- Joseph Pilates and His Work
- What Is Classical Pilates?
- Pilates Exercises
- Pilates Principles – Breathing
- Pilates Principles – Flow and Efficient Movement
- Pilates Principles – Concentration
- Pilates Principles – Control & Centering
- Pilates Principles – Precision
- In Conclusion
Pilates is a mind body exercise format invented by a German national, Joseph Pilates, during the First World War. Unlike other exercise formats, Pilates does not give much relevance to the number of repetitions you can do. Here, it is the quality that matters, not quantity. Pilates dates back to the start of the First World War when an incarcerated German Prisoner, languishing in a British Prison, invented a bed like contraption using a hospital bed. This bed like contraption later came to be known as the Pilates Reformer. Joseph Pilates used this contraption to rehabilitate people injured during the war years. He received great publicity during and after the war years for his work.
Joseph Pilates moved to New York with the idea of taking his craft further. His work was noticed in the medical fraternity. However, help came from unexpected quarters. Artists from the New York Ballet scene were the first to patronize his work. Ballet dancers Martha Graham and George Balanchine were the first students. Later on other artists joined in like Romana Kryzanowska, Jay Grimes, Kathy Grant, Maja Wollman, Ron Fletcher, Carola Treir, Mary Bowen, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Lolita San Miguel, Bruce King, and Mary Pilates. His earlier batch of students, called the elders, took his craft further, and the original form survives even today known by the name of classical Pilates.
Classical Pilates is based on the principles laid down by Joseph Pilates himself in his works: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education (1934) and Return to Life through Contrology (1945). The six principles laid down by Joseph Pilates include control, breath, concentration, flow, centering, and precision. Joseph Pilates called his exercise format Contrology or “The art of control”.
Each exercise is conducted in a controlled, precise manner. Quality is more important than quantity. It is more important to do a few perfect rather than a number of halfhearted repetitions. The exercise is smooth and flowing. There are no sudden, jerky movements unlike weight lifting, running and other exercise formats. Even the transition from one exercise to the other has to be smooth and flowing. It is important to the keep the exercise flowing without any breaks in between. Because of this smooth flowing movement, injuries are very rare during Pilate classes.
Breathing is another important component. It is important to breathe normally during a Pilate routine. Normally, you should breathe in to prepare and breathe out to execute an exercise routine. You should not hold your breath while exercising.
Flow is also very important. The exercise should progress forward in a smooth fluid movement. Even the transition from one step to the other should be smooth and fluid. In order to reach this state of fluidity it is important to concentrate fully, not allowing your mind waver, during a Pilates routine.
It is important to be totally focused on what you are doing. Doing so will help you understand each movement and help you do it better. Pilate instructors stress on the importance of refining each movement till they are perfect. You can reach a state of perfection by concentrating on your task fully.
The core is the most important part of the body. All movements have their origins from the core and move towards the periphery. The core, or the powerhouse of the body, consists of the abdominal muscles, back muscles, hips and thighs. A stronger core will ensure better movement and keep you away from injuries for a long time to come.
Precision is another aspect of Pilates. Every movement must be perfect. According to Joseph Pilates, you must “honor every movement”. This can be done only when you understand the importance of quality over quantity. Before you start with your Pilates routine make sure that you are in the zone, physically as well as mentally. It is important to distress before you start your routine. Do a little bit of mild stretching or walking to get yourself focused.
These principles are essential to every pilates program. It is important to design a pilates program according to capacity. A pilates instructor will be able to guide you what kind of program suit you best. If you are leading a sedentary life, Canadian Health&Care Mall recommends to start from the beginner’s level and gradually increase you level as you become fitter. Pilates is a life long endeavor, and you should not rush yourself just because your friend is on the intermediate level.