In Pilates you'll hear us talk a lot about 'moving from your centre', but what does this actually mean?
Centreing refers to using your pelvic floor and abdominals (along with other muscles including your multifidus and hip flexors) to create a 'girdle of strength' or corset around the trunk.
This stabilises the trunk (including the shoulders, head, spine and pelvis) so that as we move we do so from a 'strong centre' and strengthen ourselves from the inside out. Reducing pain and tension as we move from a place of strength, precision and control.
How much we recruit the 'centre' depends on how hard we're working.
Think about your centre like a dimmer switch - the harder you work the more we draw on this engagement.
Instead of a bracing movement we're thinking of a subtle drawing in and up which we can keep engaged as we breathe and move freely. The more we breathe into the mid back, the easier it is to keep this centre engaged and use the very natural exhale to make the most of the breastbone dropping, ribs softening and centre gently engaging.
This is one of the fundamentals that we first teach in Pilates as once you can engage the muscles effectively you can then challenge this with movement and feel confident that you're moving from a place of strength. We return to this feeling of engaging the centre throughout class to keep reminding us of that all important connection as we move.
As part of our Online Membership you'll find a video on Centreing in our Resources section that you can refer to time and again to help you get the most from your Pilates sessions.