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Principles

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Concentration
Good concentration skills are an essential part of the pilates technique to ensure that the mind is focused on what you are doing and to block out all other thoughts. Some beginners may find this level of concentration difficult particularly over a session of 45mins. The aim is to be able to focus on each movement flowing into the next bringing body and mind together. Most pilates exercises are undertaken to background music which can help with concentration and aid the thought process.  

Breathing
Breathing is one of the most important underlying principles of pilates and ensures oxygen rich blood reaches all your muscles in the body. Breathing can be particularly challenging for beginners, but the general rule of thumb is to breathe out when making the greatest effort (muscle contraction). This is also referred to lateral thoracic breathing whereby the we engage the deep abdominals and focus breathing into the rib area. All pilates exercises are designed in combination with breathing technique that enables the correct muscles to work and result in the required movement.

Centering
Core stability has become increasingly recognised as an important component of modern day fitness regimes. Four key muscles make up the core: tranverse abdominals, multifidus muscles, pelvic floor and the diaphragm. Every pilates exercise is intitiated from the contraction of these core muscles, primarily the tranverse abdominals and the pelvic floor. Through out each exercise these muscles should be contracted to 30% of their maximum strenght. This allows for the muscles to tbe be trained for everyday activities such as walking or shopping.

Control
A common mistake in all aspects of fitness conditioning is the urgency to complete exercises quickly. When doing pilates it is important that movements are slow, fluent and under control. Every exercise should be controlled by the contraction of the deep abdominal muscles. Our bodies can have tendency to speed movements up when exercises become difficult which can lead to poor form and incorrect technique. A controlled movement involves making the relevent muscles and joints work to their full capacity whilst at the same time not wasting any energy.

Posture
Good posture is a simple but very important to maintain the many intricate structures in the back and spine healthy. Having bad posture will prevent the body from functioning efficiently, and will also have an effect on your balance and co-ordination. Modern day lifestyles mean that we are susceptable to bad habits. This means that our bodies will accept it as normal and can cause a whole host of issues. In pilates it is vital that we maintain a good posture throughout the exercises.

Relaxation 
it is important that when undertaking pilates individuals learn how to focus their mind and recognise areas of tension within the body.  Exercises can then be undertaken to release the tension and any accompanying body part to ensure that movements are fluid and consistent.

Quality
Correct body alignment is crucial and the positioning of the body and mastering techniques within Pilates is the key to sound execution. It is important that the last repetition is as good as the first, regardless of how fatigued the muscles are. In Pilates quality is far more important that quantity. 

Flowing Movement
All pilates exercises must be carried out in continous flowing movements which are slow and controlled. Each movement should be smooth and graceful through the contraction and relaxation phases of the exercise.

Awareness 
Being aware of which muscles are being used is vital to understand the goal of each exercise and to progress exercises when ready. We learn our body's strengths and weaknesses, which in turn brings body awareness, control and sounds execution