Pilates (pronounced pi-lah-tees) is an exercise method designed to develop a strong, centred, muscularly balanced and flexible body whilst promoting the mind-body connection.
Born in Germany in1880 Joseph Pilates, a gymnast and boxer, combined the Eastern disciplines of Yoga, Martial Arts and Zen philosophy with Western Gymnastics and Bodybuilding. Influenced also by Ancient Greek and Roman practices he developed his own physical conditioning program.
The Method, originally called ‘Contrology’, was developed into a complex conditioning program which is now embraced by professional dancers, athletes, performers and physical therapists for fitness, cross-training, injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The Pilates Principles
In Dressage we have the Training Scale or Pyramid of Training. This is the layering of a horse’s Classical Dressage training in 6 sequential steps.
In Pilates there are The Principles:
It is the Principles of Pilates that give the Method its power, promoting the mind-body connection, and turning the repertoire into more than just a set of core strength exercises.
Layering the Principles throughout your workout allows you to continue to renew and refine them, resulting in more effective and satisfying practice.
It is important to note – as with the Classical Dressage Training Scale – that you cannot fully achieve one without the other.
Concentration is required to achieve Control of our muscles and our minds, resulting in the ability to connect to our Centre, what Joseph Pilates referred to as the ‘Powerhouse’ the essence of all Pilates training. From here Precise and Flowing Movement balanced with an invigorating and vitalising breath pattern creates a workout that strengthens, supples, and elongates, whilst energising both body and mind.