WHAT IS PILATES?
Read about the history
Pilates (pronounced ''puh-lah-teez'') is a method of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates (1983-1967) ,who over the course of a lifetime dedicated his time to improving physical and mental health. Among many myths is the idea that Pilates was created for dancers, however, Joseph created the method on his own body and originally developed the exercises for men during World War I.
Pilates works your body’s core (the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thighs, butt, and so on). For this reason, Pilates develops much of what people need: strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, coordination, balance, and good posture; with a much lower chance of injury compared to other forms of exercise.
The Pilates discipline focuses on correct alignment, technique and precision of movement, instead of aiming for the 'high calorie burn'. With so many exercise variations and progressions, you may have a hard time getting bored with Pilates.
Pilates exercises require you to engage virtually your whole body. At times, you may try to strengthen one muscle while stretching another. The moves take a lot of concentration; you can’t simply go through the motions like you can on gym equipment. And then, for every move you think you’ve mastered, Pilates has another version that’s a little different and a little harder.
Pilates rebuilds your body through a series of low repetition, low impact stretching and conditioning exercises. Through practicing Pilates you will grow stronger in your back and core muscles. Your balance and flexibility will improve, as will your posture and energy levels. You will feel more relaxed, more supple, more aware of your body, and you will improve your general state of well-being, both mentally and physically.
...what style of Pilates will you learn in a Pilates Guru class?
Joseph laid out a complete set of exercises, which is known as ‘Classical Pilates’. The original order of the Pilates 34 mat-based exercises were released to the public in his book ‘Pilates Return to Life through Contrology’ in 1945.
Classical Pilates is practiced as closely as possible to Joseph Pilate’s original work. This means his original exercises and the order in which they were performed. A key feature of classical Pilates is the position of the pelvis in in the mat work. Classical Pilates will generally teach abdominal exercises in a “posterior tilt” meaning that, when laying on one’s back the lower spine is completely pressed into the floor, creating a tuck in the pelvis.
As a Pilates Teacher, it is vital that I am educated on the original method and the history, but due to the developments and research in the Pilates repertoire over the years since Joseph’s death in 1967, this has given teachers greater opportunities to assist clients from all walks of life. Teachers can create sequences of exercises for beginners with a controlled manner to a more dynamic, flowing and intense emphasis for the advanced practitioner. Rather than expecting all my students to fit into a rigid programme of set exercises, I design and base my classes around the students. All dependant upon capabilities, age range, individual goals etc.
Therefore, with taking the above into consideration, I teach mat-based Pilates classes with a contemporary approach (rather than classical), which refers to modified exercises and variations of the original 34 mat based exercises. Many of the exercises fit with modern research and have a heavy influence from physical therapy and bio-mechanics. This has resulted in a positive contribution to the Pilates method and made it accessible for all to enjoy the benefits of Pilates.
Every class or private 1-2-1 you attend will be different, yet the theme is always the same, and you will recognise exercises in their different forms as you advance through the levels. Sometimes we use small equipment such as stability balls, resistance rings and stretchy rubber bands to emphasise the focus of an exercise and to challenge your muscular stability.
Benefits of mat-based Pilates:
Full Body Workout
Improved Posture & Alignment
Improved Flexibility & Mobility (Joints, Spine & Muscles)
Improved Body Awareness & Mind-Body Connection
Relief from Back Pain
Injury Prevention & Restoration
You will look and feel Younger, Taller & Energised
You could call the mat-work the purest form of Pilates, since Joseph created it long before he began designing his apparatus (click here to see a video of the apparatus). You can do the mat exercises anywhere and they can take you only 30 minutes per day if you'd like yo squeeze them in as and when.