There is a fundamental concept in Pilates, the principle behind which translates well into many other areas of living. Called “navel to spine,” this process involves drawing your abdominal muscles up and in as you imagine your navel drawing toward your spine. Performing navel to spine while you exhale increases the stability of your torso and facilitates centered movements which emanate from your “powerhouse” (the girdle of strength in the center of your body).
When you grok this concept and learn to maintain it in a variety of movements you gain access to a part of you that you might not have known existed. Moreover, I’ve found this concept has many applications beyond Pilates. This postural control applies neatly to the development of a good seat in horse riding, it helps to generate a more efficient and powerful pedal stroke on a bicycle and when the principle is applied in a broader context it provides a proven model for living an expansive and generative life.
Just as the eyes are the window to the soul, specific applications of true principle provide an aperture into the vast library of wisdom which is always at hand. The application itself is finite and typically quite limited in scope, but the principle behind it is usually simple yet profound. In this case there are a variety of physical applications, but the real gravy comes when you learn how to consolidate your mental and spiritual resources to the vertebral column of your inner life.
You may have heard the phrase, “he is a man of principle.” What does that mean, really? To me it means much more than the usual connotation (the individual is a person of character or someone with strong morals). A man of principle is someone who has taken the time to examine the eternal principles of truth which underlie all creative activity. A man of principle is willing to ask the difficult questions, hear the difficult answers and remain humble, vigilant and compassionate instead of being lulled to sleep in ignorance.