Tuesday October 06 , 2015

What Is Pilates?

Pilates = fitness, and vitality.

As Pilates himself once said, "With body, mind, and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person."

- Joseph Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology


What is Pilates?

(Pronounced Pi-Lah-teez) Pilates is a system of exercises that strengthens and stretches the entire body.  Its focus is on centering, control, concentration, precision, breath, and flow. Centering: for the proper alignment of the body. Control: for the proper execution of a movement within an exercise.  Concentration: for the brain’s ability to connect with its body. Precision: for mastering the exercise to progress to the next level. Breathe: For the purpose of oxygenating the blood to create efficient blood flow. Flow: for the flow of movement.

As such the Pilates Method is an approach in mind & body integration. Pilates was formed by the part Greek, part German Joseph Pilates during the First World War with the proposal to improve the rehabilitation program for the many returning veterans. Joseph Pilates believed mental and physical health are essential to one another. He recommended a few, precise movements emphasizing control and form to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing key muscles. Pilates created "The Pilates Principles" to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flow.

Joseph Pilates wrote two books concerning the Pilates method, Return to Life through Contrology (1928) and Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education (1934).

The Method.

The majority of the exercises are accomplished lying down in a non-weight bearing position. The exercises will move to a seated position and then eventually to vertical (standing) position. Each exercise will integrate the core or “powerhouse” into each movement.

The original Pilates repertoire was 34 exercises done on the floor on a padded mat (matwork), however it is important to note that Joseph Pilates felt the mat work was too hard for the average individual which led him to create the apparatus. The apparatus whether it be the Cadillac, Reformer, Chair, etc. allowed the springs to assist the individual in their movement. The springs would act as additional muscle groups helping in the execution of the exercise. It allowed them to feel their powerhouse initiate the movement in a closed kinetic chain. The springs would also provide resistance. Using the springs results in "progressive resistance", meaning the resistance increases as the spring is stretched.

The most common piece of apparatus is the Reformer, but other apparatus you will find in a modern Pilates studio includes the Cadillac (also called the Trapeze Table), the Wunda Chair, and the Ladder Barrel. Lesser used apparatus includes the Spine Corrector (Step Barrel), the Guillotine Tower, the Arm Chair, the Ped-a-Pul (Pedi-Pole), and the Foot Corrector.

Who is Pilates good for?

Pilates is good for everyone at any age any fitness level. Our private sessions are tailored to your individual needs. As one progresses and masters the movement, one can enter into our group classes. Professional and amateur athletes, dancers, skaters, yogis, moms, moms to be, senior citizens, etc. have all benefitted from Pilates.

Athletes find Pilates a great form of cross training to complement whatever sport they play whether it be tennis, golf, baseball, basketball. The exercises are developed to create a long lean body from which many women feel the benefits. Men enjoy Pilates for the challenging exercises and the increased range of motion.

People with specific injuries have especially benefitted from Pilates, since most of the exercises are done non-weight bearing. No matter what the injury we can modify the program. One is able to exercise the entire body even when the body is undergoing the healing process. We do always recommend one receive the okay from their doctor before entering any exercise program.

The benefits of Pilates?

Relaxation and a sense of well being.

Strengthens the entire body.

Elongates the muscles without bulk.

Slimmer hips, buttocks and thighs.

Increased flexibility, increased strength.

Improved posture and flatter stomach.

Pilates the classic way

At Pilates In Port, we take a classical approach to the Pilates Method. Learn more about the history of Joe's Pilates' first studio and how he developed his Method. Click Here