Everyone! However, if you recognise yourself in the list below, then you will definitely reap the rewards that Pilates and its equipment has to offer:
- suffering from specific or non-specific back pain.
- have a spinal condition like kyphosis, scoliosis or stenosis.
- issues like hypermobility and osteoporosis.
- pregnancy- the versatility of the equipment allows a full and rewarding exercise regime for the whole 9 months.
- post -natal- regaining abdominal strength and coping with those buggies and car seats!
- complementing and enhancing other sports and activities like running,cycling,tennis and golf.
- correcting muscular imbalances.
- or just feeling weak and stiff!
Pilates... and its misconceptions
I would be very rich if I had earned a pound for every time someone has said to me “Oh, Pilates, isn't that just some wafty stretching for dancers and a bit of breathing, a bit like yoga.”
Well, let me put you right if that's what you are thinking too. Firstly, however it does involve correct breathing and elements of stretching, but it is a controlled concentrated strengthening programme that tones, sculpts and lengthens muscles, promotes improved circulation by oxygenating the blood though full breath patterns and mobilises the spine in all directions.
Contrology became Pilates
When Joseph Pilates initially developed his technique he called it “Contrology”. Only since his death has it been named after him. He brought together principles and elements of self-defence, Tai-Chi, gymnastics, boxing and yoga in order to create his “Contrology” method. And far from its origins being for dancers, in fact it was partly with the Hamburg police that he devised his series of matwork exercises.
Ahead of his time
His vision was for attaining supreme physical fitness and health by developing the body uniformly through his regime of full focused breathing and routinely performing his list of exercises combined with good diet, sleep, sunshine and body brushing, among other lifestyle choices. Learning and applying with awareness, that the mind controls our muscles was key to his aim of achieving perfect mind and body balance.
Pilates and Core Stability
Joseph Pilates designated the area of the torso between the lower ribs and hips as the “Powerhouse” or centre. He believed that correctly developing this area of the body is crucial to mastering his method of body conditioning. A strong centre is vital as it supports and decompresses the the spine, promotes proper breathing and gives better control over all movements, which in turn improves posture and balance and provides a natural “corset” for your vital organs.
History of the Equipment
When World War 1 broke out, Joseph Pilates happened to be in Britain and therefore, as a German national, he was interned into a hospital on the Isle of Man. He then expanded his ideas by adapting hospital beds into forms of equipment with springs, pulleys and straps in order to rehabilitate the soldiers who were bed-ridden with broken limbs, amputations and severe injuries.
Development of the idea
He realised how quickly the body debilitated without exercise, how the muscles atrophied and how health deteriorated. By using this system of beds with pulleys and springs the part of the body that was injured could be supported, while the rest of the body could be worked and strengthened.
Pilates emigrates to USA
At the end of the war and after a brief return to Germany, Pilates emigrated to America, settling in New York and opening a studio, which, by chance, was in the same building as a few dance companies. Intrigued by what he was doing, dancers began to train with him in order to improve their technique or recover from injury.
Benefits for all
His popularity grew and his studio thrived. He refined the method using the athleticism of the dancer's body. Therefore, the use of the equipment – Reformer, Cadillac Trapeze Table/Tower, Stability Chair and Barrels – is of enormous benefit right across the spectrum of life, from rehabilitation after injury, correcting imbalances in the body, helping issues like scoliosis or osteoporosis, complementing other sports and activities, challenging athletes and dancers or enjoying it as an overall exercise programme, all whilst working mindfully with correct postural alignment.
Nearly all Pilates equipment comes with straps and springs which offer resistance training of a type that is unique to the Pilates Method. This equipment teaches your muscles to become springs themselves and facilitates movements that can't be achieved without assistance. Pilates is for life as a maintenance programme and for improved well being by applying and taking its principles and techniques into your everyday functional tasks and movements.
Please call 07795 284724 to discuss how I can help you to reap the benefits.