Pilates, in much the same way as yoga, is the art of balance, posture, strength as well as flexibility. It is designed to tone up that core in addition to strengthening that mind-body connection. For some people, it’s a real life-saver, giving them a chance to quiet the mind, stretch out sore spots and ease away physical – and emotional – tension.
Pilates is a unique system of exercises which are designed to strengthen as well as lengthen the muscles. A series consists of floor exercises (matwork) in addition to exercises on specialised equipment. The rhythmic moves of the Pilates method promote stretched and toned muscles of the core or “powerhouse”, which include the deep abdominals and lower back muscles, as well as muscles of the shoulder and pelvic girdles
How Did It All Start?
The Pilates method was developed after Joseph Pilates – who was a nurse in World War I – developed a conditioning programme which he called “Contrology”.
This method consisted of 34 movements which were performed on the floor and intended to strengthen the body’s core. (These movements now fall under the heading of Pilates matwork.)
Later, Joseph supplemented this work by rigging up the springs on hospital beds as well as assisting patients with rehabilitation. These spring-based exercises led to the creation of his specialised equipment, which would add to his original matwork.
The Anti-Ageing Properties Of Pilates
As we get older, the body has a tendency to lose muscle mass. This phenomenon is called sarcopenia. This means that it’s important to undertake some form of strengthening exercise(s) in order to maintain muscle size and usage.
Ageing also impacts our flexibility as muscles and connective tissue become a lot less elastic. As a consequence of this, joints may stiffen. Arthritis – as well as general wear and tear in joints – may also be common problems. This results in achy knees, backs, elbows – the lot! The good news is that exercise can assist with all of the above – especially Pilates, which focuses on better movement in order to help you feel limber and stronger all round.
The Principles Of Pilates
Pilates is based on six principles. These are:
- precision, and
While students learn how to move from the body’s core, they also learn to quiet the mind as well as tune in to the specific needs of the body.
Pilates conditions the body as a whole. This is because it trains several muscles at once so that no muscle group is over or under-trained. In Pilates, the focus is on proper breathing, correct body alignment as well as purposeful movement patterns. The result is an increased awareness of how your body moves and feels in space. In addition, many students of Pilates report that they feel calmer and stand taller as a result of the practice.
If you want to deepen your practice, why not study our Pilates Instructor Course. Whether you want to become a Pilates Instructor – or just get the knowledge of a Pilates Instructor – this course will set you up on the path to success! Read more about it here.