What is Pilates?

Pilates is...Natural Movement

"My method develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong posture, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit."  Joseph Pilates.

Pilates is a body training process that makes use of specifically formulated exercises to improve our bodies.  These exercises emphasise muscle recruitment, good postural alignment and natural movement.  As we become more aware of how to move more efficiently in Pilates, this also improves the conscious and unconscious movements that we make in our everyday lives. The controlled repeated exercises mobilise joints and strengthen muscles, including the key core abdominals and shoulder girdle muscles, without straining or impacting them.  Because of this, Pilates can also play a rehabilitative role and keep injuries under control as well as improve your general health and fitness, posture, flexibility and tone.

 

Pilates is...Core Stability

The three main aspects of core stability, or the "ABCs" of Pilates, are:

  • Aligment
  • Breathing
  • Centring

Good postural alignment is key to stability both statically (at rest) and dynamically (during movement).  Alignment is the process of ensuring exact joint positioning during the movement sequence itself and is essential for the promotion of the deep intrinsic stability process. Breathing is directly related to stability because of its effect on thoracic and abdominal cavity pressure. Centring is the controlled activation and suitable implementation of muscles to ensure that an exercise is performed correctly. Centring is a dynamic process that involves limiting any unwanted movement during an exercise as well as controlling the flow of movements that are key to the exercise - in other words a balance between STABILITY and MOBILITY has to be constantly maintained.

Pilates is...Biomechanics

Pilates focusses on the biomechanical funtions which make up a movement, the main movements being : Flexion, Extension and Rotation. These movements work in pairs so we refer to Flexion/Extension, Rotation left/Rotation right, etc. In a Pilates class I will take you through the main movement pairs, working the anterior chain of the body and also the posterior chain (eg hamstrings and back extensors), as this is often weak due to lack of use in everyday life and in standard fitness training.

 

Just breathe...

Breathing is also vital in Pilates as it is movement in the deepest sense.  Breathing is closely related to the body's skeletal alignment and nearly all the muscles involved in the breathing process are also involved in posture.  Generally in Pilates we try and coordinate breathing and movement in a dynamic process so that one facilitates the other.