What is Pilates?
We are often asked, what is Pilates? Pronounced Pi-LAH-teez, is a gentle, comprehensive fitness method that trains both body and mind. The goal is to achieve correct postural alignment with a balanced, whole, integrated body.
By emphasizing a mental awareness and a deep understanding of how the body moves, Pilates imprints efficient movement patterns that cross over into our everyday lives.
The Mind Body Connection
This revolutionary approach to fitness is suitable for all ages and body types. Whether the goal is to enhance a sporting or performance activity, rehabilitation from chronic pain or injury, or simply to gain a more active, healthy lifestyle, Pilates has something to offer everyone.
Pilates is a method of exercise developed by German-born Joseph Pilates. In 1926, Joseph and Clara Pilates brought their exercise system, originally called “Contrology”, to New York City. The Pilates method is a physical movement program designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body.
Pilates exercise focuses on postural symmetry, breath control, abdominal strength, spine, pelvis and shoulder stabilization, muscular flexibility, joint mobility and strengthening through the complete range of motion of all joints. Instead of isolating muscle groups, the whole body is trained, integrating the upper and lower extremities with the trunk.
The PILATES system of exercises reawakens the mind-body connection for optimal physical conditioning.
By emphasizing a mental awareness and a deep understanding of how the body moves, Pilates imprints efﬁcient movement patterns that cross over into our everyday lives.
Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. The guiding principles of the Pilates Method are whole body health, whole body commitment, and breath.
With systematic practice of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns, Pilates has proven itself invaluable not only as a fitness endeavour itself, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds.
Not designed to be Aerobic:
Pilates exercise was never designed to be aerobic nor did Joseph claim that his exercises were aerobic. Recent research has supported this statement in showing that Beginner Mat Pilates is low-moderate intensity and intermediate and advanced Mat work meets the criteria for moderate intensity activities. (Olsen, et al 2003)
Not only for elite or wealthy:
Joseph Pilates suggested that everyone should do his exercises everyday. To book a private session with a Pilates teacher should be considered in the same arena as booking time with a massage therapist or personal trainer at a cost of $50-$100 per hour. Pilates teachers also recommend that their clients practice Pilates exercises everyday or at least 3-4 times per week at home to supplement their training in the studio.
Not only for the healthy or well:
Joseph Pilates also modified his method of exercise based on whether his client had injuries. Pilates can be modified for unfit, post-trauma, post-disease, elderly, and has been shown to increase enjoyment and participation in exercise even for children. (Ickes 2005, Jago 2005)
Pilates is not Fusion:
Pilates is performed on a mat or apparatus that Joseph Pilates designed: Reformer, Trapeze Table, Wunda Chair, High Back Chair, Ladder Barrel, Half Barrel, Spine Corrector, Ped-O-Pul, Head Harness, Foot Corrector, Toe Corrector, Magic Circle, Bean Bag and Pinwheel. Pilates is not performed in a pool, on a small or large ball or in combination with other forms of exercise and still called Pilates. Today, it is certainly acceptable to apply the principles to all forms of movement, exercise, sports and daily life activities as Joseph intended.
Purist vs. Modified Pilates:
The PMA believes that Pilates should evolve along with the advances of modern science, maintaining the integrity of the method with the safety and health of its participants always in mind. This means that if an exercise is determined to be contra-indicated or unsafe we will respect it as historical repertoire and modify it or delete it from any client’s program that might be injured by performing the exercise.