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Exercise is a critical factor to maintaining physical health, and there are common-sense guidelines to follow, no matter what kind of exercise you do. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults should do 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Equally important are muscle and bone-strengthening exercises.

Pilates is a good choice because it strengthens muscles and bones using a system of controlled, resistance movement, and because it’s important to engage in activities appropriate to your fitness level and health goals. Pilates is a whole-body system of exercise that offers flexible methods, routines, and levels of intensity to meet the individual needs of each person.

If you are new to the Pilates Method, it may be helpful to keep these six, simple guidelines in mind as you begin your exercise routine.

  1. Wear comfortable, fitted clothing, such as yoga clothing, tights, leotards, or shorts.
  2. Begin every movement at your center (the Powerhouse) and build outward into the arms and legs. The Powerhouse, as mentioned in previous articles, is the area between your ribs and hips and includes your abdominals, diaphragm, gluteal (buttocks), and pelvic muscles. All Pilates exercises work the Powerhouse because it stabilizes the spine and helps you to achieve correct posture.
  3. Maintain correct breathing technique, as directed by your instructor.
  4. Maintain correct form and intensity, concentrating on the movement’s technique, rather than range or repetitions.
  5. Remain relaxed during movement. Imagine strength, coordination, and flow as generating from your energetic center, rather than tensing muscles to achieve the movement.
  6. Work within your ability. If you’re experiencing pain or too much tension while performing an exercise, stop and be sure you’re doing the exercise accurately. If the pain returns or continues, leave that exercise out of your routine or ask your instructor how to modify the exercise to accommodate your body’s needs. One of the benefits of Pilates is its adaptability for different body types and fitness levels, and virtually all Pilates exercises can be adjusted.

Do you have any questions about the Pilates method or stories to share? Please leave a comment.


Amber Lea Starfire is an author, editor, & teacher whose passion is helping others tell their stories. Author of Week by Week: A Year’s Worth of Journaling Prompts, she enjoys writing articles on a variety of topics, spending time outdoors, and living life to the fullest. Visit


Image Credit: Sean Dreilinger

Joseph Pilates’ exercise method is much more than a collection of physical exercises. Based on a strong philosophical foundation and observation, Pilates formed a core set of principles upon which the Method is built. Understanding and working with these principles will help you make the most of your Pilates practice.

  1. Centering: Pilates originates all movements from the center, or core, of your body encompassing your abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs—also known as the “powerhouse” of the body. Pilates movements begin in the center and move outward to the limbs. Large muscle groups, our spine, and organs are all supported from this powerhouse.
  2. Concentration: In order to maintain control (the next principle), it’s important to maintain concentration and remain fully aware of your body during each movement. How you perform an exercise is as important as the exercise itself.
  3. Control: Pilates movement is not about intensity but control, and controlled exercise yields the greatest benefits while protecting muscles from injury. In fact, control was so important to Pilates that he called his method “Contrology.” At first, you may find it difficult to control every aspect of your movements, but as your skill level increases through practice, you will enjoy increased control.
  4. Precision: Each exercise has a specific procedure and quality that it’s important to followed precisely. As you practice concentration and gain control, you will enjoy the increased awareness and precision with which you are able to practice each movement. You will gain more benefits from a few precise movements, than more movement done sloppily.
  5. Breath: It’s important when practicing Pilates movement to breath fully and purposefully, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Breathing is our link between the inside and outside of the body, as well as the mind-body connection. And, while breathing is normally something we do automatically without thinking, focusing on your breathing promotes awareness and helps you deliver the optimum amount of oxygen to the muscles being used.
  6. Flowing/Efficient Movement: You may be used to exercising rapidly, using jerky movements (think jazzercise and step). In contrast, Pilates, like disciplined dance forms, focuses on quality of movement rather than quantity or intensity. Quality is about tone, balance, and flow rather than repetition. By concentrating on precise and controlled movement, you will achieve movement efficiency, with a balance between muscle contraction and relaxation.
  7. Alignment: Correct alignment, stabilizing the pelvis, is an important aspect of Pilates practice, as faulty alignment negative affects your abilities to concentrate, center, breath properly, maintain correct posture, and achieve balanced, efficient, movement.

Achieve your physical best while practicing Pilates under the careful guidance of a knowledgeable instructor. Check out our class schedule providing focused, individual attention.

I welcome your comments. What do you struggle with? What would you like to learn to do better? What are your health challenges and accomplishment?


Image Credit: Toni Busch

Archer’s Pilates & Massage
575 Lincoln


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