PILATES DEFINED

WHEN AND WHERE DID THE PILATES EXERCISE METHOD ORIGINATE FROM? 

Pilates is an exercise method developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after whom the exercise system was named. As a sickly child Pilates became very interested in overcoming his ailments and that led him to practise body building, gymnastics, diving and a variety of other physical pursuits. Pilates called his method “Contrology“.  It is practiced worldwide, especially in Western countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

Pilates studied Eastern and Western forms of exercise and developed this system at the time when World War 1 broke out and while he was interned in a camp in England with other German nationals.  It is there that he taught and practiced his fitness program and began devising apparatus to aid in the rehabilitation of the sick and the disabled.

WHAT MAKES PILATES SUCH A POPULAR EXERCISE?

Health Specialists and Fitness trainers refer to this method as a path to total health, which is a  holistic approach to well-being and a life-long process of refinement.  Joseph Pilates wrote in his book “Return to Life Through Contrology”, that: “Physical fitness is the first requisite to happiness.  Our interpretation of physical fitness is 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.”

The Pilates method emphasises: Alignment, Breathing, Development of a strong core, and Improvement of Coordination and Balance. The core, consisting of the muscles of the abdomen, back, and hips, is often called the “powerhouse” and is thought to be the key to a person’s stability.  The Pilates system allows for different exercises to be modified in a range of difficulty from beginner to advanced or to any other level and can be modified to be in line with a clients’ specific goals and/or limitations. Intensity can be increased over time as the body adapts itself to the exercises.

WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF THE PILATES EXERCISE SYSTEM & HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM OTHER FORMS OF EXERCISE?

There are 10 elements that need to be present during the execution of the exercises and the teaching of the movements, which acts as a guide and a road map upon which the method is based.  These principles are what makes the Pilates method different from other forms of conditioning exercises. These principles are what makes this method a mind-body form of condition rather than just a physical process.  These principles are:

Awareness Balance
Control Efficiency
Precision Breath
Concentration Centre
Flow Harmony

WHAT BENEFITS CAN ONE EXPECT FROM DOING OR TAKING UP PILATES?

Age is irrelevant, you can be young or old.  If you are looking for an exercise method to strengthen up; or to provide an improved posture; or perhaps you are a sports person looking to improve your performance, Pilates is an exercise regime that fits all and makes for a great cross-training method in order to prevent injury and increase performance.  Pilates is also the preferred method used by Medical Therapists as a means of rehabilitation.

In his book Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates presents his method as the art of controlled movements, which should look and feel like a workout (not a therapy) when properly practised. If practised with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body.

The Pilates method is also an excellent method to practise during Pregnancy, due to woman using their core muscles during pregnancy and labour.

Pilates published two books related to his training method: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934, and Return to Life Through Contrology in 1945.

WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE EQUIPMENT IS USED IN PILATES?

Joseph Pilates devised a variety of equipment, which he referred to as “apparatus”. Each piece of apparatus was designed to help accelerate the process of stretching, strengthening, body alignment and increased core strength.  The most best-known and popular apparatus today is the Reformer, named for “universally reforming the body”. Eventually Pilates designed other apparatus, including the Cadillac, Wunda Chair, High “Electric” Chair, Spine Corrector, Ladder Barrel and Pedi-Pole.

Pilates Dynamics offers most of the above named apparatus in either a group training format or a private training format.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT STYLES OF PILATES?

Joseph Pilates’ first students went on to teach his methods, including: Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Mary Bowen, Carola Treir, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Lolita San Miguel, and Mary Pilates, Joseph’s niece. Contemporary Pilates includes both the “Modern” Pilates and the “Classical/Traditional” Pilates. Modern Pilates is partly derived from the teaching of some first-generation students, while Classical Pilates aims to preserve the original work as Joseph Pilates taught it.

At Pilates Dynamics we teach a combination of Modern Pilates as well as Classical/Traditional Pilates.  The most important aspect is that the exercises need to be functional and personally tailored to suit every “body” and it needs to be aligned with realistic goals.

WHAT CAN I DO TO TRY OUT A CLASS AT PILATES DYNAMICS?

We are a fully equipped studio with all the large Pilates Machines (apparatus) and training is offered either in group formats or in private training formats.

You can either try our “Free Group Trial” (free attendance of a Pilates Group Class) option before signing up for group classes (if you have done Pilates before), or you can book a “Private Assessment” class (if you are a beginner or have never done Pilates before), which consists of a private one-on-one pilates session with one of our well experienced Pilates Trainers, the cost which is R280 for a 50 minute session.

Please contact us on our landline which is 011-792 5459 or try our business cell number 072 999 2229 in case we are all in training.  You can also email us on info@pilatesdynamics.co.za or enquire via our website on www.pilatesdynamics.co.za and we will get back to you.