The 7th Principle of Pilates: MOVE!

Jumping on the Stomach on the Ladder BarrelThis week's post is an oldie but its topic has even more resonance today than when it appeared on in 2012. Read Pilatesology's original post even if you're not a member. Wanna join? Use my code Andrea30 and extend their free trial to 30 days.

My Pilates Confession for this week…

Remember your least favorite Pilates exercises we used for our little Repetition test?

Are you bored or are you better?

My few Ladder Barrel exercises have added a 4th friend: The Standing Stretches – also known to Romana's Pilates peeps as the Ballet Stretches.

And I am proud to admit I'm a bit better at them… and what about my 3 other exercises?

I'm sure I am a bit better…but it's too early to tell for sure… more repetition for me!

How did you do?

What are the ‘Principles of Pilates'?

Most all Pilates training programs – mine included – spend the first hour of the first training weekend imparting some basic information about Joe Pilates and his method.

On my first page of notes: Pilates is… (in 3 words) Stretch with Strength and Control.

Okay, cool.

Next my notes tell me what most if not all Pilates instructors also learn very early on:

The 6 Principles of Pilates:





Flowing movement


True, these 6 principles do accurately describe what differentiates Pilates from other forms of exercise.

They do not, however, come from Joe Pilates.


It's true.

Jay weighs in…

Jay Grimes points out that Joe Pilates did not come down from the mountain one day with stone tablets proclaiming the 6 Principles of Pilates.

I always laugh when he says this because I think of Mel Brooks as Moses in History of the World Part 1. Moses comes down from the mountain to announce his 15 Commandments, accidentally drops one stone tablet and quickly changes the number to “…10…! 10 Commandments!”

But Joe Pilates would have had the stone tablets, the tiny white shorts, and a cigar I think, yes?

I know, getting a little off-topic.

So if not from Joe, from whom do we get these 6 lovely principles?

Enter Romana…

The 6 Principles first appeared in The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning by Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen, two students of Romana Kryzanowska.

Originally published in 1980 (more than a decade after Joe Pilates died, yo.).  It “was the first book of its kind – bringing Pilates out of the elite studios and into the lives of millions of Americans.”

The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning

Jogging and running had exploded in the late 1970s. By 1980 a fitness craze was sweeping the country and an obsession with health, beauty, and youthfulness was having profound effects on American culture.

Students Gail and Philip met with Romana seeking specific ways to differentiate the Pilates Method from other forms of exercise.

What made Pilates special?

Certainly, the 6 principles they created are inherent in the Pilates system.

But another more important principle is missing.

Let’s call it the 7th Principle of Pilates: Move!

Who knows, maybe if Joe dropped his stone tablet other precious gems were lost as well:

“Thou Shalt Not Bang the Carriage.”

“Quiet the Clips.”

“What you don’t like, you do twice.”

Try it for yourself.

Let's follow the 7th Principle of Pilates. Move!

All those other 6 principles will happen automatically when you commit to simply move.

Concentration: You'll remember the exercises and focus on what you are doing. As you continue to move you'll have to think faster from one exercise to the next. Moving requires engagement.

Control: You'll move in a safe and effective fashion. The continual movement will challenge your control.

Centering: You’ll be toast without your stomach.

Precision: You'll maintain your form. The continual movement will challenge your precision.

Breathing: You'll most certainly have to breathe… The movement will require you to breathe more deeply and fully. I love it when this happens!

Flowing movement: OMG yes! You are moving!

All this involves TRUST of course.

Trust yourself AND the Work

Trust in Joe's work.

Trust that it is getting the job done without you micromanaging and getting all up in its grill.

Trust to let the body lead you without your mind working overtime, or over-indulging in the breathing.

Perhaps…you know who you are…


Let go.

Let go and Let Joe…awww… #pilatespunsarethebest

What's your experience when you commit to move in your workout?

I'd love to know. Share your successes in a comment below.

5 Pressing Reasons to Continue your Pilates Education

5 Pressing Reasons to Continue your Pilates Education

Romana's Pilates Continuing Professional Education Seminar with Cynthia Lochard
Garland Studios, Sherman Oaks, CA


Post-workshop on Saturday afternoon, 5pm-ish…driving south towards I-5 after first procuring a treat for the trip back to San Diego.  It's been nearly 7 hours of Pilates, friends…

Someone needs a cookie.

