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THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF LEARNING PILATES

Have you ever watched a child build a tower out of blocks? When they begin, they go straight up, just as high as they can. Naturally, they don’t get very far before their tower starts to lean or fall over. As a child continues their ‘work’ and progresses, they learn to build a wider, more stable base…a foundation. The stronger and more stable the foundation, the better chance the tower has of staying straight and upright.

It is this same principle when we work in Pilates. Sure, you can jump into a class and probably do alright without knowing the principles and fundamentals, but when you take the time to learn the basics of movement, engaging your deep, stabilizing muscles, and moving with precision, you will have a much better chance of finding the true work of Pilates. These basic movements are built into what we call the fundamentals.

Fundamentals, or ‘pre-Pilates’ moves were not originally created by Joseph Pilates, but rather by the elders (those taught by Joseph). The fundamentals were designed to help clients build their awareness of finding and working from their core.

The fundamentals include: Knee sways, knee folds, ribcage arms, abdominal curls, side lying legs , 4-point kneeling.”]The fundamentals include: knee sways, knee folds, ribcage arms, abdominal curls, side lying legs, 4-point kneeling.

Within these basic movements are the tools that introduce new connections and teach clients how to move correctly. These movements are also important as it provides the Pilates teacher with crucial information on how the client moves and their holding patterns. This enables the teacher to create a session specifically targeted to assist the body they are working with and create new, efficient patterns to move through life.

Along with the fundamentals, the Pilates principles are always taught. These principles are what set The Method apart from other fitness regimes. The principles MUST be present in each and every exercise to maximize the benefits available. Only practicing Pilates in this way will give you the desired result – a change in your body.

These principles include: Breathing, centering, concentration, relaxation, precision, flow, and stamina.

The principles, combined with a good base knowledge of the fundamentals, are paramount to ones growth in a Pilates practice on all apparatus: mat, reformer, Cadillac, tower and chair. Each and every exercise, regardless of what apparatus is being used, contains at least one of the fundamentals. For example, mastering a single knee fold leads to a double knee fold, which then leads to being able to support both legs in a 3/4 bend and then a straight leg position. As the lever of the leg extends and range is increased, the powerhouse must still be able to support the lower half of the body. If the subtleties of the knee fold are missed, there will be gaps in your practice and inefficient movement will take place continuing bad habits and patterns.

If a change is what you are looking for within your body, Pilates can give you the tools to help you find strength and stability to move through life with freedom and flexibility. ‘Play’ with the building blocks we can give you. Work to stabilize your structure and move with freedom.