What is Pilates?
Pilates is a physical fitness system that was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Pilates was developed by Joe during World War I to improve the rehabilitation program for wounded soldiers. Joe practiced precise movements with fewer repetitions, focusing on control and technique. Joe believed that mental and physical health were essential to one another, creating what is a method of total body conditioning. Pilates uses correct alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement (the Pilates principles) to establish a perfect working body from the inside out.
Pilates classes build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone with an emphasis on lengthening the body and aligning the spine, rather than on bulking and shortening the muscles. Pilates has a focus on the core which can basically be thought of as the ‘powerhouse’ of your body. Your core is the area between your shoulders and your pelvis (without your arms and legs) and encompasses all the muscles within this area. The essential intrinsic core muscles are your Transverse Abdominus, Pelvic Floor and Multifidus muscles which we learn to train as part of the Pilates method.
Because of its core focus, Pilates is popular not only in the field of fitness, but also in rehabilitation. It can be used to progress individuals through movements that represent their day-to-day activities. The focus on strengthening the core and improving postural awareness are especially well indicated for the alleviation and prevention of back, neck and joint pain.