What is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of exercises using various props and special equipment, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture, and enhance mental awareness and overall well-being.
Pilates emphasizes your body’s core - the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thighs and glutes. For this reason, Pilates develops much of what exercisers need - strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, coordination, balance, and good posture - with a much lower chance of injury than with other forms of exercise. The discipline emphasizes correct form.
Pilates moves require you to engage virtually your whole body. At times, you may strengthen one muscle while stretching another. The moves take lots of concentration; you can’t simply go through the motions like you can on gym equipment. And then, for every move you think you’ve mastered, Pilates has another version that’s a little different and a little harder. Pilates teaches you to think about how you use your muscles during your workout so you use them better in daily life. For instance, because much of the focus is on good posture and body mechanics, you stand and sit taller and walk more gracefully.
Pilates also focuses on the mind-body connection. While doing the various exercises your mind needs to be constantly aware of your breathing and the way your body moves. Although there are similarities between yoga and Pilates, yoga is a more relaxing form of exercise that tends to focus more on spiritual well-being whereas Pilates is more of a physical program which focuses on toning and strengthening.
Pilates is named after its inventor, a German physical fitness specialist Joseph Pilates, a former carpenter and gymnast who invented the exercise for injured dancers. Many of the moves were inspired by the principles from the ancient Greeks and how they trained their Olympians. He had a great library and was always studying. He was a genius of the body.
“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." - Joseph Pilates