Pilates was created by Joseph Hubertus Pilates 1880-1967
Pilates is a sequence of carefully performed exercises designed to develop your deep torso muscles and improve flexibility, muscle tone and body alignment. It is a holistic approach combining the mind and body, enabling you to develop greater body awareness & efficiency. Pilates works the body from the inside out to create; balance, ease of motion, strength, flexibility and a strong physical centre. You will define your muscles without building bulk.
All movements are impact free, and can be done at any age or level of fitness. However, if you have any injuries, are pregnant, or suffering from un-diagnosed back or muscular-skeletal disorders, please seek medical clearance prior to commencing Pilates Classes.
The term ‘Pilates’ refers to modern variations or exercises developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. He was born in Dusseldorf in 1880. He was a frail and sickly child who suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. He was determined to overcome this fragility, and created a series of floor exercises in the early 1890’s. He later created special resistance machines. (Reformer Beds). Having proven their worth on his own body, he then began to teach these techniques to others. He was training detectives at Scotland Yard when the First World War broke out, and because of his nationality he was interned in Lancashire, and then the Isle of Man.
Joseph Pilates with time on his hands he helped out in the camp infirmary and further developed his techniques training his fellow internees with amazing success. Many of them were war veterans who had been horrendously wounded and these injuries had, in some cases, resulted in amputations.
Much of his knowledge in rehabilitation comes from this period. At the end of the war he returned to Germany where he taught self-defence to the Hamburg police and the Germany army. In 1926, he decided to emigrate to the United States of America. On the boat he met his future wife Clara, they shared the same views of fitness, they decide to set up a studio in New York. This attracted top Ballet Dancers, (Many sent from George Balanchine & Martha Graham), actors, gymnasts & athletes, all anxious to learn from Pilates.
After his death in 1967, various students continued his teachings, developing their own versions. There are literally hundreds of styles today, but ALL styles are based around the same principles and methods used by Joseph Pilates.
Pilates classes are aimed at improving the body’s alignment and efficiency through focusing on 5 principles:
- Breathe Control
- Correct Head and Neck Placement
- Scapular Stability
- Rib-cage Placement
- Pelvic Stability
Pilates is a slow, controlled technique designed to improve body awareness. The goal is to re-train the body to achieve improved posture, and safe, efficient movement. Initially, the focus will be on the correct activation of the core stabilizers to the pelvis & scapula. Once you have the principles handled and the basic exercises implemented, you then can progress to more difficult exercises, with movement and resistance added to challenge your control.
The Pilates approach uses:
CONCENTRATION, FLOWING MOVEMENTS, ISOLATION, CONTROL, CANTERING, PRECISION & ROUTINE. WHILST FOCUSING ON THE ABOVE, WE AIM TO ACHIEVE IMPROVEMENT IN THE FIVE MAIN PRINCIPLES.
- BREATH CONTROL
Breathing in through your nose & out through pursed lips. Research has shown that breathing out through pursed lips helps activate your deeper torso muscles (trans-versus). When our abdominal muscles are activated correctly, our breath is wide and full. We breathe laterally, expanding the ribs to the side and rear, while preventing the ribs from ‘popping’ forwards. The correct breath is then used with each movement to promote efficient performance of each exercise.
- CORRECT HEAD AND NECK PLACEMENT
Slumping over computers, picking up the kids and carrying out many day to day activities can lead to your head jutting forward, creating discomfort in the neck. Pilates training aims to re-align your head and neck, reducing stress & pain in the upper spine. (Make sure your head & neck is straight as an extension of your spine).
- SCAPULAR (SHOULDER BLADE) STABILITY.
Re-training various muscles in the upper back to ensure the correct placement of your shoulder blades will promote improved posture. It will also create a strong stable foundation from which to initiate movements of the limbs & torso. Your push-ups, shoulder pressed & rows will all become safer, stronger & more efficient. (Shoulders are relaxed back & down, forming a soft V with your scapula – so no ‘shoulders near your ears’.)
- RIB-CAGE PLACEMENT
The proper control for the rib-cage will ensure your mid-spine posture is correct. You will be able to perform lateral breathing if you have the correct rib placement. Proper breathing will allow you to perfect your movements. We will help you find the connection between your ribs and pelvis required to support your back. (No popping or sticking out of your ribs. Keep the rib to hip connection, through all exercises.
- PELVIC STABILITY
In Pilates your centre is your powerhouse. Each exercise is controlled by the co-contraction of the abdominal muscles, pelvic floor & multifidus (along the spine). This co-contraction leads to a corset being created around your torso, stabilising your pelvis & spine. From this strong powerhouse, all movement of the human body should be initiated. (There are two types of pelvic placements).
The first is neutral, which is the natural curve of your spine. The second is imprint; where your flatten your back to the floor of you were lying. If standing, you would gently tilt your pelvis to your navel.