About Pilates

Breath

The breath is the foundation
upon which the Pilates method
is built on. It is the link that
connects the body and mind
and is the force behind the
exercises and movement.

Centre

Centre has two contexts. It is
the individuals centre of
gravity, which varies from
person to person as well as the
core muscles of the body.

Flow

Each exercise should be
performed gracefully, smoothly
and each movement flows onto
the next.

Concentration

Through concentration an
exercise can be performed with
a connection to the body that
allows focus to be on the
alignment and breath
coordination.

Control

Control refers to how
deliberately an exercise is
executed. The more control
there is, the better alignment
and knowledge of the body.

Precision

Precise execution helps retrain
the body to move in a better
and more aligned way.
Knowing some basic anatomy
helps to know which muscles
should be working and which
shouldn’t.

Joseph Pilates

Pilates history

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s and became popular with dancers who needed strength while remaining long and lean in their appearance. The Pilates method focuses on strengthening the postural muscles to encourage good spinal alignment through awareness of breath and strengthening the deep muscles of the abdomen and spine.

Joseph was a sick child and as a result took to physical exercise. He studied many types of movement such as yoga, wrestling, boxing, gymnastics and martial arts and started developing his own exercise method. During World War I, Joseph was interned in England where he refined his exercises. He came up with the concept of using springs attached to hospital beds to help soldiers exercise when they weren’t mobile enough to leave their beds.

Upon his release, Joseph returned to Germany briefly, where he was introduced to the dance community through Rudolf Von Laban, and gaining huge popularity. However, he emigrated to New York being dissatisfied with the political atmosphere.

In New York, Joseph set up his studio in the home of New York City Ballet. Here many of the dancers began to attend his studio and his exercises soon spread to other dance companies.

There are six essential principles of Pilates and these are incorporated into each exercise – Breath, Control, Centre, Concentration, Precision and Flow. Quality of movement is emphasised over quantity of repetition in order to get the best possible results.

Pilates exercises are done on various equipment such as the reformer, wunda chair and cadillac (or trap table) with weight resistance provided by springs and body weight. This allows for maximum tailoring and ensures the method is available to everybody.

“A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelterprovided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living”

Joseph Pilates

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