"Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness" Joseph Pilates
Who was Pilates?
In the 1920's, Joseph Pilates, the German movement pioneer has arrived to New York, where he set up his renowned gym. He himself named his revolutionary exercise method Contrology, which was inspired by the various movement disciplines he studied, including yoga and martial arts. Despite facing chronic health problems as a child, with his movement practise Joe not only overcame these limitations but became an ATHLETE, a TEACHER, and an INVENTOR. He designed several pieces of apparatus over his lifetime to enhance the application of his original Matwork exercises. One of the most popular pieces he created is the Reformer. Over time his method gained huge popularity among dancers and performers, eventually becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Today Pilates is not only supported by its millions of practitioners but also by the medical community, recognising its immense benefits for health and fitness.
“Pilates (is)... stretch with strength and control, and the control part is the most important, because that's what makes you use your mind!”
What is Pilates and how does it work?
Pilates developed his system of exercises with the intention of reversing the adverse effects of modern life on our bodies and minds. By uniformly developing the musculature of the body the exercises alleviate pain caused by poor posture, wrong movement habits and muscular imbalances. He believed developing mind CONTROL over the muscles, even the "smaller" ones, especially in the trunk and CORE, is more sustainable and healthy than merely training superficial muscles to fatigue absent-mindedly. The exercises are not overly repetitive, you only do 3 to 10 repetitions of each at most. The repertoire is very diverse: some exercises are accessible even if you are in poor shape and health, while others are complex and challenge even the most well coordinated and athletic practitioners. They teach PROPER FORM, FOCUS and develop EQUAL STRENGTH and FLEXIBILITY throughout the entire body, creating a BALANCED POSTURE. The intention is that these exercises will unite body mind and spirit, focusing the mind, energising the body and elevating the spirit.
What is Matwork Pilates?
Pilates published his original 34 Matwork exercises in his book Return to life, his aim was to "heal the nation" and give people a tool for exercising at home. The Matwork gives you full AUTONOMY over your workouts, as you have the freedom to practise anywhere. I teach these wonderful movements to my private clients to empower them with CONFIDENCE to take care of themselves and not rely solely on our sessions together. I also teach weekly group classes for beginners as well as advanced levels in Highgate at Jacksons Lane.
What is the equipment for?
The Pilates apparatus including the Reformer and the Cadillac have helped millions to better rehabilitate and strengthen their bodies.
Why were they invented? Pilates sought ways to enhance the effects of his Matwork exercises. With the assistance of SPRINGS to provide resistance, you can develop precise muscle control which is crucial for INJURY PREVENTION. They enable you to TARGET SPECIFIC MUSCLES, strengthen underused areas, and keep you SUPPORTed in the spine and the joints when injury or weakness is present. It's like having a second teacher in the room, offering you constant FEEDBACK directly to your body. Unlike regular gym equipment these tools promote good alignment, precision, coordination, balance and control. The studio apparatus makes Pilates one of the most unique and widely applicable physical training methods available, with both REMEDIAL and ATHLETIC benefits for the body.
What is Classical Pilates?
The classical method adheres closely to Joe Pilates's original exercises and their sequence. Over the years following Pilates's death, various schools and approaches emerged often breaking down his exercises. In my experience the Classical approach fosters more NATURAL MOVEMENT, FLOW and FULL BODY and MIND INTEGRATION than other methods and helped me get better results with my clients so this is what I predominantly teach. I also have training in more physiotherapeutic approach, which is what I use when I find it more appropriate for a client.
What are the benefits of Pilates:
- helps to tackle back, neck and shoulder pain
- improves strength and flexibility across all joints: supporting hypermobility and alleviating stiffness
- creates better control, tone and flexibility of all muscles including deep internal muscles of breath and bladder control
- improves the posture, gait and balance
- improves breathing capacity, circulation and endurance
- improves performance and technique in other sports
- helps to prevent injuries and helps recovering from injuries
- helps women during post natal recovery
- improves focus
- helps to maintain fitness at any age
- improves energy levels, mood and body image
Pilates at 82
"If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young."