Originally developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates as a rehabilitation method, the popularity of this core-strengthening and spine-aligning workout has since spread around the world like wildfire. Full workouts are designed for each apparatus, which instructors use as a structure for their classes, Kate Russell, a certified Pilates instructor with an MA in Dance and Somatics, says.
It's often referred to as the Pilates method because there is in fact a method, or underlying order and logic to the workout, which means you will almost always do certain exercises, and in a particular order, no matter where you take a class. In a general sense, the practice is meant to improve mental and physical well-being, increase flexibility, and strengthen muscles through a series of controlled movements and breathing that engage both the body and mind.
Every exercise focuses on the following:
Core strength is improved when exercises require you to stabilize one part of the body while you move another. For example, you use your core (abs, inner thighs, pelvic floor) to stabilize your back while your legs move.
Each exercise calls for a specific breathing pattern to help you access the deeper abdominal muscles. A focus on breathing also relieves tension and stress.
"You are only as old as your spine," Joseph Pilates said, according to Russell. Spine articulation is worked on in order to foster strength and flexibility.
The movements in the rhythm and pace Joseph Pilates designed can be challenging to execute gracefully right off the bat. Since moving with coordination requires the smaller muscles to work, picking up the flow of Pilates will help your body move more efficiently. Focusing on flow and movement can also become a form of meditation and de-stressing for some.
Because Joseph Pilates never created a teacher training system, Pilates has morphed according to different styles created by teachers. Read More
Pilates in the Office
Pilates doesn't always have to be done in the studio - since Pilates focuses on correct body alignment, it can help to implement some of its philosophies in the office or at your desk to keep you focused and mindful of your posture. And, the fact that most people spend more time in the office versus at home or doing the things they love, never has it been more necessary to work smarter, not harder. Read More