What is Pilates?
I love Pilates. It is both a tough workout, and a relaxing stretch session. It can work the whole body and helps to strengthen your core.
Pilates is great for focusing the mind, and working through your problems. Bringing awareness to your breath and to your movements strengthens your mind body connection.
Pilates was created in 1883 by Joseph Pilates and was originally called Contrology. The bulk of his exercises were designed to create a re-habilitation program to speed health and healing for hospital patients. We can use these exercises now for a variety of reasons.
They improve your posture, strengthen every muscle in the body, increase your stability and balance, improve your flexibility and change your body shape by creating tone. We can also use Pilates to improve endurance, strengthen our ‘mind over matter’, reduce stress and become better aware of our bodies.
Pilates is very different from yoga. While Joseph Pilates was clearly influenced by certain yoga moves, the focus on purely physical movements is what makes Pilates different. Yoga has a very spiritual element to it, and often includes meditation, which Pilates does not.
Often people will think that Pilates is for Dancers, and it is true that many dancers practice Pilates as part of their strict exercise regime. What I love about Pilates is that it is so versatile. Each exercise has many different levels making is suitable for complete beginners or experienced athletes.
A typical class will involve work to strengthen your core, working the upper and lower abs, your deep abdominal muscles, pelvic floor and your lower back. We also work on balance often creating unstable movements by moving opposite arms and legs. Every muscle in the body gets a workout making Pilates an excellent way to tone up and lose weight.
I hope this has answered some of your questions about Pilates. There are also some great Pilates videos on YouTube. So give it a go and let me know what you think.
Your Turn – in the comments below let me know do you prefer Pilates or Yoga?