The Benefits of Pilates
The MANY benefits of Pilates are easier to list as I could talk and talk about them. The real value, is how much Pilates impacts on your whole life; waking, sleeping, eating , resting, moving ...just being! If it was taught in schools, I believe the world would change for the better!
- In physical fitness it helps to develop strength, flexibility, co-ordination, speed, agility and endurance.
- It heightens body awareness or proprioceptive awareness, your own ability to 'sense' stimuli arising from where your body is in stillness and movement.
- It teaches correct muscle control and activation.
- Facilitates good function of your internal organs, in this regard we see a common thread to yoga and martial arts.
- The development of good breathing and its relative physical and mental benefits to us as a whole being!
- It maintains good bone alignment, strength and alongside that, good skeletal body comes good musculature!
PILATES is dedicated to the exploration of the concept that the human body has transformational potential for the total being.
PILATES is capable of transforming a lazy body into a vibrant body. A dull mind into an active, aware and observant one.
PILATES allows for the full exploration of the body and what it can achieve.
The History of Pilates
To try and mention everything here about Joseph Pilates would be immense. His life has been well documented and mostly accurately. For your interest and ‘need to know’ for now I will keep it brief.
Believe me that is tricky as he’s an inspiring man! I do have a habit of talking about him and why he designed a certain exercise quite a lot throughout my classes so you will always be hearing new snippets of historical facts.
Just to quote him again, Joseph Pilates said,
“Health is a normal condition; it is our duty not only to attain it but to maintain it.”
This gives you a hint as to the nature of the beast.
Okay as concisely as possible I will describe the man that has inspired me now for 12 years, even though he died the year before I was born.
Born in Germany in the 1880s, he suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever which led to him suffering from stunted bone structure and twisted limbs. This is an important part of appreciating why his system is so rigorous by nature and very often feels unforgiving. He wanted to change the physical legacy that this had given him. Only hard, committed mental focus changes your body! He had a much better word for it, “contrology”.
It was during the first world war that he was given the chance to develop his system further, during his forced internment as a prisoner of war on the Isle of Man, working with the wounded and injured.
Beyond the war he moved to New York and married Clara. His system expanded with his many varied clients attending his studio, be they famous actors, dancers, singers or simply people like you and me.
Developing more than 500 exercises the most frequent form being the “classic matwork”. Also the designing of five major pieces of unique exercise equipment. Although they are mostly taught separately these days they were designed to be combined.
What is Pilates?
The popularity of Pilates in recent years has meant that many fitness professionals are now offering Pilates inspired programmes, or in some cases combining what they call Pilates with exercises from other training regimes. This is a modern approach to Pilates.
The authentic and real Pilates method is different because it refers to the system of exercises that were originally taught and developed by Joseph Pilates, whose unique training regime has proven itself for more than 80 years as an effective and safe method of exercise.
What makes the classical Pilates method different from “modern Pilates” is it’s flow and dynamics of the movements using the transitions as an exercise, connecting all movements from one to another. It emphasizes the athletic, corrective and organic nature of the system.
It is “the art of flow” as Joseph Pilates himself would say.
A great deal of information is given out about Pilates. in simple terms, the core principles are:
- Flow or efficiency of movement