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Mike Duray discusses what we as Pilates teachers mean by the term Quality of Movement.

Everyone, especially your teacher, strives to improve their quality of movement.

Defining quality of movement can be elusive, difficult to define or describe.

You know it when you see it reflected in the performance of an athlete who has spent many long hours honing their skills.

You know it as correct movement mastered to the point of subconscious reaction.

Quality of movement begins with a clear vision of what it is that you want to accomplish. You get this from studying your instructor or someone accomplished as they perform their movement.  These images then become an ideal or goal for how to find quality in your own movement.

You also need to see and feel how your movement differs from your ideal.

You get this from visual and kinesthetic feedback from your body as you perform the movement and the verbal and touch queues provided by your instructor.

Once you have these, it’s time to go to work, adding what is essential to your movement and stripping away what is not.

To help with this, we use our six Pilates principles:

1) Centering  Physically bring your focus to the center of the body and connect your movement  with your powerhouse, the area between the ribs and pubic bone.

2) Concentration  Bring your full attention and commitment to and awareness of what you’re body is doing in space.

3) Control  Putting movement where it belongs and taking it away from where doesn’t.  Applying oppositional energy when setting up prior to each exercise, maintaining it during the movement and when transitioning to the next exercise.

4) Precision – Staying present mentally to maintaining proper placement, alignment and trajectory of all body parts during the movement.

5) Breath – Full and complete breathing ties all the body parts together.  Initiate the movement with the breath, inhale on point of effort and to create length.

6) Flow  Seek to perform each exercise with fluidity, grace and ease of movement.  Allow the energy of each exercise to flow through you body to connect all the parts.  Avoid momentum, jerky disconnected movement and abrupt starts and stops.  The Pilates equipment will act as a mirror, It should feel smooth and quiet.

Enjoy your workouts and remember, good effort brings good results!