Pilates is a fitness that focuses on engaging the mind and body using innovative exercises that strengthens not just our body but our mind and our spirit as well. Using the mat and/or special apparatus Pilates promises to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture, and enhance mental awareness. Every movement in Pilates requires conscience effort with attention to breath, form, alignment, and balanced muscle control in order to decrease pain, increase well- being and optimize physical performance. Pilates improves the health of everyone from the injured to the elite athlete. Pilates is constantly evolving as modern day bodies continue to change. It strives to improve our abilities to move with strength, ease, and grace.
Joseph Pilates’ called his method Contrology, which really encompasses the essence of what Pilates is.
Strengthening the mind and body connection using 9 key principles is how the sessions are constructed:
- Breathing: In Pilates the breath is integrated into every movement in order to keep our awareness on what we are doing , to improve the flow of oxygen throughout our tissues and to improve the capacity of our lungs.
- Concentration: To concentrate is to pay attention to what we are doing. “It is better to do five repetitions perfectly than 20 without paying attention” said Joe.
- Control: To be in control is to understand and maintain the proper form, alignment and effort during an entire exercise.
- Centering: In Pilates all movements radiates outward from the center of the body.
- Precision: Precision in movement means being able to perform exercises with proper form every time you practice.
- Balanced Muscle Development: One of the goals of Pilates is to develop the body in a uniform and balanced way.
- Rhythm/Flow: Flow creates smooth, graceful, and functional movements.
- Whole Body Movement: Pilates is fundamentally about integration: integrating movement into a flowing whole body experience, integrating the mind and body to create clarity and purpose, integrating mind, body, and spirit to create a life of balance.
- Relaxation: To be healthy in body and mind it is important to understand the balance between effort and relaxation. Learning to release unnecessary tension in our bodies helps us to find ease in movement.