(Its origins and aims)
Pilates was originally devised by Joseph Pilates during the First World War.
After the war he came into contact with the world of dance
and opened his first fitness studio in New York.
His method of training attracted ballet dancers, actresses and the cream of New York society.
The technique grew in popularity across the rest of America and in Europe.
Today there are more than 500 studios in the USA alone.
Amongst its leading devotees are Madonna, Joan Collins, Glen Close and Jodie Foster.
The list is almost endless!
The Pilates method has changed and been modified over the years
and should now be taught in line with current research that was obviously not available in Joseph Pilates’ time.
However, the underlying principles remain the same.
One of these principles is that Pilates is the thinking person’s exercise.
For it to work, a certain amount of concentration is required.
The effect of Pilates is that it will lengthen and tone your muscles rather than bulk them up.
It will work on protecting your back through stabilization.
It will strengthen the abdominals and pelvic floor
and teach you how to exercise whilst both relaxing you physically and mentally.
It will also increase your body awareness through the focus on posture and alignment.
The two main strains of Pilates are the exercises for the ‘Reformers’
and the more recently adapted, mat based normally referred to as ‘Matwork’.
They are both complementary and sometimes being alternatives,
but the Reformers are more normally associated with rehabilitation work.
Matwork is normally done in groups, with a Group / Class Pilates trainer,
while the use of Reformers tends to be more on a ‘one to one’ basis, with a Personal Pilates trainer.
However, Matwork can be also be done on a ‘one to one’ basis but,
it is not recommended that Reformers should be used by Groups,
as Reformers require very close supervision as one is, in practice, dealing with moving ‘machinery’.
Modern Pilates is a multi-muscle exercise technique that works the body as a whole.
Modern Pilates is a totally holistic approach to fitness and is suitable for all ages and all bodies.
The exercises consist of slow, controlled, flowing movements (usually executed lying down)
concentrating on the deep core muscles within the torso.
As a result muscles become longer and more toned,
joint mobility is increased and
posture, co-ordination and alignment is improved.
With regular sessions your body will become stronger, more streamlined and can even change shape.
Pilates may also help to alleviate stress-related disorders
with most clients experience a feeling of inner calm after a session.
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