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What is Pilates?

Pilates is an innovative system of mind-body exercises evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates.  It is designed to elongate, strengthen and restore the body to balance.  Based upon an anatomical understanding of the body’s muscular and skeletal systems, the Pilates teacher creates a comprehensive exercise programme for the client.  Classes focus on specific areas individually whilst using exercises that integrate the whole body to re-educate and restore it to optimum muscular and skeletal function (source: Pilates Foundation UK Ltd).

In particular, Pilates exercises teach efficiency of breath and alignment of the spine, and develop a strong ‘core’ (which consists of deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine).  Control of the ‘core’ is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.  By strengthening the Core, you take pressure off other areas of your body, e.g. back, hips, shoulders etc.

Pilates can dramatically transform the way your body looks, feels and performs.  It is also one of the safest forms of exercise today, recommended by GPs, Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists.  A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured (and recover more quickly from strain or minor injury).  Other benefits include better posture, higher energy levels, increased co-ordination, balance, easy & graceful movement, flexibility and body awareness.

Pilates can be beneficial for virtually all ages, fitness levels and body conditions. No matter what your physical condition, from the first time exerciser to the top, highly-tuned athlete, from sufferers of back, hip or neck problems, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis or pregnant women. It’s more about fitness condition than age, and can be adapted, modified and customised for individual needs.

Pilates is a real mind/body discipline – its emphasis on purity of form in the execution of each movement demands total mental and physical concentration.  However, the focus on uniting each and every movement with breath control and flow is extremely rewarding.