Pilates Fundamentals: The Five Principles

Kim Wilson
Instructor Kim Wilson
Average: 4.5 (77 votes)
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Kim has a beautiful way of clearly describing the five principles of pilates. In this class she will take you through each one, teaching you how to incorporate each into your life and showing an exercise you can do to practice them and strengthen the key core muscles.

Equipment: None
Style: Gentle Yoga, Pilates, Yoga for Back Care


cali27ryan 2 years ago

Wow, this really is the best video on the 5 principles. I've never had them explained so thoroughly and to really understand what each one does and how to do them. I won't lie, they feel strange and I found them quite taxing, only because I'm not used to doing them and it feels unfamiliar. And I don't know how long I'll be doing these until they feel more natural. However, this is a great video explaining them so sending a huge thank you!

annedyne 2 years ago

This may be the best video describing pilates core muscle activation I've ever seen. I've read a lot of books and taken classes, and never has it been explained so precisely with easy instructions on how to activate the right muscles in any position.

I had spinal fusion surgery years ago and though my back is pretty sound, it is sensitive and if I'm not careful to protect it while I work out - and ESPECIALLY in yoga -- it immediately starts pinging and pinching nerves. When I use what was explained in this video, my back is quite happy. I'll be sure to come back to this one periodically to remind myself of how I should be doing it.

Gryogi 3 years ago

Thank you Kim, this is great! I feel a new body awareness in my shoulder, back, neck and tummy, which I think was missing in my yoga practice! Please, do more videos Kim!

Uhmanduh 3 years ago

I watched did this class first before trying any of Kim's classes and I come back to it every once in a while, especially when I've been out of practice for a bit. Yes, it's a lot of talking and less in the way of action, but it's important to understand the principles and to revisit them so that you keep them in mind throughout your regular practice. One should be working towards improving them all the time. This class shouldn't be a one-off; it should be revisited every 6 months or so.

kesalmen 3 years ago

I did not particularly enjoy this class and, in fact, stopped it after about 8 minutes. I want my yoga to be calming and relaxing, and there was too much talking for this to be calming and relaxing. After reading the other comments, it is clear that this is a great class. However, I would have to argue that it is not for everyone.

David Procyshyn 3 years ago

Hi, kesalmen. It's a valid comment, but keep in mind that this is not a yoga class, it's pilates. Pilates focuses more on core activation and whole body strength and for that reason it generally requires more specific cueing and a more active approach.
Take care,

Becky in TX 3 years ago

I feel that I have been doing crunches wrong for a lifetime. This was helpful on so many levels; I even hope my daughter notices a difference in my posture by my using these principles.
Clearly described, this could be beneficial to anyone who is wanting to enhance their practice and improve back health. Thanks

Terry87571 4 years ago

Kim, this was FANTASTIC! A wonderful inro to pilates. I'll be doing this a least a couple of more times. Thank You!

vasinger 4 years ago

This class really promotes awareness of essential muscles that we usually neglect when we exercise!

joshuachin 4 years ago

Aside from the fact that it does have a slight gender bias, I feel that this video is a great introduction to the world of Pilates.
Below is a paraphrased summary of the five principles and what Kim Wilson mentioned.
Feel free to correct me where I'm wrong or may have missed out on anything important.
Hope that this will help those who need it.

1. Lateral Breathing
- Engage the deep core muscles, pelvic floor.
- Breathe to expand chest and abdominals laterally.
- Purse lips while exhaling to engage core.

2. Neutral Hips
- Midway between flat lower spine and fully tense lower back.
- Engage pelvic floor and transverse abdominals (deep core) to stabilise.

3. Ribcage Engagement
- Ribcage stabilises and protects thoracic spine (mid-spine).
- Engage ribcage during arm-raising activities by preventing the ribcage from popping-up.

4. Scapular Retraction
- Neutral Position at midway between fully extending arms forward and fully retracting shoulder blades.
- Relaxes upper traps, increases engagement of lower traps.
- Opens up chest, expands body laterally through collar bone.

5. Cervical Placement
- Tuck chin until eyesight perpendicular to body, imagine string pulling from top of skull.
- Protects the neck, prevents over-engagement during activities such as crunches.