I’m now into my 13th year of practicing and teaching pilates and honestly I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing it for another 13 and beyond. I’ve found a way of exercising that I can’t live without. I never get bored with pilates and no matter how many classes I teach, I still want to do more myself.
So I’ve been thinking recently, what is it that makes pilates so special that it gets a hold on you and won’t let go?
When newcomers join a class and embrace pilates I gradually see their realization of what pilates involves and how it makes them feel and they keep returning for more, and more. It’s like joining a club where everyone is in on the secret of pilates.
But it’s no use just throwing the words ‘secret’ and ‘special’ in the mix and expecting people to flock to pilates classes; you need something a little more concrete than that. If I wanted to encourage someone to join the club, here’s what I’d say…
Pilates is non judgmental. It couldn’t care less about your body size or shape, your age or gender. In a class, you listen, watch, learn and your body does the moving. Believe me when I say you won’t even notice what the person on the mat next to you is doing. Pilates is for everybody with a body.
The fundamental aspect of every single exercise is breathing, so strip each exercise back to the very basics and you’ve got your starting point. Breathing fully, deeply, laterally and with an awareness of, and connection to, your deep abdominal muscles gives each exercise its precision and control. It creates a rhythm and a flow to the workout.
Pilates allows us to gain a great deal of whole body muscular strength, something that we all need throughout our lives. If we are to continue to do the basics of walking, sitting, standing, lying down and being able to get up again with ease and without pain for as long as possible, we need to be strong. Pilates will, above all else, strengthen your body.
We include exercises with names such as Boomerang, Elephant, Seal, Airplane, Teaser, the Hundred and these (amongst many others) performed in sequences are what makes pilates such good fun. It’s hard to take yourself seriously while clapping your feet together and rolling backwards.
A lifetime of thought, practice, innovation and imagination has gone into the pilates method. Joseph Pilates started young when it came to sporting achievements and physical training and he dedicated his entire life to the goal of promoting physical fitness through his unique exercises.
Joseph Pilates wanted the whole world to do his exercises and I can completely understand why. They create a workout where time flies by, you immerse yourself fully in your own movement and you give yourself the gift of a balanced, strong and supple body.