Pilates is an exercise technique that incorporates the body, mind and spirit. It incorporates specific breathing techniques, mental focus, flexibility, core strength, stamina and flow using a series of 60 or so floor exercises performed in a mat class, or through hundreds of exercises performed on unique equipment designed by Joseph Pilates, the German born founder of Pilates method.
The exercises balance the action of the joints and muscles in the body to ensure balanced strength, in alignment with the skeleton.The method is deemed to be safe for the body, respectful of what all of the joints were designed to do.
Pilates has become very famous in this country for rehabilitating injuries, and often athletes do some pilates alongside their normal athletic training for their own sport, to allow them to remain injury free while practicing their sport. Pilates is also very challenging, even to the elite athlete, at an advanced level. Pilates in the U.S. is more athletic, and mainly associated with dancers, as most dancers use Pilates during their careers to further their careers by avoiding in jury and maintaining a strong spine and core muscles.
When you first begin Pilates you may feel that it moves very slowly and that there is too much detail to think about. But wait!! As soon as you learn the basic techniques, the level of difficulty in the class will increase and you will find that eventually the exercises will flow from one to another, with no break, which will really challenge you when you consider you will eventually perform 38 exercises, with no stopping, in a 55 minute class!! But the emphasis is on performing the exercises correctly rather than the speed and the heart rate, so be patient and this will come!
Pilates works with 8 main principals
Pay attention, focus. it is like a meditation on your movement, work from the inside out.
Every movement you make comes from your center. A strong stable center is the basis for everything in pilates
Fluid, elegant motion replaces the jerky bounces of other exercise techniques.
The breath connects the mind and the body. You are breathing all the time, so why not learn to do it better! Don’t hold your breath during difficult exercises. Keep the breathing going and see how the deep breaths help the body move.
Pilates called his method contrology. The mind controls every muscle during the workout. no random movements!
Check your alignment before you start each exercise. As you practice more Pilates , you will develop more body awareness and you will not find correct alignment so difficult as you may do at the beginning of your new Pilates classes.
Pilates exercises are performed with relaxed strength, engaging muscles but not gripping them. This may sound difficult when you first start out, as you may feel you have no strength and you have to grip!! But as you practice more you will develop some core strength and you will not have to grip, and you will be able to perform the exercises in a more relaxed manner.
You will build up stamina slowly. Do challenge yourself, but keep within your own idea of a safe range. A Pilates workout is challenging, so you will need stamina too.