What is Pilates

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What is Pilates?

Joseph Pilates, born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1880, dedicated his life to physical fitness. After overcoming childhood illness and disease and working as a nurse during the first World War, Pilates created a type of exercise to strengthen the core and realign the body. Core strength emanates from the muscles that lie from the pelvis into the rib cage and diaphragm. Joseph Pilates theorized that if one could make the core muscles of the body, primarily the abdomen and back, strong while at the same time toning the other muscle groups and promoting flexibility, then one could overcome a myriad of health problems as well as achieve an optimum level of fitness.

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In 1926, he left Germany for New York City, where dancers and gymnasts sought him out to learn his methods. He continued refining his techniques and teaching until his death in 1967. Today the Pilates Method has moved to the forefront of the fitness movement and many Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes credit the Pilates Method for their leaner, stronger and healthier bodies.

The body and mind conditioning program of Pilates is a series of exercises designed to strengthen and lengthen your muscles, improve posture and align your spine. In addition, it can improve balance and coordination, increase performance in many sports and improve the overall health of your joints to prevent injury. By working the body from the inside out, Pilates balances different muscle groups so that the body can move with efficiency and endurance.

Pilates uses highly specialized equipment to support and develop the precision of movement and control of the body. The Pilates Method offers a comprehensive, all over body workout while bringing greater connection between your body and mind.

The Six Key Principles of Pilates

Centering – All work starts from and is sustained through your Center. Joseph Pilates drew an imaginary line from shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip and labeled the center of your core, the “Powerhouse”.

Concentration – Pilates is a mind/body exercise routine. The mind guides the body using intelligence, intuition, imagination, will and memory.

Control – Utilizing your center, your mind and full body is engaged. It is important to not let habit or body memory take over.

Precision – Love is in the details. All exercises have exact structure, form and dynamic. Quality and not quantity is the goal.

Breath – All exercises are done with rhythm of the breath. Try to avoid holding your breath and instead use your breathing to stress the abdominal work and to rid the lungs of stale air.

Flow – A full Pilates workout is a fluid succession of exercises performed with vigorous dynamics. There is a minimum of movement to transition from one exercise to the next in order to achieve maximum dynamic flow.