Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, founded on the philosophy that our greatest health comes with a balanced body, mind and spirit. It emphasizes spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center consisting of the pelvic floor muscles, the transversus abdominus, the multifidus, the diaphragm, the muscles of the inner thigh, and the muscles encircling the sitting bone area. Pilates' system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises. The principles of Pilates include breath, awareness, strength, fluidity, control, grace, balance, precision, efficiency and flexibility. The exercises focus on the core muscles to support better posture and skeletal alignment, stabilization, organ function and ease of movement.
I discovered Pilates as a dancer and my inner nerd fell in love with its intelligence and practicality. It stimulated and perpetuated my love affair with all things functional, most importantly, functional movement, which basically just means moving in a way that our bodies are actually designed to move, and doing it in the most efficient, effective way so as to not exhaust ourselves unnecessarily. The way that I apply the Pilates method to my life and teaching is with these concepts of functional movement. As one of my dear teachers always says, “Work smarter, not harder”.
The Pilates method, combined with the fundamentals of functional movement, is a powerful tool for injury rehabilitation, poor posture, chronic pain, SI (sacro-illiac) joint issues, pelvic floor dysfunction, auto-immune disorders, arthritis, pre-post natal, spinal column issues, disc herniation/fusions...the list goes on and on. Basically, if you have a body, and you want to feel better in it, this is a great way to go! It differs from yoga in that the movements start smaller, focusing on refining HOW you move, stretch, strengthen and condition your joints and muscles. It also teaches you how to move from your center so that you save your peripheral joints from too much wear-and-tear. It progresses to more challenging, vigorous exercises and sequencing to increase your strength, balance and fun!
Overall, Pilates will help you to breathe deeper, sit and stand taller and move with ease. Joseph Pilates consider his method, which he originally called “Contrology”, the true “Fountain of Youth”.
“A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living.” -Joseph Pilates