As some of you may (or may not) know, I love Pilates. I practice regularly, and I am working toward the advancement of my certification as an instructor. Here is our love story.
Around the same time that I started my account on Instagram and overhauled my lifestyle, I began to look for new and exciting ways to exercise that did not involve an elliptical.
I was bored with working out. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of yoga classes, and I needed something new and different.
After all, variety is the spice of life! I began looking into my options. Zumba…always embarrassing, I can’t even slow dance. Calorie Crusher…what am I, the hulk? Body Attack…sounds painful! Pilates…ahh yes. Even just the way it rolled off my tongue sounded soothing and sweet. So, I decided to give it a try.
Pilates and I first met in October of last year, and I was instantly hooked. I started going to class twice a week, and the rest is history. Literally, read on to learn tidbit of the history of Pilates (and more!).
Where it all Started
The son of a gymnast father and naturopath mother, Joseph Pilates spent the majority of his youth studying a variety of exercise techniques, ranging from yoga and martial arts to body building and recreational sports. To alleviate some of his own inherent health issues, he developed the Pilates method while he was in imprisoned as an “enemy alien” for his Germain heritage in Britain during World War I. He practiced his method on fellow compatriots using the tools that were available to him, such as the camp beds and springs. His technique focused on strengthening the body and mind simultaneously, as he firmly believed that they were interconnected. Due to it’s immense focus on precision, deep breathing, and flow, the Pilates method was originally dubbed as “Contrology.”
He once said, “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”
He passed on the knowledge of Contrology to instructors referred to as “The Elders,” spreading the Pilates method internationally and paving the way to various styles that are popular today. (read more on Joseph Pilates)
Benefits of Pilates
The benefits of Pilates extend far beyond a sleeker physique. Practicing Pilates regularly with a properly versed and qualified instructor can improve many areas, including:
- A stronger core. The method has an intense focus on what is referred to as the “power house,” which includes your abdominals, glutes, and inner thighs. This means that Pilates can provide the foundation for a strong core, as well as strengthen and improve common “problem areas.”
- Improved flexibility. The Pilates method will enhance your flexibility while preventing injury.
- Gentle conditioning. With a focus on long, lean muscle conditioning that works within the body’s frame, Pilates is gentle on your back and joints.
- Improved posture. With increased core strength comes relief for your achy back! Pilates helps correct your posture by strengthening your muscles where you need it.
- And many, many more that would shoot up my word count while dwindling your attention span.
Join the Movement
Now that I have romanced you into giving Pilates a shot, here is what you need to do next:
Find a class! Give Pilates a try to see if it is a good fit for your goals. I recommend going to a class in your area taught by a certified and qualified professional. Online programs are great for catching a glimpse, but no one is there to coach you and make sure that you are performing the exercises correctly. Incorrect form in any mode of exercise can lead to some serious injuries, so it is best to seek a professional. Check your local phone books, ask at some local gyms, or utilize a search engine to see what you can come up with. Pilates can be a great supplement to any workout routine, but you will never reap the benefits yourself until you give it try!