Pilates Align Program Guide
If you’re new to the practice, we’ve created a nine week program with our Pilates Align classes where each week covers a different principle.
It’s a chance to get back to basics, build from the foundations up, and is both a great introduction for new students and a refinement course for those with a regular practice.
The program covers all the exercises in the repertoire broken down into leg and footwork, hands in straps, feet in straps (including spinal articulation), lunge work, hip disassociation, lateral work and hands on bar work, short and long box work, arm work, and hip abduction and adduction work.
Leg and Footwork
Pilates Principle: Concentration
Concentration is ‘mindfulness’. Concentrating on each movement, on each breath and each exercise trains the mind to stay present in the body and therefore in the moment. To concentrate like this requires lazed-like focus which is challenging at first but over time will become something that you are able to take out into every aspect of your life. This Method is masterful in building ones concentration. Being able to focus on each and every thing we do with full focus/concentration is a valuable skill.
KEY ELEMENTS :
Foot alignment (pronating, supinating)
- Leg alignment (kneecap aligned with middle toes)
- Pilates Breathing
- Neutral Pelvis
- Hamstring activation
- Pelvic Stability
Hands in Straps Work
Pilates Principle: Breathing
Fully exhale by squeezing all the air out of the lungs like wringing a towel dry. This then encourages oxygen to fill the lungs and body supplying rich nutrients to your cells. Breathe in to the point before strain, fully exhale wringing the lungs out using the abdominals to empty. Fill the lungs and ribcage without tensing the neck and puffing out the abdomen. One must be able to fully breath whilst keeping the corset engaged and neck soft.
- Lat Pulldown Series
- Rowing Front/Rowing Back variations
Feet in Straps Work (including Spinal Articulation)
Pilates Principle: Control
Control every part of your body from your toes, to your fingers, from your pelvis to your neck and head. Control each breath and control each part of each exercises. This principle integrates with the principle of Concentration and results in refined, flowing movement.
- Lid-on-box/Leg lowers/Circles/High openings
- Frogs/Frogs w tennis ball/Single frogs/big frogs+reverse/low openings
- Short spinal prep/Short spinal mod/trad
- Long spinal
- Semi-circle + reverse
Pilates Principle: Centring
Your centre is referred to in the Method as the Powerhouse. This is the area from the base of the pelvis to the lower ribcage, front,back and sides and includes the buttocks. Strength, stability and range of movement from this area creates movement efficiency, grace and a pain-free body. Similar to martial arts and yoga, everything starts from the Powerhouse.
- Romanas split stretch
- Kneeling lunge/Lunge/Lunge with balance
- Splits I and II
- Russian Splits
- Reverse Split and Prep
Hip Disassociation I and II
Pilates Principle: Flowing Movement
Don’t move too slow nor too fast. Moving from your centre with concentration creates flowing movement that builds endurance and true core strength. When applying this principle you kick bad movement habits and enhance co-ordination. Pilates increases your co-ordination and ability to move your body consciously through space increasing your body awareness exponentially.
- Cat/Oblique Cat (c-curve/neutral)
- Scooter variations
- Knee stretch variations
- Upstretch I/II/III
Lateral Work and Hands on Bar Work
Pilates Principle: Precision
Precise exact movement from the placement of your hands to the placement of your head and neck. Precise placement of your pelvis and lower spine to shoulders and elbows. Precision of each exercise works hand-in-hand with concentration. A symbiotic relationship exists with these two Principles.
- Kneeling Scap Stability/Kneeling Thx ext
- Side reach
- Cobra variations
- Star/ Star with twist
Short and Long Box Work
Pilates Principle: Lengthening
To reach out through the limbs to create space in the area and leg joints. Lengthening the spine to enhance postural awareness and postural endurance. Lengthening the body throughout the practice creates space, stability and better posture. Lengthening helps activate deeper muscles and encourages eccentric contraction of superficial muscles. It also feels fantastic.
- Short box Series
- Sides on box
- Chariot Arms
- Pulling Straps I and II/triceps and variations
- Prone Butt lift/Bow
- Climb-a-tree/Leg Reach
Pilates Principle: Alignment
Pilates educates students about how they hold their body, what their natural postural habits are and teaches students how to balance their bodies bony structure. When we have correct alignment of the bones the muscles articulate and engage correctly strengthening postural deep muscles and creating energy efficiency in everything we do form walking to running, Pilates to Yoga.
- Arms on box
- Kneeling Arms
Hip Abduction and Adduction Work
Pilates Principle: Relaxation and Ease of Movement
Approach the exercises in a relaxed manner. Do not tense your body. Relax into the the movements with a sense of ease but without collapsing either. The postural muscles of the body need stamina and endurance. Exercises you once found exhausting will become easier. This is your ‘core’ building strength, this is your postural muscles building stamina.
- Skating variations
- Adductor variations