Our third Principle of Pilates is Control. But what does it mean to be in “control” and why is it so important to a Pilates workout?
Think of a time when you may have witnessed an athlete or a dancer perform. It’s immediately clear the immaculate control they possess, such precision, such effortless grace. As a spectator it’s hard not to be in awe of the incredible control their mind possess over their every movement, how they run with such determination and strength, how they seem to leap effortlessly into the air, how they seem to hang there for what seems a lifetime or how they tell a story with such precise movements.
This is of course an extreme example but it does highlight with practice and focussed attention you can gain control“over you body for immense gain.
And by practicing control you can also prepare your body for the rigours of everyday life. Think about the sorts of things you do without thinking - what happens when you lift your arms over your head to put on a teeshirt? Do your shoulders rise? Does your back arch? What about when you sit down? Do you fall into the chair or sit down with control? If you practiced the art of “control”, your mind would begin to train your body into better habits and fundamentally change the way you move, look and feel.
When Joseph Pilates came up with his original work, he referred to it as ‘Contrology’, because he believed that moving in a controlled manner worked and strengthen the muscles of the entire body rather than just one muscle group at a time.
Moving with control involves using the mind to think about what you want to do and how you are going to move, so you are consciously controlling your movements and adjusting your form when things go awry. In contrast to other disciplines Pilates focusses on a series of controlled flowing movements rather than churning out high number repetitions - and it’s harder than most might think!
By focusing on controlling your movements, you form a deeper understanding of the way you move. This will allow you to move more efficiently, build strength, stamina, stretch, tone and will also help you to minimise and prevent future injuries. Most importantly of all it will give you command of the biggest vessel you have - your body!
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