What is Pilates?Mat Class Photo

The Pilates Method is the perfect low impact, full body workout originally developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Originally called ‘Contrology’, the name has since changed to honour its creator.

The Pilates focus is on developing strong mind-body awareness through the following fundamental principles:

  • Breath – Joseph Pilates believed that as breathing is both the first and last act of life, and that life is impossible without it, learning to master the art of correct breathing is of paramount importance. Emphasis is placed on fully expanding and contracting the lungs through lateral breathing (ribcage breathing) to pump air in and out of the body completely.
  • Centre – Requires drawing the mental and physical focus to the centre or ‘core’ of the body, comprising the deep abdominal and back muscles, roughly located between the bottom of the ribcage and the hips and also known as the ‘powerhouse’ or ‘internal support system’.
  • Concentration – Performing each exercise with a total awareness and attention to detail allows the individual to achieve the maximum benefit from each and every movement. In this respect, the Pilates practice encompasses the very heart of Mindfulness.

“Concentrate on the correct movements EACH TIME YOU EXERCISE, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value. Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities. Contrology [Pilates] exercises build a sturdy body and sound mind fitted to perform every daily task with ease and perfection as well as to provide tremendous reserve energy for sports, recreation, emergencies.”

                                                                        Joseph Pilates – Return to Contrology, 1945

  • Control – This principle requires that the mind be in control of the muscles rather than the muscles having a ‘mind’ of their own. Developing correct and functional posture is only truly achievable when the mind is aware of and in complete control of the muscles of the body.
  • Flow – Performing each exercise with poise, balance and grace so that the energy flows smoothly through the body with ease, and without sharp, jarring or jolting movements.
  • Precision – Ensuring that each technical component of the movement is performed correctly in regards to “placement, alignment and trajectory for each moving part of the body”

Return to Contrology, Joseph Pilates.

Benefits of Pilates to Health and Wellness:

Benefits of regular practice of the Pilates method are:

  • Improved strength, especially of the deep core stabilisers in the abdomen and lower back, pelvis and buttocks
  • Improved flexibility
  • Increased lung capacity and circulation
  • Improved posture
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved joint health & bone density
  • Improved balance
  • Increased pelvic floor control
  • Improved spine stabilisation (often resulting in a reduction in back pain)
  • Reduction in stress and tension
  • Improved body image & confidence
  • Improved Mind-Body Connection
  • And much more

Pilates is a practice  intenCarmel & Merrin reformerded to be learned over time and to be continued throughout one’s life in order to continually improve and perfect the movements. It is vital to fully perfect each exercise before attempting the more difficult variations and this could take some time. Pilates is best practiced two to three times per week for optimal results.

“The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.”

- Joseph Pilates