What is it?
Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates was formed by Joe during the First World War with the intention to improve the rehabilitation program for casualties. During this period, Pilates was designed to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising key muscles.
Joseph used to say: ‘When I am dead, they’ll say “He was right”. I’m fifty years ahead of my time’.
And he was.
Joe preferred fewer, more precise movements, requiring control and technique over increased repetition. He believed that mental and physical health were essential to one another, creating what is a method of total body conditioning. Pilates uses correct alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement (the Pilates principles) to establish a perfect working body from the inside out.
Pilates classes build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone with an emphasis on lengthening the body and aligning the spine, rather than on bulking and shortening the muscles.
Pilates has a focus on the core which can basically be thought of as the ‘powerhouse’ of your body. Your core is the area between your shoulders and your pelvis and encompasses all the muscles within this area. These include the essential intrinsic core muscles of the Transverse Abdominus, Pelvic Floor and Multifidus. In Pilates we will work together to establish good habits for healthy and appropriate firing of these vital support systems, and look at the ways in which this can lessen strain throughout the entire body.
Because of its core focus, Pilates is popular not only in the field of fitness, but also in rehabilitation. It can be used to progress individuals through movements that represent their day-to-day activities. The focus on strengthening the core and improving postural awareness are especially well indicated for the alleviation and prevention of back, neck and joint pain.
What are the benefits?
Pilates is an amazing practice. With regular practice, it can transform you in simple and profound ways.
During Pilates movements, the focus on strengthening and lengthening the muscles at the same time produces long, lean, strong overall muscle tone that doesn’t create bulk. It helps us become stronger and more efficient as we move, and frees us from problematic holding patterns which may have been causing congestion or dysfunction.
You can expect overall streamlining of your body, greatly improved flexibility and increased mobility. Alignment and postural correction will allow you to hold yourself differently, stand taller, sit straighter and move with better balance and coordination.
The work cultivates inner strength and heightened body awareness as it challenges you become in tune with the subtleties of your individual needs. It fosters a deep connection between mind and body and a quiet focus on the breath. It calms stress. By stimulating the body systems and flushing waste, it eliminates toxins and increases metabolism. When doing pilates, clients often talk of a “Pilates Buzz” –a sort of energized, focused high that comes from spending an hour with breath, body, mind, and movement. Pilates isn’t the type of workout where you leave feeling tired and disheveled. Instead you will leave with increased energy levels, a clear, focused mindset and a body that feels strong and agile.
I look forward to meeting you in the studio.