Classical Pilates: What is Pilates?

“To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life, we must constantly strive to acquire strong healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability”

The body conditioning system originally called “The Art of Contrology” by its creator Joseph Hubertus Pilates and now more widely known as Pilates can be summed up in the words of Joe Pilates:

“The Pilates Method of body conditioning is a complete coordination of mind, body and spirit."

This original and revolutionary form of body conditioning created in the 1920’s by Joe Pilates. The Method promotes a balanced development of the body through core strength (the POWER HOUSE in Pilates terminology), torso and shoulder stability, flexibility and awareness in order to support efficient graceful “animal like” movement.

All of the movements in the Method as in life should originate strong centre (Power House) in order to give full support to our spine during movement. Working through a strong Powerhouse and in conjunction with the 6 PRINCIPLES OF PILATES makes the method a different and for its time a revolutionary and unique form of body conditioning.

The Pilates Method can be practiced on a mat with just one’s own body and gravity for challenge or on one of the many different pieces of apparatus invented Joseph Pilates.

The Power House

Each Pilates exercise can be thought of as a two way stretch from a strong centre and in the Pilates vocabulary this centre is called the POWERHOUSE.

The powerhouse is made up of different groups of muscles, which during conventional workouts people find hard to recruit and strengthen during their workout, so a lot of these stabiliser muscles tend to be ignored. The muscles of the Pilates power house are: Transversus abdominus (our deepest and most important spinal stabiliser muscle, which can be thought of as a wide corset which is attached to the spine and wraps around the front of the body, this is activated when we scoop or hollow our belly), muscles of the pelvic floor (activated when we lift up the muscles of the pelvic floor), internal and external oblique’s (muscles which produce spinal rotation), inner thigh muscles (adductors), the muscles of the buttocks (gluteus), rectus abdominus (the much desired six pack muscle which everyone spends too much time trying to develop to the detriment of all of the other abdominal muscles) and finally the back and shoulder stabilisers.

The exercises in the Pilates Method are specifically designed to initiate each exercise from this strong powerhouse (centre) in order to help strengthen and stabilise these muscles of support creating a strong torso from which the body can move with balance, grace and strength.


Joe Pilates believed in an integral approach to movement synchronising the mind, body and spirit by drawing on the six essential principles of Pilates to create this balance. The six principles are: centring, concentration, alignment and precision, control, breath and flowing movement.

1. Centring
Focussed intention into the Powerhouse also known as the Dan Tien in eastern martial arts allows the student to harness the power at the energy centre of the body, from where all movement is initiated and coordinated throughout the body.

2. Concentration
Bringing full attention to the movement in order to perform with focus and dedication. By harnessing the power of the mind in this way the maximum benefits are achieved in the body with economy and efficiency.

3. Control
Regardless of the number of parts of the body that are called in to use during an exercise, each movement is performed with complete control.

4. Alignment and Precision
Accurately aligning the spine and the bones of the skeleton into their optimal positions for health then moving the body with precision whilst in this ideal alignment and placement will ultimately result in optimal muscular balance within the body thus allowing the body to move more efficiently and with more grace.

5. Breathing
By correctly using the natural process of breathing, filling and emptying the lungs completely on each breathe helps use all of a student’s lung capacity and circulates more oxygen throughout brain and body.

Coordination of movement and complete breathing throughout a Pilates workout helps balance and harness the body’s energy, as a result of which increases endurance, decreases fatigue, allowing the body to work in complete harmony creating a graceful, energising yet vigorous workout.

6. Flow
As in life where the body doesn’t pause between each movement, a Pilates workout is designed to be performed, in a flowing graceful manner totally eliminating as much unwanted movement as possible. Each exercise should flow seamlessly from one exercise to the next with the use of choreographed transitions creating a nigh on non-stop movement experience from the start all the way to the finish of the workout. 

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The Green Room was created to deliver the truest form of Pilates to the North of England, adhering to the original form and teachings of its creator, Joseph H Pilates.

Delivering exercise and tranquillity combined, good for the body, great for the soul.

With classes designed for all abilities, we really do have something for everyone.

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