You can learn choreography from a DVD but it is very difficult to learn correct form for your body. After lessons with a certified instructor and with a good understanding of the exercises these DVDs can enhance your home programme.
Joseph Pilates designed this programme as a rehabilitation tool. Pilates develops strength, stability, balance and symmetry to areas of the body that may have been misaligned due to injury. Let your instructor know at any time if something feels uncomfortable or ‘not right’ and there are modifications. It is very important with an injury to have a certified instructor leading you through your exercise programme.
Of course! Originally the Pilates Method was designed by a man, Joseph Pilates for men only. Then women were allowed to participate! Everyone from professional sports people to regular guys notice significant benefits.
Joseph Pilates was inspired by eastern and western forms of exercise and wellness principles so there are many similarities. The breathing is different as you scoop your belly in instead of relaxing it. Pilates is more dynamic focusing on movement rather than the static holding of postures as yoga dictates. You do both mat and apparatus work with Pilates.
With any form of exercise consistency is the key. In the beginning your body is learning a lot of new information and your mind/body connection is being established. The optimal recommendation is 2-3 times per week. However, once a week on a very regular basis can also be beneficial combining it with other exercise. You can also practice at home!
Comfortable form fitting clothes are best. Dress comfortably so your movement is free but not too loose fitting that your shirt or shorts drift up! Oversized clothes make it difficult for the instructor to see your form. Shoes are not required but socks are.
Pilates is appropriate for people of any age or fitness. Pilates unique approach allows any level from a beginner to a high level athlete to set their goals and work on individual needs.
Joseph H. Pilates was born in Germany, in 1880. A sickly child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, he dedicated his entire life to becoming physically stronger. Joe studied body building and gymnastics and by the age of 14 was fit enough to pose for anatomical charts. In 1912 he moved to England earning a living as a boxer, circus performer and self-defense trainer.
During World War I he was interned with other German citizens in a camp near Lancaster where he trained other inmates in fitness and exercises. It was here that the beginnings of the True Authentic Pilates Method began to take shape. After the War, Pilates emigrated to the United States. On the ship to America he met his future wife Clara. The couple founded a studio in New York City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960’s. Pilates and his method, which he and Clara called “Contrology”, soon established a following in the dance and the performing arts community. From their point of view, “Contrology” is the complete coordination of the body, mind and spirit.
Well known dancers George Balanchine and Martha Graham became devotees and sent their students to them for training. Pilates practiced what he preached and lived a long healthy life. He died in 1967 at the age of 87. Today, Pilates is practiced around the world by athletes, dancers, fitness professionals, as well as the general public.
Authentic Pilates instructors are highly trained professionals who have invested well over 700 hours of training and studying the technique. Instructors trained in the Authentic Method of Pilates are required to learn over 700 exercises for the mat and Pilates equipment. They learn the philosophy and theory behind each movement spend considerable time observing and mastering proper form and sequences. They apprentice to fine tune their teaching skills prior to taking a series of rigorous written and practical exams. In addition to learning the Pilates moves they learn how to assess their student’s posture, to adapt exercises for various body conditions and how to customise the optimum Pilates programme for each individual client.
The Authentic Pilates Method, designed by Joseph Pilates, integrates breathing, flexibility, strength, precision, control and body awareness through a series of more than 500 specifically designed, low impact, controlled movements. Engaging the body and mind, they are performed on 5 major pieces of apparatus and the mat.
Up until the year 2000, the term Pilates was a trademarked entity allowing only those instructors certified through the original Pilates Studio of New York to teach the principles designed by Joseph himself. Since 2000, the term Pilates is no longer a trademarked entity meaning different forms of “Pilates” have evolved and not all “Pilates” classes adhere to the original and true principles of Joseph’s vision.
That depends on your body awareness and fitness levels. Pilates does not fatigue the muscles to exhaustion. Rather it uses movement patterns, mental focus and muscle memory to build strength and awareness in the body. Pilates leaves you energised and while you may experience some soreness as your body experiences changes it is short lived.
Pilates is designed to help you reshape your body and mind. Using different types of apparatus as well as your own body weight, the system helps you tone your muscles and elongate areas such a waistline and upper arms and thighs. Adding Pilates to a healthy diet and regular cardiovascular exercise can dramatically change your overall appearance. You will increase flexibility, mobility, balance, improved posture and overall strength.