What Exactly Is Pilates?

Lauren Intriago | July 11, 2019

Pilates or the Pilates Method is a pain-relieving, muscle strengthening and posture correcting exercise. It was invented by physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. Joe was very sickly as a child and experienced bullying due to his small stature. In an effort to defend himself, 14 year old Joe began a series of activities to build his muscles and improve his performance. After achieving a strong and muscular body as well as gaining some experience in physical training, the young man opened a studio in New York with his wife, Clara. His teachings there included “Controlology”. Pilates is quoted as saying, “It is the mind itself which builds the body. The Pilates Method teaches you to be in control of your body – and not at its mercy.”

There are over 500 moves based on calisthenics, yoga and ballet in the Pilates Method. These unique physical efforts will accomplish 4 things: flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. But there is so much more to it as Pilates lengthens and stretches the body, using your mind to control your body through aerobic and non-aerobic movement. Clients who may benefit include injured dancers or athletes, post surgery patients, pregnant or post pregnancy women, those with limited mobility and low fitness levels.

As far as what to expect, Pilates is not a sweaty, exhausting form of activity. Rather, it is intense concentration, patterned breathing and rhythm, controlled movement and low repetitions. Your pilates instructor should be fully trained in the Pilates methods, evaluating your needs and concerns and do a regular re-evaluation as to what is working and what is not working. It should never make your pain worse or cause extreme pain. Some soreness may occur but should go away within a short amount of time. As always, before starting any new form of exercise, your Pilates instructor should encourage you to consult with your physician.

Stay tuned for more information on “What Exactly Is Pilates?” in our next blog entitled: “What Can You Get From Pilates?”

Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash