Having a Balanced Body®
Life is Motion. Pilates is Movement for Life.™
All movement radiates outward from the center in Pilates. The center refers to the abdomen, lower back and pelvis. It is often called the “powerhouse” or “core”. The center is where power is generated within the body and it is also the source of stability and support for every kind of movement we make.
In everyday life
The term “staying centered” relates to remaining mentally calm, collected and balanced in the midst of our often chaotic lives. This applies to our physical activity as well. Learning to work from your core can help you to act in a more centered way. If you are connected to your physical powerhouse, you are going to feel strong, powerful and calm and are less likely to feel overwhelmed or out of control.
Being physically “centered” also improves athletic performance in all facets - from track to baseball. A strong connection to your core creates more efficient, safe and powerful movements. The next time you are watching an elite athlete take note how their movements often appear effortless compared to a less skilled athlete. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is a great example. He set record after record in the Olympics but hardly looked like he was breaking a sweat. This comes from learning to move efficiently from the core of the body rather than using the extremities to generate power.
Balanced Muscle Development
The ultimate goal of Pilates is to create an even and balanced musculature. This takes stress off the joints and helps generate efficient movement patterns. The eventual result is a body that will last a longer time without injury because it is not being overused or underused in any one area.
In everyday life
No one is ever perfectly balanced, but striving toward that goal can help us discover a habit that may be causing an imbalance and learning how to change it.
Balanced muscle development dictates everything we do in our everyday lives - from sitting at our desks to throwing a frisbee. Many of our activities are imbalanced by nature - like holding a child on one hip, for example. However, we can work with the idea of balance to try holding them on the other hip, or when sitting to stay centered on both sit bones rather than shifting to one side.
And, in conjunction, with being physically centered, developing a balanced musculature can help us be more stable both physically and mentally. When we are centered and balanced we are able to respond skillfully to life's many challenges rather than creating stress for ourselves and those around us.