What is Pilates?
Pilates is a physical fitness method developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. He was born in 1883 in Monchengladbach, Germany, a small town near Dusseldorf, Germany. As a child, he was small and not well, suffering from rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever. He was so skinny it was hard for him to fight back when older boys bullied him. These factors inspired him to attain a high level of physical fitness, so he studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise including yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman regimens. He also observed animals in the woods, which inspired his understanding of natural movement. By the time he was 14 years old he had worked so diligently he had developed his body to the point that he was modeling for anatomy charts.
In 1912, he moved to England where he planned to have a boxing career; however, World War I broke out in 1914 and he was interned in a camp. It was here that he devised his system of original exercises, which he later called “contrology”, and defined it as the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. He incorporated springs from the hospital beds to develop equipment to allow the bedridden to do his exercises. This was the beginning of Pilates as we know it today.
Joseph Pilates defined physical fitness as the “attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” A uniformly developed body is the natural development, and employment, of smaller intrinsic muscles that assist and automatically strengthen the large muscle groups.
Pilates is an exercise method for every body that aims to coordinate mind, body, and spirit through the execution of specific exercises. Pilates teaches you how to focus on the movements of your body as the exercises are taught. Through the repetition of these precise exercises, your core will strengthen and your muscles will lengthen and balance—resulting in ultimate overall improvement in your movement potential.
Results of the Pilates Method
- Renewed sense of energy
- Toned, lengthened, and strengthen muscles
- Increased body awareness
- Improved posture, balance, and flexibility
- Increased lung capacity and organ tone
- Greater circulation, and joint decompression and articulation
- Calmer mental state and clearer perspective
- Weight loss, and improved bone density
- Overall, better health and quality of life
A Typical Pilates Session
Your instructor will guide you through a specific sequence of exercises. These may be performed on a mat or using apparatus including the reformer, tower, chair or a combination of these.
During the session, you will move through a range of fundamental body movements intended to fully access your major muscle groups and articulation of your limbs. Special attention will be paid to developing strength and stability in your core as well as articulation of your spine, including flexion, lateral flexion, rotation and extension.
New to Pilates?
- Wear comfortable clothes to move in; shoes are not worn during class and socks are optional.
- Private Sessions are recommended to start a Pilates practice in order for the teacher to address individual needs and to ensure the exercises are performed safely.
- Beginning mat classes are a way to learn the Pilates repertoire starting with the basic movements.
- Check out the “New Students only” session pricing package.