Pilates - What is it and what can it do for me?
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in Germany in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. It is a method of exercise that focuses on using both the mind and body to achieve optimum performance. Romana Kryzanowska, one of the most respected teachers in the industry, said "You can say what Pilates is in three words. Stretch with Strength and Control. And the control part is the most important because that makes you use your mind."
The connection between the mind and body is crucial to Pilates. It has been referred to as 'the thinking man’s exercise' which relates to the mind/body connection. You have to be present and focused and Pilates trains the mind to maintain a constant level of awareness of the way the body moves. The moves have to be performed with control, concentration and precision. This focus, in addition to principals regarding breath, flow and centering means that Pilates is not only a unique form of exercise but also a way of relaxing and freeing your mind from the everyday stresses and worries.
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness” Joseph Pilates.
So what can Pilates do for you? The benfits of Pilates are many and the obvious ones relate to strength and flexibility, both being of equal importance. However, people who practice Pilates find that the greater body awareness they have achieved with regular practice has made the biggest impact to their health and fitness level. With increased body awareness comes the ability go about your daily tasks or other sports with more confidence and less risk of injury.
Who is it suitable for? Pilates is not just a type of exercise but a way of using your body on a more mindful way, it really benefits most people. From active sports people looking to improve on their technique to people not used to exercise or people recovering from injury, you can start at any level and work towards achieving optimal movements for your body.
.My teacher calls it 'Mindful Movement' and that sums it up beautifully.