Bringing Pilates into Our Everyday Lives

Allison Broglie

You just left your amazing Iron Butterfly Pilates session. You feel energized. You feel accomplished. You feel ready to tackle the day (for those morning students) or feel grateful you were able to move your body at the end of your workday (I see you, evening students!). Beyond how good you feel after you leave a session, you might notice other benefits in your body, such as everyday life activities that are easier to move through, improved ability in other athletic endeavors, and a body with fewer aches and pains. However, have you ever thought about the benefits Pilates brings to your job or getting the most out of your every day?

One of the many benefits, but maybe less spoken about benefits of Pilates, is how our everyday lives can be transformed by some of the skills we learn in our Pilates sessions. There are six guiding Pilates Principles. These principles are attributes that are part of our regular Pilates practice. These are also attributes that can add immense value to our life.

While all of the principles can give us positive benefits outside the studio, let’s take a look at how three of them can be influential in a life well-lived.


To quote Joseph Pilates, “breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” The breath is a connection between our mind and our body. Breath is an important aspect of Pilates, for it allows us to move with awareness and brings oxygen into our lungs to support our movement.

While there is an emphasis on the breath during Pilates, the breath is something we may not pay attention to in other areas of our life. When we are stressed, nervous or feel like we have 10 things to get done at that very minute, what happens to our breath? For most of us, we start doing shallow breathing, which is having shorter inhales and exhales than normal breathing. This type of breathing increases stress. This can become a cycle- we are stressed, and we engage in shallow breathing and our shallow breathing then increases stress.

It’s fairly challenging to be calm, make good decisions and get things accomplished when we are stressed and not breathing properly. Next time you notice yourself with shallow breathing, go back to your Pilates breath, engage in that deep abdominal breathing, and start to feel your nerves calm and your body relax.


I don’t know about you, but I have a busy mind. It’s easy to let the mind wander for all the things we want to do that day. However, to be truly in the body while doing Pilates, concentration is a necessity. In order to be present with our body and to ensure our body is properly performing the exercise we are in at that moment; our mind must be in a state of concentration and focus. We must be concentrating on what we are doing at that moment with our body and not be anywhere else with the mind.

Easier said than done, right? That’s why it’s a practice! I think most of us could use some more concentration and focus in our life. With ever-increasing life demands; having to balance our families, work and home life; being overly connected with social media and technology, the ability to be able to concentrate and focus is more important than ever.

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to gain more concentration and focus is to stop multitasking. Let’s use Pilates to help us. Go back to a time when you were in a Pilates session and your mind temporarily drifted off. Did you lose track of what the instructor was saying or did you realize you weren’t performing the exercise properly? When you came back to concentration and focus during the exercise, you could feel yourself moving through the exercise properly and were engaged with what was going on during that moment of the session. Use that Pilates-focused mind to come back to the present activity you are in, the next time your mind starts trying to go in a million different directions.


It’s easy to just go through the motions, without much focus on how well we are actually doing something. While the goal is never perfection, using precision in all that we do will allow us to complete activities with more accuracy and with our intended results.

When we are focused on precision in Pilates, we are focused on performing exercises with the correct alignment, proper form, and the correct movement pattern. Having a focus on precision ensures we are getting the intended result from the exercise. For this reason, it is better to do fewer reps of an exercise but to do the exercise with precision. When we perform with precision, Pilates will feel better in our bodies, and we will grow stronger and more competent in our Pilates ability.

I think we can all see how precision plays into everyday life. We have a bunch of things on our to-do list that day and we have no idea how we are going to get them all done. We just move through the motion of getting one thing done to get to the next item on the list. We aren’t overly concerned with how well we are getting each task done as long as we get it done. This lack of concern will usually impact the quality of how well we complete the task.

Going back to how we use precision in Pilates, can help with any task we encounter. Determine what task we will be completing and take the necessary steps to get there, without skipping anything important. Moving slightly slower and with intention may not allow you to get everything done, but it will ensure the tasks you do accomplish are done well and accurately.

So maybe you thought once you got off the mat, reformer, chair, Cadillac, the skills you used during your session wouldn’t be used again until the next time you returned to the studio. If that were the case, maybe it’s time to think again! Let’s bring all that we have gained from Pilates into our everyday world, to keep growing in and outside of the studio.