Pilates Classes

Pilates gives a whole new meaning to the word exercise.  Unlike other forms of exercise that develop muscular mass, Pilates focuses on developing the core strength and stability of an individual. Core muscles are hardly visible because they are deep tissue muscles that are underneath and formed around the trunk of the body like the abdominal, oblique, mid and lower back muscles.  Giving ample attention to your core muscles is essential because contrary to common knowledge it does not only give you strength. Core muscles are used in all the movements that our bodies are engaged in.  If your core strength is developed it will allow you to exert less energy and feel less fatigued and this is because your body will be able respond to the challenges that everyday activity brings.

The man behind this health promoting art is no other that Joseph Pilates.  Joseph Pilates was a sickly child.  He faced different illnesses such as asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever.  He was also often bullied by bigger children.  His father was an accomplished gymnast and his mother believed in physical healing without the use of artificial methods.  All of these factors led Joseph to seek to overcome his physical weakness.  He then began to educate himself with fitness activities like anatomy, bodybuilding, wrestling, yoga, gymnastics and martial arts.  With dedication and hard work his early physical limitations did not prevent him from being a boxer, skier and diver.  When the war broke out he was interned in England.  While he was in the camp he developed floor exercises and created resistance equipment.  People say that those who participated with Joseph’s exercise were more fit and were not affected with outbreaks.  After the war he was asked by his country to train soldiers but he opted to go to the United States instead.  On his way there he met his future wife Clara.  He further developed the technique he formulated at the internment camp and built a studio in New York with Clara which mainly trained dancers at first.  Clara called it Contrology being that it believes in the balance and control of the mind, body and spirit to promote health and fitness.

The popularity of Contrology, now called Pilates may be attributed to its success in giving individuals the capacity to become stronger, leaner and longer with endurance, grace and ease.  People who practice Pilates also testify that they have been more resistant to illnesses and are noticeably able to have a speedy recovery from their injuries. Its principles center on flow, precision, control, centering, concentration and breathing.  The integration of these principles results to building a solid foundation for any movement of the body.

If you are male or female, an athlete, a dancer, pregnant or bouncing from pregnancy, someone who experiences acute or chronic pain, recuperating from an injury or if you want to manage conditions like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, stroke or asthma or if you just would like to improve the general condition of your body or health then Pilates comes highly recommended for you.  In other words, Pilates is for men or women of all ages who would like to be more healthy or if you are just looking for a bit of fun.  The most basic equipment needed for a Pilates workout would be a Pilates mat.  Most studios have mats available but it would be more advisable that you have your own mat so you can practice exercises at home or wherever and whenever you want to.  If you have already conquered the basics and are up to the challenge you can also use advanced Pilates tools like the Big Ball, the Flex-band, the Roller and the Pilates Magic Circle.  Other than that, all the other Pilates machines are within your reach in the studios of your choice.

If you want to get started with Pilates you can first make up your mind if you would want a private class, a group or if you would want to start from home.  If you decide to work at home you can buy your Pilates mat and video, however if you decide to learn from a studio you can check out where you will be attending class and check out if you would feel comfortable using the equipment they have.  It would also be best to study the terms and principles that Pilates revolves around.  If you have any injury or illness it is also advised to seek your doctor’s approval and opinion first.  It is very important that you have a certified Pilates instructor to make sure that your quest to optimum health is not in any way compromised.