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What is Pilates and Why Should I Be Doing It?

April 7, 2015


Joseph Pilates originally developed his unique system of exercises in the 1920’s. Self-educated in various health disciplines, he came to see that a new method was needed that would balance the body, strengthen the core and contribute to mental and physical health in a holistic way. Since its humble beginnings and hand-built bedspring prototypes, Pilates has been developed and refined into a sophisticated, science-based series of floor exercises and state-of-the-art resistance equipment.

Pilates is a full body exercise and rebalancing technique that focuses on the core being the center and guiding point of all movement. It is a great workout, but that is only the beginning! With Pilates, exercise becomes a body metamorphosis program; retraining your body to move from its centre and in complete balance. Moving from the centre is vitally important in exercise as it creates an equilibrium that allows all limbs and muscles to be utilized in balance, resulting in a stronger, pain-free body.

During a Pilates workout, attention is placed on the connection between breath and movement, and because of this it is often compared to Yoga. Although the two disciplines do share certain aspects of their philosophies and work well together as adjuncts, considering Pilates and Yoga to be one and the same would be inaccurate. The Pilates exercise system favours movement and the building of long lean muscle, whereas Yoga focuses on held postures and the passive stretching of the body. In fact, Pilates is generally considered to bridge the gap between Yoga and conventional Strength Training. While bicep curls, triceps extensions and leg presses are integral parts of our movement vocabulary, Pilates’ spring resistance equipment and the completely unique system of isometric exercises puts that training in a completely different light. Pilates works to develop a strong yet flexible body with movements that utilize lengthening muscle contractions – not muscle bulking.

Talented Pilates instructors are also able to customize classes to individual needs, not only appealing to all different types of fitness enthusiasts, but proving highly valuable in rehabilitation therapy. In short, whatever your fitness level, your specific limitations or requirements, or simply what type of exercise you prefer, Pilates is for you.

Pilates is exercise that inspires people to achieve levels of personal health that redefine traditional ideas of fitness. It utilizes six key principles designed to strengthen coordination, alignment, and balance for well-rounded achievements in health. Concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing are all areas of focus prepared to fortify one’s physical and mental health as one unified entity. In order to achieve our potential as healthy human beings, we must also look introspectively into the strengths we garner throughout our everyday lives. Pilates helps unify these inner and outer forces to develop fitness as a lifestyle, instead of simply an activity you feel obligated to perform. An experienced, detail oriented instructor can help guide you in mastering control over all aspects of your body and in doing so, conditioning your ability to find internal strengths you never even knew you were capable of.

Not only is it an exercise system that can help you get stronger and lose weight, it can make unexpected changes in your everyday life.  Clients find that their common aches and pains melt away, that they have the confidence to walk to work, or take the stairs, or train for a marathon; they generally discover sources of strength and vitality they were previously unaware of.

peace of mind

self motivation

team spirit

strive for balance

fight for greatness

growth as an individual

faith that you can achieve anything you desire

need for adventure

liberated spirit

What Will I Learn in My First Pilates Class?

January 15, 2015

What will i learn picThis is a question we get asked a lot actually.  My answer is always the same: don’t expect to get a really challenging workout in your first few sessions. If your asking yourself, “What if I have never done Pilates before?” Not to worry, your first class is all about learning the basics and how to set up and safely use your reformer.

The most important thing you will learn in your first Pilates class is how to breathe properly.  In Pilates we like to breathe in to the back of the ribcage.  We think of expanding the ribs three dimensionally and using the breath to stretch the ribs away from one another.  This allows the breath to go lower into the body, the diaphragm to release and also works to keep the tension out of the neck and shoulders.

This way of breathing also helps you to activate your core muscles more effectively.  There are four different layers of abdominals, the deepest of which is the Transversus (or the T.A as we may refer to it in class).  Its fibres run sideways around your mid section and when it contacts it acts like a corset of strength, pulling everything inward gently.  In your first class your will also learning how to breathe in while keeping your abdominals engaged at the same time.  This helps your T.A become involved in the process.  Very important.

You will then move on to the reformer.  A large, pretty fantastic piece of spring resistance equipment that you may or may not have heard about.  Don’t let it intimidate you!  You’ll love it I promise!  We take things step by step.  In your first  class you learn how to customize the machine to your height and leg length by adjusting what we call the “stopper” and “gear bar” in to a place that is right for you.  You will take the time to try the machine in a few different ways to get acquainted with it.  You may try some leg work lying on your back pushing off the foot bar. You may put the straps in your hands and work your arms!  Nothing to crazy but it will feel great.

Before you know it your hour will be over and you will be ready to learn more.

Make sure you visit our online schedule to see when our next GroundWork class (our intro class option) is being held and please join us!