Photo by Andrew Grant

Pilates has gained a lot of media attention recently for its benefits. However, many people still don’t understand what it is. In attempts to educate, I came up with this brief list to describe Pilates.

  • It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century.
  • Pilates was originally called Contrology, which means the study of controlling muscles.
  • The principals of Pilates are centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flow.
  • Pilates is a series of flowing exercises that start on the ground and progressively transition to seated exercises and finish with standing.
  • Breathing in Pilates should coordinate with the movements, full inhalations and complete exhalations are thought to circulate the blood to renew the cells and refresh the body.
  • Pilates uses apparatus like balls, thera-bands, and even machines to help assist in movements or to challenge your strength.
  • While the “powerhouse” (the abdominal core) is the main focus in every Pilates exercises, active engagement of the muscles and concentration are need as well.
  • The benefits of Pilates are: improved strength, flexibility, balance, toning, long muscles, body awareness, and improve circulation.

 

On a personal note:

As a dancer, injuries are something I dreaded. Every time I found myself at the physical therapist it was the same thing, “do these exercises, for this long, and this many times.” Can I say boring!? After spending weeks on workers compensation for a bum back, I decided no more injuries and Pilates became my cross-training method. Not only was it valuable for my career but it improved my endurance, accuracy, and my overall technique. Today I’m a certified Pilates instructor and wholeheartedly believe in its teachings. In fact, it has been just over five years that I started practicing and I’m still injury free!