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Do you ever find yourself thinking…

“How is lying on this roller and lifting my leg up helping to improve my golf game?”


“The other instructor told me to put my arms in the air for this exercise, so why aren’t I doing it this time?”


“How will I ever be able to do … (insert exercise here)…”


These are the types of questions we and our clients have encountered time and time again over the past 10 years.

Through our experience in teaching, as well as within our own personal Pilates training, a few common themes have emerged that provide the framework for healthy movement. And these themes hold true, from rehabilitation through to the high-level performance stages (although the emphasis may shift).

These common themes are largely covered within the Principles of Pilates, which form the basis of Pilates technique, and any Pilates exercise can be broken down or described through these principles.

It should be noted that different Pilates schools will have slightly different variations but the underlying themes are consistent.

Pilates Principles

List of the principles from Polestar Pilates.

  1. Breath
  2. Core control
  3. Spinal articulation
  4. Head, neck and shoulder organisation
  5. Weight-bearing limb alignment
  6. Movement integration

Understanding these principles will help you understand the ‘why’ behind ‘what’ you are doing in your Pilates session, and this is essential to get the most out of whatever you do.


Why you should focus on the Pilates Principles:

  • It’s easier to understand a handful of principles, relative to memorizing hundreds of different exercises (even thousands, if variations are included).
  • Advanced exercises are just a combination of the principles put together. If one or more of the basic building blocks are missing, advanced movements will be very difficult to achieve.
  • The connection between Pilates and injury, Pilates and other movement disciplines; Pilates and sporting performance; and Pilates and personal movement goals, are easier to see when you understand the Pilates Principles.

So, don’t be afraid to talk to your Pilates instructor or physiotherapist about the Principles, so that you can learn how they relate to the individual Pilates exercises you’re doing, and your health and wellbeing.

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