The Pilates method is a system of exercises developed by the legendary Joseph Pilates. It is designed to exercise the entire body. It emphasises complete coordination of the body and mind and the correct balance between strength, suppleness and control.
The exercises develop the core muscles integrating the abdomen, lower back, buttock and inner thighs, known in Pilates as the 'Powerhouse'. This results in a strong, supple body with long, streamlined muscles (without bulk), good posture, graceful, flowing movements and proper breathing. Controlled movement on specially designed equipment helps achieve these goals. A series of ground exercises on a mat strengthen the Powerhouse and train the entire body.
What makes the Pilates method different?
Joseph Pilates believed that the basis of successful corrective exercising lay in a thorough analysis of the body, followed by controlled exercises carried out in a number of positions and not in the mindless repetition of movement. He promoted a system geared to the requirements of each individual body.
The Pilates method comprises six elements:
Pilates exercises demand focus, concentration and dedication to derive the greatest benefit from each exercise.
According to Pilates all energy for exercises is said to begin from the Powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs. All physical energy is therefore brought to the centre of the body from where it is used to coordinate movement of the extremities.
All movements in Pilates exercises are controlled and each part of the body has its own function.
In Pilates exercises every movement has a purpose and all movement is stored and saved in the subconscious. The exercises strive to place each part of the body in exactly the right position to create perfect alignment of the spine and muscles. The goal is for the movement to become second nature which is ultimately manifest as grace, strength and suppleness.
All Pilates exercises flow seamlessly into the other. The grace of the movement ensures that energy flows through the body freely.
Joseph Pilates considered correct breathing extremely important. He carefully coordinated the breathing with the movements so as to enlarge lung capacity and reintegrate the breath in the exercise.
The Pilates equipment known as the Reformer has a built in way of checking whether all six of these elements are present during an exercise. The mechanics are controlled by springs and if one of the six elements is missing, the equipment protests noisily!
Who can benefit from the Pilates Method?
Pilates is open to all, young and old, from the athletic to the office worker. It is for anyone wanting to increase strength and suppleness without creating bulk. It is ideal for those who want to improve their fitness, move with grace and maintain good posture. The Pilates method promotes physical harmony and balance for people of all ages while providing a refreshing and energizing workout. The advantages of the method are recognized by doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors. It is effective in preventing injuries and often plays an important role in the healing process after injury. The Pilates Studio is recognized by a number of health insurance providers and is included in their reimbursement policy.
What can Pilates do for you?
It can give you a strong, lean and healthy body with increased body control, regardless of your present condition. It can prevent injuries and accelerate healing. It is a challenge in the sport routine. It is the ideal alternative for those who cannot participate in conventional exercises due to high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, scoliosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity and chronic back pain.