What is Pilates?
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness”. Joseph H. Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, wrote this in 1945 in the “Return to life through Contrology”. Difficult to explain in few words what’s Pilates, yet teachers have to answer this question.
Pilates is an exercise program beneficial for the whole body, mind and spirit. Pilates helps with body alignment, posture, breathing, it tones and strengthen the entire muscolature, it doesn’t matter the age, gender. It’s the perfect progression after a rehabilitation program. It’s the perfect program for conditioning athletes as well. Performed just on the mat or using the machines, Pilates will give you tremendous power in the core that it will help the spine in every day movement or your favorite recreational activity.
Who can practice Pilates?
Everybody can practice Pilates. This doesn’t mean that it is for everybody. If you like it it’s better, right?!
What’s the difference with Yoga?
Pilates is younger than Yoga. The first Pilates studio was set up in 1926. Yoga has far more antiques roots. The exercises are different, even though sometimes you might incorporate some Yoga positions in modern Pilates classes. Pilates is performed also with a variety of special machines. The breathing in Pilates is very different, the feeling in your body is different too. I wrote a post about this, I always think, try both disciplines and try to find good teachers.
What’s the difference between practicing Pilates with machines and the mat Pilates?
Pilates machines have been created by Joseph Pilates to deepen the practice, intervene with injured clients, assist and challenge. The repertoire is vast because there are different machines. Reformers, Towers and Chairs are the most popular machines that you can find in the majority of the studios but there are also other type of equipments. This is also the reason why a private session with machines is far more expensive than a regular mat class, not only because you have the personal attention of the teacher.
Mat Pilates is the foundation and at the same time the ultimate goal of the Pilates discipline: being able to perform the exercises of a mat class, especially a master mat class, it requires incredible control, precision and endurance.
Why does the teacher suggest a specific time to inhale and exhale during the exercises?
The breathing is one of the principles of the Pilates Method. It’s very important to learn to breath because it maximizes the movement, it helps the muscles, it improves the circulation, it calms the mind and the body. The pattern of the breath should match with the movement. Plus the “pilates breathing” emphasize the lateral breathing which helps with the abdominal contraction.
In any case, the most important fact is to use the breath and be comfortable during the practice avoiding holding the breath.
What are the principles of Pilates?
The principles are not specifically mentioned by Joseph Pilates book. In decades of work, master teachers came to set 10 main principles that are based on Joseph Pilates’ words and concepts, and that describe best what’s Pilates and why it’s so different from the other disciplines.
1) awareness 2)breathing 3)balance 4)concentration 5)control 6)center 7)efficiency 8)flow 9)precision 10)harmony
Flow and harmony are principles connected especially with certain Pilates schools like Basi.
Why should I choose Pilates?
Right because of its unique methodology, it offers a complete, balanced and efficient work out, that it’s really, really difficult to find in any other physical activity and it’s an incredible body assessment tool for everybody who practice sport.
The other reason is that Pilates is a “pain free” workout. This is why physical therapists often use Pilates machineries to treat patients.