So you've heard about Pilates in the media, or you may have seen posters where you exercise, you may even have passed by my studio in La Grade Freinet or other studios where you live and wondered what it's about and is the hype true. Your wondering "what can Pilates do for me"?
I've been a student, teacher and teacher trainer of Pilates for more years than I care to admit to and I can say it's a system of exercise I've never become bored with or surprised when clients or student teachers realise how effective it is when practiced consistently.
Whether you're new to Pilates and exercise in general or are a regular exerciser the benefits of Pilates are clear for everyone whatever their needs. It's generally accepted there are 6 Pilates Principles although some schools mention 8 or 7 - this is because Joseph Pilates the creator of the technique didn't set down these principles but teachers who continued with his system thought a set of defining formula would be helpful for people trying to understand the technique.
Concentration: A fundamental principle - Pilates is a mind and body programme. When you work with concentrated effort focus and body awareness are heightened.
Centering: Pilates is practiced from the deep abdominals - those abdominals that stabilise the body, once they're active the more superficial muscles can move the body safely under load.
Control: When Joseph Pilates developed his technique he called it Contrology. The aim of the technique is to work in such a way as to reduce the risk of injury from uncontrolled, sloppy movements. This doesn't mean the exercises are performed super slow, just from the inside out with consistency and quality.
Breathing: A full breath is recommended during all Pilates exercises not only to keep you alert but also to help with the coordination, timing and rhythm of the movement.
Flowing Movement: The aim of a well organised Pilates class is to create a smooth, fluid transition between movements that creates a great sense of wellbeing as well as a stress free workout.
Taking into account the Principles it's easy to see how regular Pilates classes can help to ease stress, strengthen, tone, mobilise and improve flexibility. All these qualities will improve your sports and reduce any potential for over use injuries. Consider how many times you serve during a game of tennis or swing the golf club around 18 holes.
Clients of all ages tell me how well they feel after a class using both the mat work system as well as the professional equipment, they tell me how their sleep has improved, how previously stiff joints are more mobile how their balance has improved, their game of golf no longer leaves them with low back pain and of course how their posture and body awareness has improved.
Don't be mis-lead by those acrobatic photos you've seen in magazines or on youtube, Pilates is for everyone whatever their fitness level. All of the repertoire can be modified to help those with particular issues or delivered in a very athletic way for those who want to improve their fitness level.
Pilates is not "a good stretch" it is a full body technique to help you achieve whatever health and fitness goal you want.
So next time you pass that Pilates studio or class pop your head in - get some more information.
As usual if you need more information or have questions contact me at Go2nuala@mac.com