: Paying attention on what your body is doing during the exercises, making those adjustments. Look at Sara on the OOV. It's requiring all of her concentration to hold this position. This is the part when I practice I think about my mental checklist, is my core turned on, is my head in the right position, are my shoulders on my back, etc.

A quote from Joe: "Concentrate on the correct movements EACH TIME YOU EXERCISE, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value."


Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow
Control

Control: Your mind is in control of your body. I like to think of the mind being the conductor and your body is the orchestra, with so many different instruments(muscles) playing their part to act as a whole. Teaser to me is the ultimate of control, finding the balance to reach away from the core and against gravity.


Precision: Basically, it's putting all of he above concepts together, to produce the movements of the exercises.. Seems simple, but when done correctly there is no room for outside thought(anyone get lost while doing something thinking about that eternal to-do list?) To me this is the part that gets me hooked. When doing Pilates, I let go of the external stressors for awhile. Looking at Joseph Pilates below, he had to have precision to perform this exercise on the reformer, requiring both balance and strength.

Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow
Precision



Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow
Flow

Flow: Moving fluidly between one exercise into the next, and I also like to link this to the first

principle, breath. As air flows in/out, your body moves with that flow, a dance if you will.






Pilates Principles are the following:  Breath, Centering, Concentration,  Control, Precision, and Flow
Anchor Pilates Way

So at Anchor Pilates, I absolutely incorporate these principles. However, I put a very functional slant on them. Let's be real, not every exercise is meant for every body, BUT Pilates is meant for EVERY body. Breaking that down, I choose the Pilates exercises that work in YOUR body for YOUR life activities/functions. For some people that may be tennis, for some people that may be traveling and walking on cobblestone streets, for some people that might be going up/down the stairs. I use all of the tools in my tool box to get you where you need to be to enjoy your life to its fullest. As I always say, I use Pilates as an anchor to empower your strength, posture, and balance to help you anchor to life!

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page