pilates no hocus Pocus
Since my introduction to ‘pilates’ in 2001, I’m sold! I have been given various forms of movement of aerobics to personal fitness and all the trends in between for 25 years now. I have never been so aware of my exercise performances and the power of my breath and visualisation, as I am now. Now I can’t imagine doing a lesson without these aspects.
No strong core
‘Pilates’ is a form of exercise, developed more than a hundred years ago, by Joseph Pilates. Pilates, himself not being blessed with a strong core, went looking for ways to make his body stronger. In addition to the Western training methods he also found knowledge in the methods used in the East. He combined these two worlds and developed clear rules on the implementation of the exercises: fluent, aware and focused, correctly, in combination with the breath and fulfilled in the correct posture.
Body and mind
In my studio I start each Pilates class with an awareness exercise. How to feel your muscles, your joints, but also how you are feeling mentally. Move your attention inward to perform the exercises with much more awareness and in a more efficient way.
Pilates makes a dichotomy in postural muscles, located as a corset and the movement closer to the spine and the muscles, closer to the surface of the body. Slackened postural muscles will create a poor posture. And in addition, the motion postural muscles will take over the function of the postural muscles, resulting in excessive tension on the muscle movement. This produces symptoms in the muscles and joints of the back, the neck, shoulders and the pelvis. By strengthening both the muscles in the right way, they will work better together, which improves the posture and takes complaints away or don’t give them the chance to occur.
Use the power of the mind
Special about Pilates is, that it uses the power of visualisation. By exercising to visualise the resistance, you will learn the muscles to work without the help of resistance material. For example, visualise that you pull apart a rubber band. You will feel that you are activating your muscles more. This will help you in everyday life, because after all you’re not walking around with weights in your hand whole day. But it is important to get the correct muscles in order to maintain a good body posture.
Exploit the calmness effect of breathing
The muscular and stretch pilates exercises are carried out on the gentle pace of breathing. A quiet, conscious breathing let your muscle tension drain away, especially with stretching exercises! To learn to control your breath, contributes to a calm mind!
Pilates is one of the most complete forms of movement. Looking at my participants in the lessons, I see them improve their posture by doing Pilates once a week. They also show me how they benefit from it in daily life. They are more aware of their posture. That’s the power of pilates; you take it with you into your daily activities.
Photocredits: José van Riele