Pilates Principle #2 Centring
Pilates is focused on the activation abdominals, mid & lower back, pelvic floor, inner thigh and glute (butt) muscles. Otherwise known as your powerhouse.
During your Pilates class you should be actively bringing concentration to the centre of your body, by doing so you will be bringing a calmness to your both your body and mind as this is where the energy is derived from for all pilates exercises. When we engage these muscles we initiate movement from a stable foundation or centre. We can teach our bodies how to use our core muscles in every movement, from the Pilates Hundreds to simply sitting in your car.
Breathing is the key part of “centring”. Because breathing in gives rise to our thoracic cavity and the rise of the cavity pressure results a stable surrounding structure. But during the exhale, the effect of diaphragm relaxing decreases our stability. In pilates we cue the exhale phase to activate your centre to control and support the movement.
How we use it?
The Hundreds exercise is a perfect example: in the setup you are initially bringing focus to your centre by 'centring' your body on the mat and then, by deepening your abdominals into the mat. Your goal is to hold this physical and mindful connection through 10 breath cycles. When you breath out it is common to loose the alignment, which is why we cue to focus on your abdominal engagement during the exhale phase of the exercise.
This centring principle can be used in everyday life. For example when you are sitting in a car centre your body on your seat, drawing your centre into the back of seat. You can engage your abdominals in towards the back seat and feel more stable and strong. This creates a mind-body connection to locate your body in space.
Centring can also be mentally and physically beneficial to help you stay present in the moment and feel connected to the earth. Explore this concept in your next Pilates class or just while sitting in a car.
Centring is essential for alignment, flow and control over movements/ exercises. When you are in control this is what lowers the risk of injuries whilst improving our range of movement.
This Pilates principle will take time to focus on and will adjust with each exercise and varying levels of difficulties. Integrating our 1st Pilates Principle concentration greatly assists in centring.