For those who have ever played competitive sports, studied an instrument or practised martial arts, you have already experienced the magic of specificity. Any task that requires attention to detail draws upon the same elements – mental and physical focus. Joseph Pilates knew this when he created the Pilates Method. The exercises he developed draw on moves from disciplines like gymnastics, yoga, body building and dance, which require tremendous concentration and a high level of precision. Pilates called his method Contrology to reflect the blend of body and mind effort required to execute the movements. Control is at the heart of it all.
Perhaps the most beneficial part of Pilates is the mental focus that makes every workout a reward rather than a chore. Running through a mindless movement regimen while your thoughts remain anchored in the mundane, is neither physically effective nor mentally rejuvenating. Come to Pilates regularly and you will experience what it feels like to be in the moment and acutely present in your body.
Looking at the physical side, the Pilates Method is defined by the precise instructions detailed for each and every move. The rhythm, placement and muscular recruitment are all clearly specified. Likewise, there is a choreographed breath pattern for every movement.
Acute precision is what defines Pilates. Each exercise is performed deliberately and specifically according to a detailed set of instructions about what is right and what is wrong. Working towards these standards is what elevates each Pilates student over time to achieve their highest potential.
The specificity required in Pilates is applicable to all types of activity, whether that be a sport like golf or running or tennis, or something more everyday like gardening or cleaning the house. Learn specificity in your Pilates practice and then apply it to your real life.
This article was developed from a piece by Alycea Ungaro on the Pilates Foundation website.