Centering in Pilates means physically bringing focus and stability to the center of the body. We tend to think of the core as our center. More specifically the center is the area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Centering is bringing focus and muscle engagement to this region. When we engage these muscles we initiate movement from a stable foundation or center. We can teach our bodies how to use our core muscles in every movement, from the Pilates Hundreds to simply sitting in your car.
The Hundreds exercise is a perfect example: in the setup you are initially bringing focus to your center by centering your body on the mat and then, by deepening your abdominals into the mat. Your goal is to hold this physical and mindful connection through 10 breath cycles.
This centering principle can be used in everyday life. For example when you are sitting in a car center your body on your seat, drawing your center into the back of seat. You can engage your abdominals in towards the back seat and feel more stable and strong. This creates a mind-body connection to locate your body in space.
Centering can also be mentally and physically beneficial to help you stay present in the moment and feel connected to the earth. Explore this concept in your next Pilates class or just while sitting in a car.