The 6 Essential Principles of Pilates

Today’s Motivation Monday is from Robin Long of The Balanced Life. Robin brought us the month-long 28 Days of Pilates Challenge back in February, which if you didn’t participate in, it’s worth it to go back and do the videos. Each are less than 10 minutes long – perfect for when you need a quick exercise. Since then, we’ve been wondering more about the philosophy behind Pilates, since it’s such a popular method of exercise.

Pilates Principles

There are 6 ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES in Pilates that are important to keep in mind as you dive deeper into your practice. These principles were not created by Joseph Pilates himself, rather they were brought about by those who studied under him in an effort to preserve and spread his unique method of exercise.


This addresses the key component in Pilates that everything begins and ends with the center. Some people call this the core, others call it the “powerhouse.” All Pilates exercises are energized and powered from the center (you can read more about what “the core” includes in this post by Dr. Eric Goodman).


Pilates is not an exercise method where you can show up and zone out. One should bring their full attention to each exercise and what is going on in the body to work efficiently, effectively and with intention.
Pilates Principles


Every Pilates exercise is to be performed with full body control. Using momentum or rushing through exercises at the expense of form and function is not Pilates. Pilates requires control of both mind and body.


Exercises should be performed with precision and focus. The details matter. Working with precision will affect the muscles that you work and the effectiveness with which you work them. Failing to focus on the precise details will reduce the effectiveness of the method.

This is the beauty of Pilates. This is why we only have you do 8-10 repetitions rather than 30+. When done right, more is not better. In Pilates we work smarter, not harder.

Pilates Principles

Joseph Pilates encouraged full, intentional breathing in life and in exercise. The breath has the power to transform the body and mind. When practicing Pilates one should exercise the lungs by breathing deeply and synchronizing the breath with the movement at hand.


Pilates exercises should flow with grace and ease. Flowing through each exercise, from one exercise to the next and using all part of the body in graceful unison.

Are you familiar with the Pilates Principles? Do you keep them in mind while taking class?