I was first introduced to Pilates when Mikhail Baryshnikov suggested I try it to lengthen and elongate my body. Pilates is based on six fundamental principles concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing.
This is the practice of bringing your awareness to the center of your body—the area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. This central region of the core powers all Pilates exercises.
By focusing on each exercise with your full attention, you will yield maximum results from each movement.
Complete muscular control requires conscious, deliberate movement and is emphasized in every Pilates exercise.
Pilates exercises are not meant to be rigid. Fluidity, grace, and ease are applied to every movement. The idea is that the energy of an exercise performed from the central "powerhouse" connects each part of the body to move in a single fluid motion. Pilates equipment such as the reformer is a great indicator of flow since it functions best when a practitioner is performing movements with both precision and fluidity.
Sustained awareness ensures that each movement is precise. This means the appropriate placement of each body part, and focusing on proper alginment and core engagement.
Joseph Pilates advocated for using the lungs to strongly pump the air fully in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath since the breath is integral to the method.