Breath gives life; it is the link between mind and body. Breath connects the physical, mental and the spiritual. Breath circulates oxygen acting, as an "internal shower" throughout the body, as Joseph Pilates said. Breath improves circulation and skin tone, calms the mind, relaxes the body and initiates focus. Breath coordinates every movement. Breath assists in the proper recruitment of muscles, reducing effort and increasing efficiency of any physical activity.
The Pilates Method differentiates itself from many forms of exercise by reducing outside stimulus such as music, TV, or cell phones. This intentionally creates an environment that settles the mind for focusing entirely on what one is doing in the present moment: to every inch of one's body, to the phrasing or timing of a movement, to the transitions between movements.
It is a formidable challenge concentrating on one's whole body, as it executes a complicated movement.
Control is a notion that happens at higher levels of ability. Many other Pilates principals come together in attaining the beauty and artistry behind well controlled movement. Control requires conscious practice, precision, innate understanding and mastery of one's body.
Each Pilates exercise is taught specifically, carefully and completely. This controlled learning enables the student to discover their limitations, correct weaknesses, reduce tightness and to release tension. It teaches the body to respond to the mind, to enhance physical efficiency and to build muscular strength. Learning control prevents injury.
Centering can mean physical sensation of a strong central point in the body which is often referred to in the Pilates profession as initiating movement from one's center. Today it is called core strength.
Centering can also mean an emotional or mental groundedness, a calmness of spirit or relaxation of the mind. Students often feel mental and physical well being after a workout; as well as an improved outlook after patient and persistent study of this physical discipline. This can lead to a deeply felt sense of personal strength, both physical and mental.
Precision is also a skill that takes time to master. After student experience's more rudimentary successes such as recognition of basic routines, order, exercise names, transitions, and fundamental physical skills. Precision is a result of strength, flexibility, refined muscle integration and coordination. Along with consistency of form with each repetition. It is also the basis of the corrective approach to working the body. This takes a higher level of awareness to be able to make small degrees of adjustment - which closes the loop and returns to one of the first principals of concentration.
Flow of Movement
Flow or Rhythm of movement suggests the timing of each particular movement, as well as the overall rhythm and pacing of a workout in its entirety. This can be described as seamless transitions between movements; one flowing effortlessly into the other -changing spring settings, redirecting the body into position for the next movement and executing the exercise itself with clear preparation, beginning, middle and end.