What is the Pilates Method?
The Pilates method is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility, strength and balance for the total body. It is a series of controlled and systematic movements coupled with focused breathing to engage body, mind and spirit.
A Brief History of the Pilates Method
The Pilates method was developed in the early 1900’s by German-born Joseph Pilates. He believed that mental and physical health were closely connected.
As a frail child suffering from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever, he dedicated himself to becoming stronger. He improved his health and physique by studying anatomy and various forms of exercise including Yoga, Zen and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens.
At the outbreak of World War One, he was placed under forced internment and taught his fellow camp members his exercises that he had developed over 20 years of self study. In 1926 he immigrated to the US and opened a studio in New York, where he taught his method, which he called “contrology”.
Before Joseph Pilates’ death in 1967, he had developed more than 500 exercises for various pieces of apparatus that he had invented.
The Six Principles of the Pilates Method
Breath, Centring, Control, Concentration, Precision, Flow.
The application of these six key principles is the back bone of the Pilates method and sets it apart from other forms of exercise. Whether you are working out on the mat or on the larger apparatus, the Pilates principles form the intention of each exercise.
The Health Benefits include:
- Increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks
- Improved flexibility
- Improved posture (which can lessen back pain)
- Improved physical coordination and balance
- Relaxation of shoulders, neck and upper back
- Safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
- Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- Increased body awareness
- Stress management and relaxation