Centering is drawing everything into the powerhouse of your body, the mid-section. This includes everything from the rib cage down to your hips, pelvic floor, lower back muscles, and upper back muscles. The mid-section should be engaged when you go to do any form of movement. Proper breathing and concentration allow you to focus and take control of your body. While sitting, place your hands over your abdomen and focus on breathing into your hands as exampled by Janet in Course 1. Inhale through your nose, filling your lungs with air. As you exhale, engage your abdominal muscles and contract everything, slowly lifting your leg. As you inhale once again, place your foot back on the ground. Centering yourself helps you avoid straining muscles when making movements in Pilates and even throughout everyday life. This technique eliminates overworking your major muscles that can lead to pain and allows your intrinsic, smaller muscles to support the major muscles in your body.