Pilates (or “Contrology” as it was initially called) is an exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century that engages the mind to create whole body movement patterns that strengthen muscles, increases flexibility and improves overall health. Joseph Pilates originally created his training system as a method of improving his own health and fostering his impression of the ideal man by matching a strong, well trained physique with a strong, well trained mind. Core strengthening, improved balance, flexibility, coordination and stress reduction and rejuvenation can all be achieved through regular Pilates training.
Pilates training can create a long, lean appearance, toning muscles without excess bulk. Exercises are performed with a focus on the breath, proper form and alignment, creating efficient movement with economy of effort and a sense of ease. Balance is created throughout the body by lengthening muscles that are short and tight (ex. hip flexors, chest muscles) and strengthening what is weak or overstretched (ex. the upper back, core abdominals and hip stabilizers).
The exercises are low impact and relatively safe, often done lying down or sitting, with equipment or on the mat, and there are many options for modifications making Pilates appropriate to anyone wanting to learn to move better and improve their quality of life. Those who train with the Pilates technique will find their centre, a place from which they can then move more powerfully. Through regular practice, one will begin to find the joy in movement through the flow and creativity of the technique, allowing each exercise to be an exploration experience, fostering a healthy body, mind and spirit. Over time, one will develop their ability to move with strength, while allowing for a sense of ease and grace.