WHY PILATES

Pilates is suitable for a wide range of people, from beginners to professional sportspeople, and including pregnant women and seniors. Rather than concentrating upon specific areas, Pilates treats the body as a whole, building up muscle without adding bulk, improving joint mobility and flexibility, and boosting energy levels.

“Everyone benefits from Pilates in their own unique ways, but Pilates offers myriad unchanging, invaluable benefits for everyone, including the following improvements in your physical and mental condition: good circulation; deep, healthy breathing and increased lung capacity; strength and flexibility; healthy bones and joints; improved posture, balance, and coordination; a strong abdomen and a powerful “core”; energy, stamina, and stress relief; reduction of body “aches and pains”; and prevention of reinjury of damaged muscles and joints”

Excerpt From: “The Everything Pilates Book.” 

PRINCIPLES

 In his book RETURN TO LIFE THROUGH CONTROLOGY, Joseph Pilates defined his work as a way to completely and thoroughly unify the body, mind and spirit. His principles, which we now call the principles of Pilates, are the foundation for his approach to physical fitness. 


Concentration

Concentration promotes the mind-body connection. As you focus and become mindful of each body movement, Pilates states you will receive optimum physical value from each movement as well as enhance your body awareness.                      

                 

Centering

During your Pilates workout, you should consciously bring your focus to the center of your body. As you focus within, this Pilates principle suggests you will bring calm to both your body and spirit. Pilates called the center of your torso the “powerhouse,” from which all energy for exercise is derived.

 

Control

Pilates' method is based on mindfulness, including proper, safe and complete muscle control. With proper control, you utilize the exact and correct form, leaving no part of your body unattended. In your mindful awareness, you direct each and every movement.

Precision

According to Pilates' precision principle, executing one exercise with deliberate exactitude is more important than completing more repetitions with sloppier form. For this reason, good Pilates instructors provide detailed instructions to their students on all Pilates movements.

Breathing

Deep, controlled, diaphragmatic breathing activates blood circulation and awakens cells and muscles. Pilates recommended visualizing the lungs as bellows as you bring air in to the fullest and release it in the same manner. He wrote that breathing is the most integral part of exercise, and even if one follows no other recommendation, learning to breathe correctly is the most important thing.

Flow

Pilates routines are completed through a gentle flow. Grace, ease and fluidity are the intention Joseph Pilates applied to all exercise. Continuous, smooth and elegant movement as you transition from one pose to another will bring strength and stamina according to this principle.



THE HISTORY

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Moenchengladback, Germany on December 9, 1880. He suffered from a range of debilitating conditions throughout his childhood including rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever. Determined to overcome his poor physical health, he devoted himself to the task of becoming as fit and strong as was humanly possible.


In 1912 Joseph moved to England. To earn money he was a boxer, circus performer, and self-defense trainer. During World War I he was interned with other German citizens in a camp near Lancaster, where he trained other inmates in fitness and exercise. This was the beginning of development for the Pilates method we now know today.


In 1926 he immigrated to the US and opened a fitness studio in New York on 8th Avenue. By the early 1960’s Pilates worked with many important artists in the dance community including George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Ron Fletcher, and others.


In 1945, Joseph Pilates published Return to Life Through Contrology, which described his philosophical approach to exercise. Soon, some of his students began opening studios of their own—some making subtle adaptations to the method—and word of Pilates slowly spread.


In 1967, at the age of 87, Joseph Pilates dies without leaving a will. It was only after his death that Contrology became known as the Pilates Method.