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Pilates

Pilates Aims
Pilates was designed as a system of exercises with a few precise movements, emphasizing control and form to regain health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing key muscles. Joseph Pilates created "The Pilates Principles" to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centring, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement.

 

Posture

Correct postural alignment of the skeletal structure is crucial to the practice of Pilates, not only to get the best out of the exercise, but also to prevent injury. Achieving optimal alignment starts with positioning the pelvis, ribcage, shoulder girdle, and head in a neutral alignment with respect to each other, and then utilizing all the stabilization muscles to maintain that alignment while performing the exercises. Correct alignment in Pilates also means limiting range of motion of the appendages so as to not push the joints beyond where the ligaments and connective tissue are strained. Pilates called the very large group of muscles in the centre of the body the “powerhouse” (Modern instructors call it "The Core”). All energy for Pilates exercises is said to begin from the core and flow outward to the limbs. Pilates felt that it was important to build a strong core in order to rely on it in daily living.

 

Breathing

Pilates breathing should be done with concentration, control, and precision. Proper and effective breathing not only oxygenates the muscles, but also reduces tension in the upper neck and shoulders. Joseph Pilates believed that for the blood to do its work properly, it has to be charged with oxygen and purged of waste gases through proper breathing. By this standard, if you stop breathing during exercise, there is an error in your practice. Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are purportedly a part of every Pilates exercise where each practitioner is instructed to breathe deep into the back and sides of his or her rib cage. When practitioners exhale, they are instructed to note the engagement of their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement as they inhale. Pilates attempts to properly coordinate this breathing practice with movement, including breathing instructions with every exercise.

 

Concentration

Pilates demands intense focus. For instance, the inner thighs and pelvic floor may be assessed when doing a standing exercise that tones the triceps. Beginners are instructed to pay careful attention to their bodies, building on very small, delicate fundamental movements and controlled breathing. Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose and every instruction is considered vitally important to the success of the whole. To leave out any detail is believed to forsake the intrinsic value of the exercise. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature, and carry over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.