“Physical Fitness is the first requisite of happiness”– Joseph Pilates
What is Pilates?
Originally called “Contrology”, Pilates is movement that works the entire body. It is just not an exercise. It is a series of controlled movements engaging your body and mind. The method encompasses more than 500 exercises, without counting modifications and variations, performed on specifically designed various exercise apparatus -or none at all. Pilates is based on the principle that before working the peripheral parts of the body, the “powerhouse” needs to be strong and stable. The “powerhouse” is the deepest muscles in the abdomen, inner thighs, buttocks and lower back. It works by re-balancing the body through the use of movements, altering the way in which you use your muscles to produce them. It changes the way you use your body, the way you move … through stretching, strengthening and control. With Pilates, there is emphasis on quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike many systems of exercise, Pilates exercises do not include a lot of repetitions for each move. Instead, doing each exercise fully, with precision, yields significant results in a shorter time than one would ever imagine.
Who can benefit from Pilates?
Everybody can benefit from Pilates. It is for the young, the elderly, the unfit, athletes, dancers, any one requiring top form or who just want to alleviate pain. The work is tailored to the individual, so it can be as gentle as needed or as challenging as desired.
The Health Benefits of Pilates?
- You develop length with stability as opposed to compression with stability.
- Increases mental concentration and enhances body awareness.
- Develops a strong optimal core.
- Tones and builds long lean muscles without bulk.
- Improves posture.
- Improves strength, flexibility and balance.
- Increases circulation and endurance.
- Creates an evenly conditioned body and prevents sports injuries.
- Provides a challenging yet great low impact workout that is gentle to the body.
Why should you do Pilates?
Pilates is designed to transform every aspect of your life. It improves your state of physical and mental health, building strength, endurance, flexibility, and suppleness of muscles. You’ll breathe better. Your everyday life activities will seem more effortless, and your overall outlook will improve. Simply said, your life will be better.
How often should I do Pilates?
“In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions, you will see the difference. In 30 sessions, you will have a whole new body” -Joseph Pilates
Most of Inner Core Wellness clients attend classes at least 2x a week, some more, some less. Your frequency of attendance is directly related to your ability to improve and advance through the Pilates system. Done 2-3x/week is adequate to see effective results.Consistency is crucial for internalizing the Method and progressing to the next level.
Joseph H. Pilates was born in 1880 in Germany. He was a sickly child and suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever, and he dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength. At a young age, he began studying body-building, yoga, zen, and gymnastics. Pilates came to believe that the “modern” life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health. He ultimately devised a series of exercises and training-techniques and engineered all the equipment, specifications, and tuning required teaching his methods properly. Pilates was originally a gymnast, diver, and bodybuilder, but when he moved to England in 1912, he earned a living as a professional boxer, circus-performer, and self-defense trainer. During World War I , he was interned along with other German citizens in a camp on the Isle of Man.
During this involuntary break, he began to intensively develop his concept of an integrated, comprehensive system of physical exercise, which he himself called “Contrology”. He studied yoga and the movements of animals and trained his fellow inmates in fitness and exercises. In 1925 Pilates and his wife Clara founded a studio in New York City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960s. His method, which he and Clara originally called “Contrology”, related to encouraging the use of the mind to control muscles. It focuses attention on core postural muscles that help keep the human body balanced and provide support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles. Joseph Pilates wrote several books, including Return to Life through Contrology and Your Health. Pilates died in 1967 at the age of 87 in New York.
More on Joseph Pilates Work
Joseph Pilates created Pilates movements performed on the floor (mat work) where there is no stress on the joints, but rather on the muscles that support them. Generally, the Pilates exercises can be done on a Pilates Mat or on special Apparatus. While on the Mat, the body supplies its own resistance to movement, by way of gravity. The Apparatus work offers a different kind of challenge that places resistance against motion yet offers support as you stretch farther and into different positions.
Romana Kryzanowska was the world renowned protégé of Joseph Pilates. At age 17, while studying at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, she suffered an ankle injury, and was taken by Balanchine to Joseph Pilates to see if exercise rather than an operation would resolve the problem. The exercises were a success, and she continued to study with Pilates.
Romana worked under the direct supervision of her mentors. Romana made a commitment to Joseph and Clara Pilates that she would continue their life’s work. After Joe and Clara Pilates passed away, Romana Kryzanowska inherited their New York City studio and preserved the Pilates’ legacy by traveling the world for six decades to educate the next generation of Pilates instructors. Kryzanowska’s daughter, Sari Mejia Santo, who also had the opportunity to train directly with the Pilates, taught at her mother’s side for more than three decades.
Romana passed away on August 30, 2013. She believed that Pilates is more than an exercise program- it is a way of life. “You apply Pilates in everyday life, like how you sit , how you walk.” Doing Pilates changes one’s body. She likens it to building a house. “You build the foundation and work up from that point until you have a strong solid structure that should be maintained regularly.”