Pilates is a form of non-impact exercises to develop strength, flexibility, balance and inner awareness of the body. It teaches you breathing, body mechanics, balance, co-ordination, positioning of the body and flexibility. Diverting your stress in to dynamic pilates manly will give your body a long-term benefit.
Pilates is named after its inventor Joseph Pilates, who was born in Germany in the year 1883. Unhealthy as a child, Joseph Pilates drew inspiration from Zen Buddhism and was inspired by the Greek ideals of having a strong body and mind.
According to Joseph Pilates, ideal fitness is “The attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind, fully capable of easily and satisfactorily performing daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure”.
Joseph Pilates termed his work as “contrology”. It refers to the mind controlling the muscles. It is an exercise program that focuses on core postural muscles that help to keep the body balanced and are essential to provide support to the spine.
Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen published the first book on modern Pilates. They have outlined six principles of Modern Pilates, which have been widely adopted.
- Centering: It refers to bringing the focus to the center of the body, the area between ribs and pubic bone. Pilate exercises are sourced from the center of the body.
- Concentration: Concentrating on each muscle movement will bring maximum value from each movement.
- Control: All exercises are done with control of the muscles against gravity and resistance of springs, which controls the movement of the body and apparatus. The idea of this exercise was itself based on “Contrology”
- Precision: In Pilates, awareness is sustained through each movement. It stresses on the right alignment relative to other body parts.
- Breathing: Using breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise. Joseph Pilates emphasized on using the lungs strongly to inhale and exhale the air.
- Flow: This exercise aims at sufficiency of movement or creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within each other to build strength and stamina.
Some of the Benefits of Practicing Pilates are:
Increased strength of the ‘core muscles’ of the body
Balanced muscular strength
Rehabilitation for spinal injuries
Reduces back pain
Pilates and Dance
Pilates is useful to dancers, because the workout aids in flexibility without causing muscles to bulk. Sportspersons, celebrities and models recommend these exercises. It is believed that practicing this exercise consistently helps sports persons in Injury Management. The National Ballet of Canada has its own pilates studio and many other top companies in the world hire instructors to work with the dancers in their company. Practicing this exercise improves the grace and style of a dancer and makes their movements more flowing and versatile. Some of the benefits that help dancers by practicing this exercise are:
Increased core strength, balance and co-ordination
Improved hip, foot and ankle alignment
Balance and muscular symmetry
Proper hip turnout
Controlled hyper mobility
The tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots. Without a strong trunk, the tree would topple over. It is the same for human bodies. If we do not concentrate on building a good foundation and a strong trunk or ‘core’, we will have a body prone to injuries and susceptible to pitfalls of our occupations. Practicing Pilates help in avoiding such problems and makes you stronger mentally and physically.