Pilate Principles for Beginners

By Lindsey Rodrian

Get it right and get it tight! Pilates works your core (or as they say in the practice, your powerhouse) like no other, can relieve back pain, puts minimal strain on your body, and some even say it seriously improves sex life — and these are just some of the Health Benefits of Pilates! Take a moment to familiarize yourself with Pilates’ main principles-to get the most out of your experience-before you swan dive into your first class.

Focus on your body and the movements you’re making. Pilates is not a race to the end, it’s instead a slow, powerful dance. Strengthen your mind-body awareness with slow and precise practice. You’ll get so much more out of your workout if you keep in check with your body to ensure it’s in good form and posture. This constant connection goes beyond physical benefits, as your concentration quiets your mind from any distraction, entering a meditative state!

Let’s get back to that powerhouse I mentioned earlier (your core). As you move throughout each exercise, be sure to keep your core in check. If your powerhouse is tight, all of your body’s muscle will function and develop more efficiently.

These may seem slightly repetitive, but really they’re intertwined. Instead of high intensity or repetition, Pilates calls for precision to gain maximum benefits. So get that level of concentration-and centering of your powerhouse-under control.

Take deep exhalations as each exercise is performed. Pilates’ practicers believe this helps to active your muscles, while also keeping you concentrated and controlled.

As with any muscle-memory fueled routine, you won’t walk into class perfectly nailing every pose, with effortless form and grace. You may not even be able to keep up with the pace. But that’s okay! Instead of rushing to stay with the group, take time to understand each movement and ensure that your body is in the right spot. Proper form is key, and focusing on form from the get go will ensure that once your muscles hold that memory, it’ll be the correct one.

I know that I literally just told you not to expect grace and form right off the bat, but that is in fact your end goal. As you move from each exercise, try to hone in on your inner ballerina and smoothly transition-of course, only once you’re sure you’ve nailed the proper position.