What is pilates?
"The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit." - Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates designed The Pilates Method over 90 years ago. It has now become a worldwide phenomenon with over 12 million people practicing, and the numbers continue to grow due to its effectiveness and adaptability. Read more about Joseph Pilates here.
Pilates activates and strengthens deep core muscles and conditions the entire body. It is accessible for all ages and fitness levels. The Pilates Method is based around six principles - concentration - control - centre - flow - precision - breath. Muscles are lengthened and strengthened, improving posture and overall fitness, any dysfunctional movement patterns are retrained so the body is restored to optimum physical function.
Regular practitioners of Pilates feel a heightened sense of awareness and ease in their bodies, experiencing less pain and increased mobility. It is an excellent form of exercise for people at all at stages of life. From athletes, to pregnant women and mature adults.
Pilates exercises work from the inside of the body out. First, the deep core muscles in the centre of the body are activated, then the entire musculature is integrated. Movements are slow, precise, controlled with a strong focus on the breath.
The Six Principles of Pilates
In Pilates exercises, the you breathe out with the effort and in on the return. The exhale breath helps the deep abdominals and pelvic floor to engage naturally. The aim is to keep these engagement on the inhale and to co-ordinate the breath with every movement.
Pilates requires connection of body and mind. This mindful focus keeps you in the present moment and is great for calming the mind.
Joseph Pilates called his method ‘Contrology’, because control and integration of the six principles are key.
All movements originate from the centre of the body and move outwards to the limbs. The centre of the body is commonly referred to as ‘The Core’, which is a collective term used to describe the muscles that control your spine, specifically your abdominals, waist and lower back.
Pilates exercises are flow into each other which helps to build coordination and stamina.
Pilates focuses on quality of movement and alignment, so exercises are performed in the most efficient way for the body, with minimum strain on joints and ligaments, but maximum effectiveness. For example 6 exercises performed with precision, in good alignment are worth 100 performed poorly.
What is Pilates good for?
Here are just a few examples of the wide reaching benefits of this incredible practice.
Improving core strength and stability
Improving posture, balance and co-ordination
Increasing flexibility ( very important as we age )
Prevention and treatment of back pain (read more about Pilates for back pain here)
Creating a better connection between the mind and body
Enhancing athletic performance
Re-establishing healthy movement patterns in the body after injury or illness
Establishing a better awareness of the breath and increasing lung capacity
Pilates can be adapted to provide gentle strength, flexibility and stability training or be adapted to give the most seasoned athlete a challenging workout to enhance their performance or rehabilitate a sporting injury. If, like most people, you are somewhere in between these two, Pilates will help you build strength through the entire body in an integrated way. Whatever your current movement practice or fitness level, Pilates will help you greatly improve and due to its ability to integrate mind and body, it will leave you with a greater sense of wellbeing too.
As good form lies at the core (no pun intended) of the Pilates method, it is essential that you seek the supervision of an experienced Pilates instructor. An added bonus of a practicing Pilates is that you can easily practice Pilates at home. All you need is some floor space and a skilled teacher to guide you. At My Method, we are proud to have some of the best Pilates teachers in London who are trained to work with all conditions and levels of. practitioner in the comfort of your home or workplace. Check out our impressive team of teachers here
Pilates is an excellent way to increase our awareness of our enormous physical potential and can help us reach our optimal fitness levels, regardless of where we are at today. How great is that! Now, what are you waiting for?
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