Adapting Pilates Principles to Everyday Life

Written by Kara Griffin

The 6 Pilates Principles are in place to guide the student through a Pilates workout in the most effective way. The hope is that the exercises are done in a manner that will allow the student to carry these principles off the mat. But why can’t this also work in reverse?

Whether you’ve never done Pilates before or you’ve had trouble applying these concepts to your practice, let’s think of them in more relatable terms—your everyday life.

Breath & Centering

Breath is used in Pilates to send oxygen to your working muscles and to engage the core, but on a more basic level breathing is, of course, essential for life. It’s one of the things we’re born knowing how to do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to do it correctly. Respiration is an automatic cycle, but think of the involuntary ways your body tells you to focus on your breath more—yawns, sighs, lip trills, humphs. The list goes on. Even in a non-aerobic state, your body needs deep inhalation to send oxygen to every cell and then deep exhalation to release toxins. Start your morning with some deep breathing in bed, take a deep breath break at your work desk, or have a side “deep breath” while you’re cooking dinner. Close your eyes when you do so, and your mind will feel more centered and grounded. All your little cells with thank you, and you’ll be pleased that you took a few moments during the day to just breath.

Concentration & Precision

In Pilates, concentration is used to give full attention to your muscles while they perform the technique of the exercise at hand; it is in place to rid your self of distractions. When you give your real world tasks and activities your full concentration they will be accomplished with more efficiency and precision, leaving your To Do list smaller and smaller. This can mean simply turning off your phone or logging off a social media site, and the items you check off your list will be done to the best of your ability. This principle is true for your relationships, too. Don’t be afraid to tell a friend or co-worker, “I’m busy right this moment, but I can give you my full attention in a moment.” When the time comes for you to interact, they’ll be thankful to have you fully present and engaged, and you will carry out what is asked of you to a tee.

Control & Fluidity

No body likes a control freak, so think of applying this principle only to your self. Just as control is used in Pilates to find stability that then allows another part of the body full mobility, the same is true for your life. If your personal life at home is organized and under control you’ll have more freedom to do you what you want in your free time. You’ll be able to flow from one part of your day to the next with ease knowing that you have a strong foundation to stand on. Finding the time to control the constant aspects of life like work, money, personal care and home upkeep can actually allow for more spontaneity and fun!

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