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What is Pilates? The History

joseph_pilates_2b (1)Developed by its founder, Joseph H. Pilates in the early 20th century, Pilates is a unique and comprehensive fitness program. Its origins and influences lie in the various disciplines of yoga, dance, gymnastics, martial arts and weight training. When practiced regularly, the system of exercises (there are over 500) creates a strong, toned, supple body, enhances awareness of postural alignment and stabilization, and aids in developing efficient movement patterns throughout the whole body.

Joseph Pilates encouraged uniform development in all of his students – the goal was not just change in musculature, it was an attempt to increase a person’s overall health, the quality of his or her life.

Through breath and whole body commitment to increasing whole body health, Joseph Pilates aimed at assisting people in developing to the fullest extent of their physical, mental and spiritual potential.

The Principals

Concentration
Pilates demands intense focus: “You have to concentrate on what you’re doing all the time”. “Contrology” was Joseph Pilates’ preferred name for his method, and it was based on the idea of muscle control.
Centering
For practitioners to control their bodies, they must have a starting place: the center. The center is the focal point of the Pilates Method.
Flow or efficiency of movement
Pilates aims for elegant sufficiency of movement, creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Pilates is flowing movement outward from a strong core.
Precision
Precision is essential to correct Pilates: The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature and carry over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.
Breathing
Breathing is important in the Pilates method. Joseph PIlates advised people to squeeze out the lungs as they would wring a wet towel dry. Pilates attempts to properly coordinate this breathing practice with movement.

What can pilates do for YOU?

A resistance based movement technique, has many benefits. It brings the whole body into union by addressing the respiratory system, nervous system and musculoskeletal system. It activates the deep muscles of the torso and the postural muscles of the spine, which help to stabilize the trunk as the body moves. Such conditioning alleviates back pain and prevents injury.

Pilates will also relieve symptoms, like excess muscle tension, due to a variety of common causes, including: stress, trauma, accident, injury, overuse and back issues.

Pilates has been shown to successfully improve strength and endurance for a variety of individuals, including:

  • Dancers
  • Athletes
  • Performing artists
  • Fitness enthusiasts,
  • Those seeking greater freedom in their everyday movement,
  • Those seeking freedom from pain
  • Office and sedentary workers seeking exercise to counter occupational strain

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