The left side of my ribs, the weaker, gimpy side, is definitely sore. It's been beaten into submission. Both sides of my back happily fold into the car seat.

Something has happened. Something deliciously good.

Some of it might have happened on the Short Box. Some of it even happened in the Short Box on the Mat.

Without a strap!

And all of it leads to my newest fascination: Where exactly does my head go? I mean: How to Make the Neck a Part of your Spine. Sheesh. That's a topic for many more posts to come…which leads me to Pressing Reason #1:

1. To learn important stuff that's barely on your radar at the moment

We all get feedback in our regular lessons. So we know what works well, our strengths, and also the challenges we have.

For now. But our journey includes change.

Pilates is hard and challenging because it works. It changes our bodies, our minds, even our lives. Change is never easy. Last year I changed all of my bank accounts to another financial institution and unexpectedly discovered how visceral was my attachment to Bank of America. Bank of America??!! So imagine how long it will take to consider my neck a part of my spine…with which I undoubtedly have a deeper relationship. Sigh. As we change and progress there is always more to be had.

2. To remember what it's like to be a student

We sometimes find ourselves with a new client whose impatience is palpable. They want it all now. Perfect physique. Free of any issues they have. They want to be killed by you. Immediately. In an hour. Soon they will understand more and realize they actually do not want to be killed and indeed that their Rome will not be built in a day. How many years have they been in their current iteration?

5 Pressing Reasons to Continue your Pilates Education

Thanks Joe.

‘Keeping faith with yourself.' I love the sound of that. I have to admit there are times… I am swayed…

We must become students again to serve our clients in the best possible manner. If only to remind ourselves – “Hey, this stuff is hard…” and foster some renewed empathy and compassion. A client of mine recently remarked “So when you workout, everything is easy for you, huh?”


5 Pressing Reasons to Continue your Pilates Education

3. To gain new insight about the old favorites

The Hundred. Stomach Massage Series. The Elephant. The Short Box. These “beloved” exercises have been with us since our very first lesson. How exciting to feel them change as our bodies change. How helpful for our teaching to find a new gem of information about exercises we teach every day. 

Progress can be measured so tangibly as we do our familiar exercises. Maybe today will be the day you achieve the most beautiful Elephant ever. Pilates is exciting. What will you learn today?

It's no secret that I am a great lover of all things Short Box. Cynthia had a fantastic piece of information that was a fun combination of ideas I currently work on plus the genius of Joe Pilates (love that) plus new way to view the exercises I have been doing for over a decade. It was a wonderful moment of clarity. I may even learn to Side bend more properly, or at the very least I have a new plan.

4. To remember the exercises you've completely forgotten about

Semi-circle on the Wunda Chair anyone? This time I figured out why and when I might teach it to a client. Wunderbar!

5 Pressing Reasons to Continue your Pilates Education

Also part of this Pressing Reason is #4B To try those fancy, scary exercises you've never done before.

The Headstands. The Backbends. Gondola. Control Balance Stepping Off…and getting back on again. If it scares you then Continuing Education is a perfect opportunity to learn the exercise with expert guidance. Seize the moment to work on exercises that are beyond the scope of the training program.

5. To connect with colleagues and see new and familiar faces. I am a big fan of the group lunch as well.

Arizona. California. Las Vegas. San Francisco. New York. It was a wonderful diverse group.

Thanks Trish, it was a great event.

5 Pressing Reasons to Continue your Pilates Education

Bonus #6! Up Your Game

I relish the times to reinvigorate my education. Teaching long hours for months at a time creates in me a real longing to be a student again. When will it be time to focus fully on myself and find new and deeper elements in my Pilates workout?

The value of education to motivate and re-inspire cannot be underestimated.

My colleagues and I remember back in the day when we would workout and make great preparations for an upcoming Continuing Education Seminar with Romana. We pushed and willed ourselves into top form in hope that our greater strength and aptitude would inspire Romana to take us to the next level and introduce further challenges into our repertoire. Romana could then take us deeper into our understanding, our proficiency and beyond.

Find Upcoming Continuing Education opportunities:

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