sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the
difference and in thirty, you will have a whole new body!' - Joseph
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates who was a frail young man until
he discovered a way of exercising that improved his health using
pulling systems on beds (now known as the Pilates reformer). He then
went on to work with dancers where his reputation grew giving strength
and toned muscles to whoever he worked with.
The principles of Pilates focus on:
- keeping the mind focused at all times.
- working in the session with proper relaxation and no tension.
- learning to use the body in a way that works all body parts in sync.
- deep thoratic (rib) breathing (unlike yoga which uses abdominal
and flowing movements - using movements from either the central
powerhouse of the body and then graceful flowing movements to balance
- each movement is performed in a controlled way.
- each movement has a purpose.
achieved through using a very important part of our body, our deep down
core muscles of the pelvis and torso that are often neglected. It
trains you to realign your posture and the way you breathe so your body
is more balanced.
It is something that can be done at home, at the gym, on holiday or
pretty much on any floor space.
Types of Pilates
Pilates mat work classes
This uses traditional and adapted Pilates routines adjusted to use a
mat. The classes can be for beginners, intermediate or advanced levels
and usually have a maximum of 12 participants. This is a great class
for balancing the body, flexibility, body awareness and toning.
Exercises are broken down and tailored to each client being extremely
safe for those who are recovering from an injury or alleviating pain.
However, the mat class can be made particularly challenging using
larger equipment with more complex techniques.
Studio equipment Pilates classes
These classes are small in size with several pieces of equipment. There
may be two teachers and twice as many students. The equipment may
include such instruments as 'the reformer', 'the Cadillac', 'trapeze
table' and wall springs for resistance.
One to one classes
Pilates can also be carried out on a more private basis with one
teacher and one student. Here the teacher can work uninterrupted on the
student and this can be especially beneficial for those wishing to use
Pilates for injury rehabilitation or pain relief.
Pilates can be for anybody and adapted to suit an individual's needs.
For those who don't like group situations private tuition is more
suitable but this will obviously be more expensive.
There is no special kit needed, which is unlike yoga. Just loose,
comfortable, moveable clothing is fine. You don't need to purchase your
own equipment but if you don't you will need a thicker mat than a yoga
matt as this is too thin for some movements.
Which gets you fitter - Yoga or Pilates?
If fitness and weight loss are your goals then bikram yoga is the best
place to start or astanga yoga. For overall strength, toning and
conditioning of the body, Pilates is better. Here core muscles are the
focus whereas in yoga the focus is on the body as a whole. For
spiritual benefits - hatha and astanga yoga will calm your mind.
therefore although similar to yoga in many of its principles still has
very different benefits and functions. It can be used successfully to
work on injuries, rehabilitation and body imbalances as well as toning
the body as a whole brilliantly, but if you're looking for more
specific benefits such as flexibility, mental health and meditation
then yoga comes out best.
Author quote: “I did Pilates myself a while ago to recover
from a running injury, very tough discipline to actually master! It was
in LA while I was there at the time and the contraptions they use are
so funny! But I thoroughly recommend it.”
Article by: Gemma
Carter who is a fully trained fitness and life coach. Visit
website at http://www.cartercoaching.co.uk
or email her at: