ABOUT THE PILATES METHOD
In this issue of the magazine I would like to tell you a little bit about Pilates. Really, we could spend hours talking about it, but I´m going to try to highlight the key concepts and benefits of the method.
The Pilates method of body toning is an exercise system that focuses on posture, breathing and a carefully intertwined development of strength and muscular flexibility, combining the training of both mind and body ..
The primary goal of the Pilates method is to provide people with a deep understanding and awareness of their own body. The Pilates method is a complete body education where the body works as a whole, from the deepest to the most superficial musculature.
There are six Principles of the Pilates Method, all which are interrelated and integrated in each exercise.
- Concentration. This is the key to connecting the mind and body. To work the body you have to be prepared mentally, since it is the mind that puts the body into action!
“Always keep your mind fully focused on the purpose of the exercises while you perform them” Joseph Pilates
- Control. Pilates designed his method around the idea of muscle control, without sudden or irregular movements. Each movement is done with control from the central core of the body. These slow and controlled movements are more demanding but also more effective.
“Good posture can only be acquired when the whole body is under perfect control.” Joseph Pilates.
- Centre. Pilates defined this as the ¨”Powerhouse” of the body, with all the energy needed to perform exercise being generated from the central core and then flowing to the limbs.
“The centre of your body is your Powerhouse. All movements must originate from the centre.” Joseph Pilates
- Fluidity. In Pilates there are no static or isolated movements. Sudden, fast movements are avoided and flexibility is much more important than speed.
“The exercises are designed to give you flexibility, skill and grace in the movements” Joseph Pilates
- Precision. Each movement has a purpose so it is important to focus on making each one precise and perfect rather than rush and do them without any control.
“Getting the benefit from the exercises depends on them being performed with the utmost precision” Joseph Pilates
- Breathing. The bloodstream is cleansed through oxygenation and oxygen is renewed by inhaling and exhaling deeply. Pilates exercises use an active and continuous way of breathing, which takes a little practice to control.
“Breathing is the first act of life. We ourselves depend on it. You must learn the art of breathing correctly.” Joseph Pilates.
By doing Pilates correctly, there are many benefits:
- It improves posture, which can relieve back pain that so many people suffer from these days.
- We become more flexible and agile, with improved balance and coordination.
- It achieves a good muscular tone, strengthening and toning the body without increasing bulk.
- By activating the “central core” the natural belt formed by abdominal and back muscles is reinforced, aiding the posture of the spine and strengthening the pelvic floor.
It is extremely important that Pilates is practised under the supervision of a professional, because doing the exercises incorrectly or not understanding the principles could lead to problems. …I know that there are people who try to do it at home using videos on the internet without any type of supervision but this is really inadvisable as they can’t be sure whether they are doing the exercises correctly or not and whether they are suitable for their individual fitness needs and/or health problems.
It has been a pleasure letting you know a little bit about Pilates as it is something I am passionate about and we could spend a lot more time talking about it! Another time we will take a look at some other aspects of this wonderful exercise method.
Gabriela Auzoberria Calvo
Pilates Teacher – Mat and Reformer