What is Pilates
The Pilates Method coordinates breath work with exercises performed on a mat, small equipment, and spring-based apparatus to help re-pattern the neuromuscular system for optimal health.
Equipment-based spring tension trains your muscles to work like a spring – building a deeper connection through your center as you achieve a balance between flexibility and strength.
Matwork takes you out of the support of spring tension into a gravity dependent environment. You will learn to work with the effects of gravity and oppositional energy as you begin to engage your core musculature and align yourself more efficiently in space.
Private Lessons increase self-awareness of your unique movement habits and help retrain new, more efficient movement patterns.
Benefits of Pilates
Pilates “….is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work. You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance without undue body fatigue or mental strain.” – J. H. Pilates Tone, Lengthen & Strengthen Pilates exercises are designed to reshape your body with balanced musculature, strengthening what is weak and stretching what is tight. Key emphasis is placed on building functional core strength that tones the deep abdominals and stimulates your own “internal girdle of support”. You will feel taller, longer and stronger from the inside out! Safe & Gentle Our Pilates program specializes in the fundamentals, refined movements that teach body awareness and improved body mechanics. We offer classes that are suitable for all body types, ages and fitness levels. Exercises are taught in a safe and gentle format. You will notice improved posture and greater ease of movement! Inner & Outer Balance Through breath and mental focus, Pilates connects the mind and body. Pilates has been called an “intelligent” form of exercise because it focuses on the quality of the exercise and demands mental concentration, control, and understanding – promoting mental and physical balance. The skills and awareness you develop empower you for life! Performance Enhancement Pilates is a natural choice for athletes, performance artists, equestrians or anyone who uses their body because it corrects imbalances that are caused by habitual overuse of one side or compensation for weakness. By learning how to use your muscular and skeletal system together with greater balance, support and efficiency, your endurance will increase and your body will be less prone to injury. Take your fitness to a new level! ’Prehab’ ”Prehab” is the work you do before surgery – we can provide you with an individualized Pilates based-program, inclusive of exercises from different modalities, to strengthen and prepare your body for surgery and recovery. Post-Injury Rehabilitation With the precise focus on proper alignment, muscle recruitment and muscle sequencing, Pilates can restore optimum function to an injured area and integrate it with the whole body. Pilates can also safely and effectively maintain general muscle conditioning in other areas of the body during the healing process. General Aches & Pains Many are drawn to Pilates because it is gentle, slow, controlled and can be adapted to suit many varying fitness levels, ages and physical conditions. It is always important to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program and to make sure that your Pilates instructor is aware of any health concerns/conditions that you may have. We will help you adapt our program to make it safe and effective for you. Enhance Function Pilates exercises teach sequential whole-body movement patterns that resemble the functional movements we use in our everyday activities. As clients become stronger, they also become aware of muscular bracing patterns and imbalances. This leads clients to understand how to deal with inefficient muscular holding patterns and imbalances in their every day lives. Many clients enjoy a steady return to their pre-injury status. At this point, Pilates helps prevent re-injury and becomes a fitness routine to maintain their progress.
Pilates “… is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through (Pilates) you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.” J. H. Pilates Pilates is not merely a collection of exercises but a method, developed and refined over more than eighty years of use and observation. While Pilates draws from many diverse exercise styles, there are certain inherent ruling principles that bring all these elements together under the Pilates name: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breathing, and Flowing Movement. Mind and Body The central element of Pilates is to create a fusion of mind and body, so that without thinking about it you will move with economy, grace, and balance; using your body to the greatest advantage, making the most of its strengths, counteracting its weaknesses, and correcting its imbalances. The goal is this: to produce an attention-free union of mind and body. The method requires that you constantly pay attention to your body while you are doing the movements. Paying attention is so vital that it is more important than any other single aspect of the movements or the method. Breathing Joseph Pilates believed in circulating the blood so that it could awaken all the cells in the body and carry away the wastes related to fatigue. For the blood to do its work properly, it has to be charged with oxygen and purged of waste gases through proper breathing. Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are part of every Pilates exercise. Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation. & Squeeze out the lungs as you would wring a wet towel dry,” he is reputed to have said. Breathing, too, should be done with concentration, control, and precision. It should be properly coordinated with movement. Each exercise is accompanied by breathing instructions. Joseph Pilates stated, “Even if you follow no other instructions, learn to breathe correctly”. Centering Pilates called the very large group of muscles in our center – encompassing our abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks – the “powerhouse.” All energy for Pilates exercises begins from the powerhouse and flows outward to the extremities. Physical energy is exerted from the center to coordinate one’s movements. Pilates felt that it was important to build a strong powerhouse in order to rely on it in daily living. Concentration Pilates demands intense focus. For instance, the inner thighs and pelvic floor may be accessed when doing a standing exercise that tones the triceps. The beginner learns to pay careful attention to their body, building on very small, delicate fundamental movements and controlled breathing. Control Joseph Pilates built his method on the idea of muscle control. That meant no sloppy, uncontrolled movements. Every Pilates exercise must be performed with the utmost control, including all body parts, to avoid injury and produce positive results. It’s not about intensity or multiple repetitions of a movement; it’s more about proper form for safe, effective results. Precision Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose. Every instruction is vitally important to the success of the whole. To leave out any detail is to forsake the intrinsic value of the exercise. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Eventually this precision becomes second nature, and carries over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement. Fluidity Pilates mat exercises are to be performed fluidly with seamless transitions. There are no static, isolated movements. Concentration and body awareness replaces the quick, jerky movements of other exercise regimes. Grace of motion is emphasized over speed; ultimately the movements are meant to feel as fluid as a long stride or a waltz. Uniformly developed muscles are then developed to compliment good posture, suppleness, and natural grace. When using Pilates apparatus, clients learn to adjust their equipment settings and props between exercises with a focus on fluid transitions. History of Joseph H. Pilates
Resources Your Health, 1934 Return To Life, 1945 Newspaper Articles Pilates, Inc. V Current Concepts, Inc., 120 F. Supp.2d 286, 57 U.S.P.Q.2d 1174 (S.D.N.Y.2000) Personal stories from First Generation Pilates teachers and family members of Joseph and Clara Pilates.