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What is Pilates?

Image by Samantha Oci.     What is Pilates?      

What is Pilates? An expert explains all…

Discover everything you need to know about this transformational low to no impact full body workout.

Ann Salmon

Ann Salmon has been a qualified and respected Pilates and Yoga instructor for several years, and incorporates rehabilitation, fitness and yoga into her private practice, Progression Pilates.

Here, we ask her everything you need to know about what pilates is, and how you can choose the right class for you.

pilates for rehabilitation

Image by Samantha Oci     pilates for rehabilitation 

“The mind, when housed within a beautiful body, possesses a glorious sense of power”

~ Joseph Pilates 

What is Pilates?
Pilates is a holistic approach to exercise and rehabilitation. These days there are countless training schools, so there isn’t one type of Pilates. However the fundamentals of Pilates focuses on balance, posture, strength and flexibility. Much of the focus is not only on the exercises but the way the exercise is performed, promoting good posture and a balanced approach to strengthening and mobilising the body.

How did you discover Pilates?
I was introduced to Pilates many years ago when I started to experience the common aches and pains associated with sitting too long at the desk in a stressful office environment. From my very first class, I started to feel the benefit to my tight stiff body and stressed troubled mind.  After several years of struggling with undiagnosed pain in my mid 30’s, I was diagnosed with early onset osteoarthritis in the hips. Which meant I could no longer run or do all the high impact exercise I had previously done, but I still had Pilates. So after my first hip replacement and a struggle back to fitness I decided to train to be a Pilates teacher myself.  It was here that my passion in Pilates as a form movement therapy really began.

The History of Pilates: How did it all start?

history of pilates

Image by Samantha Oci   history of pilates

“Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor outright purchase”

~ Joseph Pilates 

Pilates may have risen to fame thanks to holistic health loving celebs, but it’s actually something that has been practiced since the 1920’s - and it has a far more practical history than most people realise.

Its founder, Joseph Pilates, was reportedly a frail child who born in Germany in 1883. He suffered from Rickets and Asthma, but he was determined to overcome his aliments - which he did by developing a technique where he attached springs to the bed to relearn to walk and regain strength. Realising the importance of his discovery, Joseph brought this method into hospitals during the first world war and helped many patients who had also lost the use of their legs.

In the 1920’s Joseph Pilates and his wife immigrated to America and set up a studio in New York, where they began teaching what they called ‘Contrology’. This soon became popular with the dance community and celebrities of the time and after his death, this unique approach to body conditioning was renamed ‘Pilates’.

Pilates now

These days Pilates has become mainstream and is taught in gyms and studios around the world. Although the technique has been adapted and changed by teachers over the years the same original principals are still relevant.
 
  • Breath
  • Concentration
  • Centring
  • Control
  • Precision
  • Flow
benefits of pilates

Image by Samantha Oci   benefits of pilates

Physical Benefits of Pilates
 
  • Better posture  - reducing back pain and enabling a more efficient respiratory system.
  • Strengthened core muscles and overall stability.
  • Greater tone, strength and muscle control.
  • Better balance and body awareness - resulting in less likelihood of sustaining injuries in other activities.
  • Greater joint mobility - reducing joint pain and muscle tension.
  • Better awareness of body alignment Improved breathing patterns, decreasing neck and shoulder tension.
  • Improved sports and exercise performance.
  • Longer leaner muscles.
  • Improved flexibility.
 
Pilates for Fitness

"In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body." 

~ Joseph Pilates

No longer just a celebrity fad, Pilates is now taught in many gyms and studios around the world. As Pilates is a low or no impact full bodywork out, it’s a great safe way all-inclusive way to strengthen and tone the body.
 
Pilates for Rehabilitation

pilates low impact workout

Image by Samantha Oci   pilates low impact workout

“Change happens through movement and movement heals”

~ Joseph Pilates

Whether you need to rebuild strength after an injury or illness, or need help to manage or alleviate pain, Pilates is now recommended by many healthcare professionals. 

The Pilates method of movement therapy is a blend of modern exercise science and recommended rehabilitation principles. It not only allows us to strengthen the body in a safe and highly effective way, but also reconnects us with our bodies and our movement patterns, enabling us to address and correct damaging habitual movement patterns.

Pilates is a form of exercise which focuses on balance, posture, strength and flexibility. So when practiced regularly it delivers long-term positive effects on the body and general wellbeing.
 
Pilates for Sports 

pilates classes

Image by Samantha Oci   pilates classes

“When all your muscles are properly developed, you will, as a matter of course, perform your work with minimum effort and maximum pleasure” 

~ Joseph Pilates 

Pilates has become increasingly popular to with both amateur and professional sports people for its potential to help build body awareness along with strength, balance and mobility. Pilates is an extremely valuable practice for injury prevention and rehabilitation as well as improving range of movement, balance and flexibility. 

Pilates is an ideal way to bring your body back in to balance and get it functioning to the best of its ability.
 
Benefits of Pilates for sports

  •       Strengthens core muscles, developing balance, posture and control.
  •       Builds better body awareness, helping to prevent injuries.
  •       Multi plane so creates a balanced strong body.
  •       Function mobility exercises; leading to a stronger, more dynamic range of movement.
  •       Improved flexibility and core strength resulting in less physical strain and tension.

Reformer Pilates, just a gimmick?
try pilates

Image by Samantha Oci   try pilates

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness”

~ Joseph Pilates

Many of us have tried or heard about Matt Pilates, but recently gyms and studios are now offering Reformer Pilates. I must admit before I trained to be a Reformer Pilates teacher, I was under the impression that the reformer was a bit of a gimmick. But now I understand the principals behind it, I’m a convert!

The Reformer is a spring-assisted carriage that can be used to add resistance or assistance and has a wide appeal, from injury rehabilitation to training dancers and athletes. The nature of the design creates a safe platform to introduce assisted movement when working in a rehabilitation setting or add resistance when making an exercise more difficult.

 
 For more information about Ann’s classes and services you can visit her website, Progression Pilates or follow her on Instagram.

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