What is Pilates?
More and more people, men or women, choose to “do Pilates”. What is the Pilates method, on what principles is based and what does it differ from other exercise methods?
Pilates is an exercise method that keeps the body in excellent physical condition, based on a system of distention and strengthening inspired and designed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967) of Greek-German origin. Pilates, initially tested by Pilates himself and then at athletes and dancers, teaches us ideal things for our body, which we can easily translate and integrate into our everyday life.
What Pilates offers
With Pilates body is transformed and becomes a healthy and harmonious silhouette. Pilates used to say that “in 5 sessions you start to feel the difference, in 10 sessions the others feel it too, in 20 sessions you have a completely new body”. In particular, Pilates strengthens and tones muscles, improves posture and increases its flexibility, while coordinating and balancing body and mind.
Pilates exercises are divided into levels, depending on the physical condition of the person being exercised. Someone who has not worked at all and is bored with the idea of gym can improve his strength and aerobic capacity through Pilates. If one is already practicing, the Pilates method will help him be even better in his athletic activity as he will quickly realize that his body is “waking up” muscles he had never felt. Even an athlete can benefit greatly from this method. Besides, Joseph Pilates was a boxer, acrobat, skier, etc.
Apart from an important supplement for functional body training, Pilates is also a natural means of rehabilitation. Because it treats the body as a whole, it does not cause injuries and it makes the method an excellent means of rehabilitation from injuries and chronic diseases.
The philosophy of Pilates
Although Pilates lived in another era, he realized that the modern man accepts from his demanding daily routine a strong physical and mental pressure. His philosophy focuses on the parallel exercise of body and mind in order to cooperate for the overall good condition of a person.
Without forgetting our daily responsibilities, the Pilates exercise program is about to become part of our program. It is designed to keep up with our natural and time constraints without sacrificing its beneficial effects. In this way, Pilates believed that people are being impelled to become more effective and productive, both physically and spiritually.
The basic principles of Pilates
The method which Pilates inspired puts the body in motion uniformly and develops in balance all the muscles, following 6 basic rules:
Breath: With the appropriate inhalations and exhalations, stale air is expelled, blood is being oxygenated and we control better our movements, both in our exercises and in our daily lives.
Core: All the energy for the Pilates exercises stems from the muscles that surround our belly and flows outwards into the periphery of the body. The physical energy produced in the center coordinates the movements and supports our lives.
Concentration: To train our body we need the involvement of the mind. By focusing our thought on the body area that we exercise, we can see that the muscles respond to the commands they get from the brain. It is the mind that controls the body.
Control: With proper control and caution, the exercises are done correctly and we are not in danger of getting injured. Not mechanical and careless moves.
Precision: Concentration on the precise and perfect execution of the exercise rather than the number of repetitions, otherwise we lose the essential value of the exercise.
Flow: Pilates focuses on the harmony of movements and the continuity of exercises. There are no single, fast and convulsive movements, only flowing movements that respect our body.