In Polestar Pilates, everything we do is based on 6 principles of movement. These are not just abstract concepts. Instead, they relate very specifically to our health and mobility. I’ll address these separately in individual posts, but in the meantime, here’s an introduction:
Movement facilitates breath and breath facilitates movement. In Pilates, we use the breath to make movement easier – or provide an added challenge as we progress.
Joseph Pilates famously wrote “Above all, learn to breathe correctly.”
Axial Elongation & Core Control
This is essentially about good posture and stability. Creating length helps prevent compression and damaging shear forces, while placing the body in the optimal position to increase freedom and efficiency of movement.
For the spine to be healthy, we need a balance of stability (defined as “the appropriate amount of stiffness for the anticipated load”) and mobility, facilitated by control of these structures by the “core”.
(Note: “Core” means more than just your abs, it refers to the entire musculature of the trunk.)
The more you distribute movement along the spine, the more you distribute the forces (load) acting on each segment of your spine. The more those forces are distributed, the lower the risk of injury.
Probably the most famous of all quotes by Joseph Pilates states that: “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”
Organization of the Head, Neck and Shoulders
Ever had a tension headache? A stiff, sore neck after sitting at a computer all day or studying? A crick in your neck from looking up for extended periods of time? Or worse, a frozen shoulder?
How we hold our head, neck and shoulders has a huge impact on movement and function as well as breath.
Carrying your head just a bit forward of where it needs to be can double or triple the load on the cervical spine (the vertebrae in your neck)!
This may be one of the most important principles for everyday life.
Alignment & Weight Bearing of the Extremities
How and where we place and load our hands and feet, our elbows and knees etc. deeply affects the quality and sustainability of movement.
Don’t believe me? Try doing a proper pushup. Your hands are right beneath your shoulders. Now try doing the same thing but place your hands 5 inches forward, backward, or out to the side – or even place your hands unevenly. I think you’ll notice a difference.
Legendary movement teacher Eric Franklin says “Ideal alignment involves all body parts approximating toward the central axis, as much as structure permits.”
Once all those variables are in place, the question becomes: How do we achieve the necessary motor control to integrate movement of the joints in multiple planes of motion? And how do we connect this movement to the mind?
The movement of the body reflects the movement of the mind and vice versa.
This is how we progress a movement through four stages:
- “unconsciously incompetent” (e.g. you don’t realize you’re slouching)
- “consciously incompetent” (e.g. you know you’re slouching but keep falling back into bad habits)
- “consciously competent” (e.g. you have great posture but have to think about it all the time)
- “unconsciously competent” (e.g. you have great posture and don’t even have to think about it – congratulations!!!).
Ready to see how these principles can vastly improve the quality of your life and your health? Stop by for an assessment + intro session! Call or email to schedule now.