Pilates is a mind-body-spirit therapeutic exercise program. Joseph Pilates’ books, Return to Health and Contrology, have preserved the ideals of the importance of physical activity to support physical and mental health. Today we have scientific evidence that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. Today we have scientific evidence that is a testimony to Joseph Pilates’ pioneer spirit.
The guiding principles of Pilates are: Concentration, Centering, Control, Breathing, Precision and movement fluidity. Each principle is important when applied holistically using the Pilates Method.
Our minds control our body; therefore, to do the movements properly, we must concentrate fully. Deep focus during Pilates will lead to mastering the movements until they become automatic and ingrained in our motor patterns. This inward focus leads to increasing ease of performing daily tasks.
The Powerhouse or core is the focal point of all Pilates exercise. All movement is grounded by the core musculature. Initiating movement from the center with good alignment allow the limbs to move without straining the body. Create a centered mind and body, not just during your session, but in all your life.
In Pilates, every movement is coordinated, efficient and smooth. In class we learn to move with control, not momentum. Movement becomes effortless and with ease. When movement is timed with a breathe, change happens at a physical and emotional level.
In times of stress, we learn to just breath. Natural breath using the diaphragm enhances fluidity of movement and sets the rhythm of an exercise. Joseph Pilates knew that complete exhalation facilitates a full inhalation, which allow for increased oxygen supply to all cells with increased waste removal.
Precision builds on Concentration and Control. In Pilates, it’s not just what you do,it’s how you do it. Classical Pilates uses few repetitions and a large variety of movements so that precision can be practiced without fatigue and be frequently reinforced. Working with Precision helps to re-educate faulty movement patterns, allowing for proper alignment and helping to prevent injury. The precision of Pilates makes it the perfect rehabilitation therapeutic program.
When Pilates is performed properly, it is light and fluid. The goal is to move with greater grace and ease with each exercise and form exercise to exercise. The creation of fluid movement will help to prevent trigger points from forming, as well as release those that may already exist.
Christy Gorman, BFA, MA CPI demonstrates the Pilates Principles beautifully. In the video Christy demonstrates an abdominal curl back as a warm-up exercise that reinforces the strengthening and deepening engagement of the core muscles. The spine is warmed up with articulation, flexion and extension of the spine. She flows to the Pilates Side Kick Series. This series improves core strength while stabilizing the torso as the lower extremities are mobilized with ease and control. The series maintains pelvic stability as range of motion, strength and flexibility of the legs are improved. Coordination and mental focus are also enhanced with the series. The Side Kick Series is demonstrated on one side of the body. The next challenge is to repeat the sequence on the other side. Please click on video link.
I hope you enjoyed a taste of Pilates. I hope you are staying healthy in these trying times. New Stride Physical Therapy remains open to treat our patients and protect our community. Pilates is a great love of mine. It is a powerful to move freely. If you are suffering from an orthopedic injury or need of Physical Therapy for pain control, give us a call at 361.949.9898.