With many exercise techniques and programs you can switch off whilst executing the program, with Pilates exercises, every movement is a thought process and every movement is controlled by thought. It is referred to as the thinking way of moving. There is no room for mindless or careless movement within this technique.
Joseph stated above all learn to breath correctly. The movements have a specific breathing pattern that helps to create the flow and dynamic of the exercise. The breath is wide into the ribs with a full exhalation allowing the blood to re-oxygenate.
To strengthen the deep abdominal muscles that connect into and support the back. Every exercise requires you to activate and engage these muscles so that you start each exercise from the centre of the body. This technique will strengthen and protect your body. We call this using the powerhouse.
Joseph called his system Contrology and certainly you will learn to control both mind and body in order for each movement to be practiced correctly. Learning this control over the body will in time give you mastery over your movements reducing your risk of injury during daily life.
The beauty of this system is that there is always another element of precision to be found within each movement elevating the intensity of each exercise. Each time you perform a repetition you are trying to better the one before.
Daily life means the body moves continuously and within the Pilates system one movement connects to another improving your balance, control and coordination. This flow of movements means that your stamina will improve allowing more exercises to be added.