Pilates is an exercise method consisting of low impact movements to help build core strength, flexibility, balance, improve coordination and postural alignment. There is also a strong focus on breath work in a Pilates class. While short breaths limit your range of motion, in Pilates, we think of large inhales and exhales to help focus on body awareness and assist movement.
A misconception about
Pilates is that expensive equipment is essential in order to have Pilates practice. The reality is Pilates can be done on the floor with a mat. In the majority of the Pilates exercises your abdominal muscles are stabilizing while your limbs move in different directions. Exercising in this way your core is strengthened, resulting in muscles that are flexible and work together to support and stabilize the spine.
A Pilates instructor will teach you how to focus on your core muscles, concentrate on a movement, initiate a movement (staying within the range of motion that is appropriate for your body), as you breathe deeply, and move with fluidity. If you make Pilates a part of your exercise practice you will soon notice that you take these principles into your daily life and are able to move with more awareness and ease.
If you have any limitations such as joint replacements, neurological conditions (including stroke), Osteopenia/Osteoporosis etc., it is vital that you choose an instructor who is educated to know how to modify for each condition in order to keep you safe.
If you have any medical conditions, if you have not exercised recently or are recovering from an injury or illness, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise practice.
Laura Hegle, BASI Pilates Instructor