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What is Pilates?

WHAT IS PILATES?

Whether you are someone who spends all day on your computer or cycling from one end of America to the next, you can benefit from a Classical Pilates practice. Pilates is an exercise system of both physical and mental conditioning that uses resistance rather than heavy impact to strengthen, stretch and align the entire body, as well as focus the mind. Pilates is often associated with abdominal work because all the exercises are initiated from a strong center or “core” and flows outward to the extremities. However, the Pilates method is an intense full body conditioning system that is appropriate and beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels. Pilates can be practiced on a mat as well as a wide variety of equipment/apparatus using resistance springs. Unlike conventional machines that do the work for you, the Pilates equipment provides resistance while you do the work for yourself.  Each piece of equipment has its own exercise repertoire. Whether working on the mat or equipment, the fundamental concept remains the same:  to engage the core muscles and initiate every movement from a place of length, strength, stability and control. Each exercise builds on the last to provide an intense workout for the whole body. By working the entire body evenly and focusing on alignment, precision, and controlled movements your muscles will develop uniformly, which helps correct imbalances, improve posture, and prevent injury. A consistent Pilates practice will result in increased overall strength; strong, stable joints; reduced mental stress; decrease risk of injuries; increased endurance, circulation, and flexibility and much more!

WHY CLASSICAL / AUTHENTIC PILATES?

Joseph Pilates developed a system of exercises originally called “Contrology” done on a mat and variety of specific equipment of his own design. Its focus is on a strong core, lengthened spine and proper alignment so you have a stable center from which to move around and be supported from.

Today there are many different schools of Pilates that differ greatly from Joe’s original method. The dilution of Classical Pilates has caused much confusion as well as misconceptions about what Pilates actually is.

Classical Pilates, also called Authentic Pilates or Traditional Pilates, adheres as closely as possible to Joseph Pilates original work of Contrology. This means his original exercises, done in the traditional order, using the traditional equipment/apparatus.

The exercises done on the Reformer and the Mat are always taught in a specific order for a specific purpose within the system. The primary goals are spinal flexibility, stability, mobility, length and having a stable and strong center from which to move about. You move with and against gravity in a two-way stretch while lying down, sitting, kneeling and standing working through the six basic principles of Pilates: centering, control, concentration, flow, breath and precision.

Instead of working only major muscle groups in isolation, Classical Pilates works the entire body making each movement a whole body effort. Unlike traditional hard exercise, Pilates workouts demand a high level of concentration and attention to detail. To get the most out of it, you will learn to be present, precise, and in total control of your body. You will feel a huge sense of accomplishment and be empowered when all your muscles are engaged at the same time, your mind is focused, and you are coordinating all your muscles like an orchestra.

Pilates is a full body workout. Not only will you feel and look better, you will perform your daily activities with greater ease AND get an athletic performance edge. The strength and beauty of the Pilates method is that it is exercise for anyone at any level.