Pilates is suitable for a wide range of people, from beginners to professional sportspeople, and including pregnant women and seniors. Rather than concentrating upon specific areas, Pilates treats the body as a whole, building up muscle without adding bulk, improving joint mobility and flexibility, and boosting energy levels.
“Everyone benefits from Pilates in their own unique ways, but Pilates offers myriad unchanging, invaluable benefits for everyone, including the following improvements in your physical and mental condition: good circulation; deep, healthy breathing and increased lung capacity; strength and flexibility; healthy bones and joints; improved posture, balance, and coordination; a strong abdomen and a powerful “core”; energy, stamina, and stress relief; reduction of body “aches and pains”; and prevention of reinjury of damaged muscles and joints”
Excerpt From: “The Everything Pilates Book.”
In his book RETURN TO LIFE THROUGH CONTROLOGY, Joseph Pilates defined his work as a way to completely and thoroughly unify the body, mind and spirit. His principles, which we now call the principles of Pilates, are the foundation for his approach to physical fitness.
Concentration promotes the mind-body connection. As you focus and become mindful of each body movement, Pilates states you will receive optimum physical value from each movement as well as enhance your body awareness.
During your Pilates workout, you should consciously bring your focus to the center of your body. As you focus within, this Pilates principle suggests you will bring calm to both your body and spirit. Pilates called the center of your torso the “powerhouse,” from which all energy for exercise is derived.
Pilates’ method is based on mindfulness, including proper, safe and complete muscle control. With proper control, you utilize the exact and correct form, leaving no part of your body unattended. In your mindful awareness, you direct each and every movement.
According to Pilates’ precision principle, executing one exercise with deliberate exactitude is more important than completing more repetitions with sloppier form. For this reason, good Pilates instructors provide detailed instructions to their students on all Pilates movements.
Deep, controlled, diaphragmatic breathing activates blood circulation and awakens cells and muscles. Pilates recommended visualizing the lungs as bellows as you bring air in to the fullest and release it in the same manner. He wrote that breathing is the most integral part of exercise, and even if one follows no other recommendation, learning to breathe correctly is the most important thing.
Pilates routines are completed through a gentle flow. Grace, ease and fluidity are the intention Joseph Pilates applied to all exercise. Continuous, smooth and elegant movement as you transition from one pose to another will bring strength and stamina according to this principle.