Pilates aims to strengthen the human body in a way that is even. There is a particular emphasis on core strength in the process of improving general fitness and well-being.
Pilates exercises are done on a mat. Alternatively, they use special equipment, for example the Reformer, Cadillac as well as the Wunda Chair. With its arrangement of pulleys and springs in addition to handles and straps, these pieces of apparatus can provide resistance or support. This depends on the client’s needs.
Who invented Pilates?
What we know today as ‘Pilates’ was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates. He believed that mental and physical health were closely connected.
The method that Joseph Pilates developed was influenced by western forms of exercise. These included gymnastics, boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Joseph Pilates immigrated to the United States of America in the 1920s. He opened a studio in New York and taught his method there for several decades.
Why was Pilates first called ‘Contrology’?
Joseph Pilates based his life’s work on three main principles: Breath, whole-body health and whole-body commitment. The term ‘whole-body’ means encompassing mind, body as well as spirit.
It is in the valuing of the Principles laid down by Joseph Pilates that the depth of the work is achieved. These Principles are traditionally seen as:
In Pilates, you will learn several techniques for breathing. However, lateral breathing is emphasised above all other techniques.
In this technique, draw your breath upward and out of your lower belly. Focus on redirecting your breath into the back of your body and the sides of your ribcage.
Breath is a basis of all movement in Pilates. Coordinate the exercises with inhalation and exhalation pattern. Use your breath to begin and support movement.
Keep your abdominal muscles pulled inward and upward. Taking a big inhale at the same time will help in exercise coordination.
Concentration can be seen as the conscious control of a movement or exercise. At the same time this enhances body awareness. Proper concentration permits you to do as many repetitions of a Pilates movement as you can. At the same time, concentration allows you to focus on other variables such as being in the right position, having your shoulders in the right place or making sure your back feels OK.
Breathing is the key part of centring. This is because breathing in causes our thoracic cavity to rise. The rise of the cavity pressure results in stable surrounding structures.
However, during exhalation the effect of the diaphragm relaxing diminishes our stability. That’s when it is necessary to activate our centre in order to control and support our stability as well as our movement.
Centring is vital for alignment, flow of movement as well as control over the movement. In addition, it lowers the risk of injuries. Centring also improves our range of movement. Don’t be alarmed if it takes time to understand how much centre you need in different exercises. However, it’s well worth it to focus on it and understand it well.
Control as well as precision are direct by-products of the powerful mind-body connection which is developed by proper breathing and concentration in Pilates.
When using precision as well as in a Pilates exercise, it become less about the intensity or multiple “reps” that you are doing. It becomes more about using proper form to achieve results that are safe and effective. It really allows you to stay within your body during an exercise and to move with better biomechanics.
Pilates routines are completed with an air of a gentle flow. Grace, ease and fluidity are the purpose of exercise that Joseph Pilates applied. Continuous, smooth, and elegant movement – as you transition from one pose to another – will bring you strength and stamina according to this principle.
To reap the benefits of Pilates for yourself, we recommend that you head off to the gym and try out a Pilates class for yourself!
Alternatively, check out Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Comprehensive Pilates Certification Course and see how you can become a Pilates Instructor yourself.