What is Pilates?

What is Pilates fitness and how does Pilates help your body? Pilates is a method of body conditioning which shapes the body and mind, leaving you refreshed, energised and engaged. The Pilates method is comprehensive and adaptable, suiting the novice to the athlete. It is an ideal form of conditioning for those with acute injury right through to those with long term fitness and performance goals.

 

Imbalances in muscle strength and length, and incorrect movement patterns can lead to discomfort, pain and injury and disconnection from our bodies. Pilates works to redress these muscular imbalances and reduce stress on muscles and joints, thus relieving many general aches and pains.  Pilates is also a powerful means to improve energy flow and force transfer through the body, enhancing performance and physical capacity. This in turn, helps us tap into the inherent wisdom of our body, bridging the gap between body, mind and soul, and promoting better self-awareness.

Pilates helps to develop and enhance your:

abdominal and pelvic floor tone

core stability

spinal and joint mobility and stability

muscle strength and definition

posture and balance

flexibility

sleep quality

mood and energy levels

Origin of Pilates

Joseph H Pilates created and continued to develop the Pilates method over the course of his life. Originally from Germany, Joseph considered physical fitness essential for a healthy body and mind. He drew upon his experience with wrestling, boxing, gymnastics and Yoga and his extensive study of human anatomy and physiology to develop a method of body conditioning which he called ‘Contrology’.

 

During World War 1, he was interned in England. It was here, working as a hospital orderly, that he began to refine and teach his exercises to the sick and injured. He modified hospital beds to allow bed ridden patients to exercise with the resistance of old bed springs. This was the beginning of the Pilates equipment he was to design and make, many pieces of which we still use today.

 

After the War he returned to Germany, and decided to leave when officials asked him to teach fitness to Hitler’s army. On the boat to America, he met his wife Clara and together they set up the first Pilates studio in New York City in 1926. Joseph taught in his Studio until his death at 83. His wife Clara, and a number of his devoted followers (known as Pilates ‘elders’) continued to carry on his work. The Pilates method has since been passed down, refined and adapted so that ‘every body’ can enjoy the benefits of Pilates.