What is Pilates all about?

What is Pilates all about?

My first experience with Pilates goes back to 2003 and at the beginning it was just a name added to a long list of methods and therapies I was interested in to try and improve my well - being.

After experiencing a few sessions of Pilates I understood what it meant to me and mostly to my health. So, I started my journey and began to feel that if you train your body regularly you ensure safety, efficiency, getting the right results through precision and concentration. Furthermore, pain can be alleviated and one is able to face confidently everyday activity.

Since I am teaching the method I have witnessed clients who have made radical changes through Pilates and are happy to testify. (Please find below some testimonials).

"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness" (Joseph Pilates)

What is Pilates?

The Pilates method is a system of exercises, developed by Joseph Pilates (1880 – 1967) in the early 20th century, which emphasizes a balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement. Pilates is a total body-conditioning system that integrates the mind and body to improve precision in muscle control, strength and flexibility. In particular, the method teaches awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine, in order to strengthen the deep torso muscles. In order to achieve the mind-body connection the following principles are key:

  • Breathing
  • Control
  • Centering
  • Concentration
  • Precision
  • Flowing movements

These six Pilates principles are the essential ingredients in a high quality Pilates workout. The Pilates method has always emphasized quality over quantity. The exercises do not require a lot of repetitions for each movement but instead, doing each exercise with precision and concentration is vital.

Who Can Benefit from Pilates?

Pilates can be beneficial to everyone, regardless of age and fitness level. It can improve your posture. It builds long, lean muscles without bulk and people report that they become easily stronger, leaner, and more graceful. Pilates improves stamina, coordination, flexibility, physical strength and joint mobility. This may reduce the risk of injury in everyday life. Pilates firms and strengthens the deep abdominals muscles as well as the pelvic floor and prevents lower back pain. People who work seated for several hours during the day, can learn through Pilates to adopt a healthier posture, which in turn will help to reduce back pain. Pilates can help to reduce stress, it improves mental focus and increases a feeling of well-being.

Pilates exercises

The foundation of the Pilates method is built around the strength of the deep abdominal muscles; ‘the core’. When the deep core muscles are strong and doing their job properly, then they work together with the more superficial muscles of the trunk succeeding in supporting the spine and movement. As you develop the core strength then you develop stability throughout the entire torso and the pressure on the back is relieved with the result that the body is able to move freely and efficiently.

Mat and Equipment workout

Pilates exercises are practised either on a mat on the floor (Pilates mat workout), or by using several pieces of equipment developed by Joseph Pilates (Cadillac, Reformer, Chair, Ladder Barrel) to support specific exercises. Mat work uses body weight, often using small equipment including balls, bands and rollers to provide a full workout. To ensure that everybody will receive sufficient individual attention and that the exercises can be adjusted to their specific needs, the best classes are rather small in number. The larger pieces of equipment that we use in Pilates are tools for increasing muscle strength, balance, flexibility and healthy postural alignment. The equipment utilizes a graduated system of springs providing the level of resistance needed to build long, lean muscles. All exercises with or without equipment are developed with modification that can make a workout safe and challenging for a person at any level.

Testimonials by Marion Ehrensperger (training Pilates with Heidi)

“Pilates is the best deep meditative workout for me.”

“Pilates represents for me a total package, consisting of well-being, movement and body culture”.

“Pilates puts me in a constant dialogue with my body and shows me every time my limits. Since I practice Pilates, I discover every time a different approach to my body.”

“Pilates is a therapeutic tool for the today's social hectic life.”

“Pilates gives me a good feeling and it has a balancing effect contributing a lot to my healthy way of life.”

“Pilates means to me a long-term commitment (since 2005) with the hope to be able to pursue this method into my older age.”

“Pilates helps my concentration after a heavy day of work. I focus and devote my thinking on the exercises because without the Pilates method is not possible.”

“Pilates gives me the opportunity, wherever I am in the world to manage my exercises with little costs.”

“Pilates cannot always be described, you have to experience it. On one hand, the exercises focus on strengthening the deep abdominal muscles and help realizing a correct posture. On the other hand, long- term poor posture of the skeleton is corrected and the training results are visible every time you train.

It is important to train under professional supervision to avoid to do more damages to your body.”

“Pilates is part of my daily life and essential for my well-being. Or in other words an indispensable method for my body and soul!”

Photo source: © Cécile Gall / cecile-gall-photography.com

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