Beyond the Pilates Principles: The Five Parts of the Mind

In addition to Pilates Principles, there are five essential aspects of the mind that play a crucial role in our workouts. While Pilates instructors often focus on the foundational principles, the 5 parts of the mind—Imagination, Intelligence, Intuition, Memory, and Will & Desire—are equally significant. Let’s explore how each can be integrated into the Pilates world for a more comprehensive approach to exercise.


Imagination, defined as the ability to be creative or resourceful, seamlessly fits into Pilates through the cues we provide. Consider the 100 exercise, where vigorous arm pumping is essential for circulation and warming up the body. When fatigue sets in, engage your imagination by visualizing pressing down on a soap dispenser to sustain arm strength.


Intelligence, the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills, is crucial for effective Pilates practice. Take the 100, for instance, where getting into the position requires intelligence. Given the variability of the body from day to day, intelligent decision-making comes into play. Pilates veterans understand the multiple ways to approach the exercise, utilizing intelligence and continuously monitoring form during the workout.


Intuition, driven by instinctive feelings rather than conscious reasoning, plays a pivotal role in Pilates safety and effectiveness. Using the 100 as an example, trust your intuition to anchor your spine on the mat. While social media may showcase numerous variations of the exercise, intuitive guidance ensures that your body’s unique needs take precedence, contributing to a mindful and secure workout. For me, this means keeping my legs a little higher so my back stays on the mat and doesn’t arch. 


Memory, the faculty to store and recall information, aids Pilates practitioners in executing exercises with precision. For instance, recalling the correct sequence to get into the 100 is a common scenario. Instructors often observe clients recalling or learning exercises, tailoring their guidance based on memory capacity.

Will & Desire

Will, the drive to want or choose, and Desire, a strong wish for something, are intertwined in this aspect of the mind. Applying them to the 100, there are diverse approaches. Whether eager to swiftly complete the exercise or deeply desiring improvement, integrating will and desire propels you through the workout, adding a personal touch to your Pilates experience.

In conclusion, beyond Pilates Principles, recognizing and incorporating the 5 parts of the mind enriches the depth and personalization of your workout. Embracing imagination, intelligence, intuition, memory, and the interplay of will and desire, enhances both the physical and mental aspects of your Pilates journey.

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