What is Pilates?


What Is Pilates?

Melanie CollieEven though Pilates has been around for just over 100 years, many of us aren’t unsure exactly what it is. Is it Yoga? Is it lying on a mat and doing crunches? Does it help you have a stronger back?

Well, yes and no to all of those.

From the beginning, Pilates is a system of movements for the body created by Joseph Pilates.

Yes, a bloke! Now you wouldn’t have thought so, because many women practice and adore the Pilates system.

It’s really only recently that men have started to add it to their training regime because it helps balance out the skeletal system.

So if you are a runner, weight lifter, rower, golfer, equestrian, climber, cyclist, tennis player, for example, Pilates is a wonderful addition to your exercise programme that can enhance your chosen sport, help improve rotation, flexibility and fluidity.

Joseph Pilates was born into a healthy family, with an athletic father and a herbalist mother, he was aware from a young age how the body functioned. However, being born with rickets and developing rheumatic fever, he had an uphill struggle from an early age.

His method, which he called Contrology, was created through practicing many different disciplines and using the best exercises from each, such as yoga, martial arts, boxing, gymnastics, Greek & Roman calisthenetics.

The beauty of a method that can be practiced on the mat and also on equipment like the Reformer, Spine Corrector or Cadillac, using resistance bands and the Pilates Circle as well as other pieces of equipment to enhance and challenge each move.

Mel ColliePilates is a total body conditioning method, that strengthens and lengthens the entire body. It’s not possible to lengthen a muscle, but when a muscle has changed, it is tight.

Through postural changes, such as sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen for 8 hours a day, muscles changes tone. Some become weaker, some become longer. The Pilates method challenges the weaker muscles to step up and work the tighter muscles to let go and balance out.

Whatever your age or ability, the Pilates method has different levels, and all moves are suitable for beginners up to Intermediate and Advanced levels.

In my next blog post, I will go through a move that helps articulate the spine, bringing back the correct movement of each vertebrae, helps balance the hips, focus on the core and lengthen the neck as well as balance out the knees and feet. Sounds like a big ask from just one move, but when performed correctly with intention, focus and control, each Pilates move is a challenge, and challenges when achieved make us feel amazing.

Mel Collie 

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