Updated: Jul 3, 2022
Control is perhaps the most integral of the 6 principles of Pilates. In fact, Joseph Pilates originally called his work, “Contrology", the art of control of the mind over the body. Without control, Pilates just simply wouldn't be Pilates.
When you have control of your body, you will be able to move with grace, better body mechanics and a sense of purpose. Control will give you exactly what we here at Empowerhouse Pilates are all about--- empowerment.
Principle of Control
Control is the foundational principle upon which all the others like, concentration, precision, breathing, centering, and flow, are built upon. It connects all body parts to move together in a seamless, and what looks to be effortless manner. I like to call this grace. A master instructor once told me, during the traditional start of our Pilates class, to cross my arms and my legs and lower myself down to the mat with "grace and dignity". It worked!
It takes a lot of control and mindfulness to let go of tension and move your body with fluidity, grace and ease. But don't worry - you're not in training for the New York City Ballet. We're simply asking you to learn how to pull in your abdominals without tensing your shoulders!
Better Body Mechanics
Learning how to move properly is a huge part of Pilates. By listening carefully to your instructor, and with a lot of willpower, over time you will learn how to control your movements in a way that will keep your body safe. For example, in the Double Straight Leg Stretch it is easy to want to lower the legs down at least 45 degrees or lower. Our egos sometimes play tricks on us and make us think that the farther we go in an exercise the more benefit we gain. When we sacrifice control, and let our backs disconnect from the mat, we have not only lost all benefit of the exercise, but at the same time have put our spine in jeopardy. Bringing full attention to the exercise and moving with control will always keep you safe AND make you feel the burn!
The Pilates Method is quite different than other forms of exercise because of its unique ability to leave you feeling empowered. Not only do we ask you to become more present in your mind and body, which in itself has a certain power. But, then we tap into a deep connection to the center of the body(see post about Centering) which is your powerhouse. This type of strength is so much more empowering than simply having strong biceps or triceps. And on top of all that, we challenge you to gain control over all of this! To move with intention and purpose. And when you do, it feels amazing. And it might just be the one time during your day when you feel in control. Practicing Pilates may even become something you rely on in your everyday life to give you this feeling-- something that brings you a sense of calm, accomplishment and of course, control.