Change happens through movement, and movement heals.
— Joseph Pilates
When I want to move, to do some exercise I do Pilates – to get stronger, more flexible, more centered. When I am recovering from cold, I do Pilates – to feel better and get my body back. When I feel low, under pressure, or it is simply dark outside and all I want is to curl up in bed and sleep – I do Pilates to keep myself motivated to get on with the daily routine.
Pilates for me is much more than an exercise system: it is a healing method. It is my therapy.
Body awareness in Pilates training arises from concentration during exercises and connecting breath to movement. Each Pilates exercise has a breathing pattern. This helps to calm the mind and to train the body how to respond to stress in a more controlled manner. It improves sleep quality, reduces anxiety and stress and lowers the blood pressure.
By creating body awareness, Pilates training helps to develop an understanding of the body’s natural alignment and tendencies, such as slouching, stiffness, or misalignment in the hips. Repetitive Pilates exercises help the practitioners to work on their body problem areas first in the Pilates studio and then to take this awareness and healthy habits into their daily lives.
Whole Body Training
Unlike other forms of exercise that treat body parts as distinct from one another, Pilates training works to integrate the entire body as a system. Each exercise teaches how distinct muscles groups support the body as whole. This helps to improve balance and posture. When it comes to injuries, unlike a traditional medical professional, the Pilates trainer helps to heal the body as a whole body, not only its injured parts.
Pilates training does not simply give you more muscle definition. It works the muscles in a balanced way, and from inside out, challenging not only the visible, but also the invisible deep-lying “core” muscles that are hard to reach with regular weight training but that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. The “core” is the centre of the body and the backbone of movement.
Pilates is often recommended for back pain, because it focuses on the stability and balance of the deep spinal muscles. When these key muscles do not properly function in sync with one another, excess strain is placed on other, more superficially located muscles of the back, putting strain on them, bringing pain and sometimes severe pain. Pilates training helps to build awareness of these deep spinal stabiliser muscles and the abdominal muscles that support them – the ‘core’. This reduces spinal overload and ultimately back pain and improves the quality of life.
Minimum Impact, Maximum Effect
Most Pilates exercises are relatively gentle to the body as they are performed with minimal weight bearing and impact, which makes Pilates an excellent therapeutic exercise for people of all ages and abilities.
Regular Pilates training can make a significant difference in your quality of life. Movement is life. Pilates helps to free people from pain, discomfort and restricted movement to give them back their lives.