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Introduction to Pilates

Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on developing the body in a balanced way though core strength and flexibility to foster graceful, efficient movement. Pilates was originally developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s as a rehabilitation program for prisoners of war, and is now one of the most popular exercise forms in the country.

Pilates works for a people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels, and is useful for improving general fitness, enhancing athletic performance and physical rehabilitation.

The Pilates method emphasizes quality rather than quantity, and Pilates exercises typically include only a few precise repetitions for each move.

Basic Principles

Pilates is founded on six basic principles: Center, Control, Concentration, Precision, Breath, and Flow.

Center
Pilates is mostly focused on the large group of muscles in our center - our abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks. No arm or leg gesture occurs without a strong and stable center. Pilates is often described as 'movement flowing out from a strong center'. Locate and establish your center before, during and after each workout. Your center is the foundation of everything- even centering your mind. The primary goal of Pilates is to stabilize the pelvis in a neutral position.

Control
Pilates involves controlling each movement and paying complete attention to your body positioning and sequencing. Every Pilates exercise is performed with utmost control to avoid injury and maximize the benefit of each movement. In Pilates, no exercise is done just for the sake of doing it; each movement serves a function.

Concentration
Concentration involves bringing full attention to each exercise. Your mind controls your body. Be present. Pay attention to the movements you perform and how your muscles respond. Concentrate on improving your form by focusing on every detail.

Precision
In Pilates, you apply precision to all aspects of your workout. Be precise in your approach, your focus and your form. Try not to focus on simply completing an exercise, but on performing it as perfectly as possible.

Breath
Joseph Pilates wrote 'above all…learn to breathe correctly'. Correct breathing oxygenates the blood and increases circulation. Generally, you should inhale to prepare for a movement and exhale as you execute it. The fresh air replenishes and energizes the body. Proper breathing helps to control your movements while you exercise. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise.

Flow
Pilates exercise is done in a flowing manner, with an emphasis on grace, ease and fluidity. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. In life, movements are connected to one another and are not fragmented or isolated, and Pilates seeks to mimic these movements. Flow will improve balance, control and coordination, preparing your body for the demands of daily life.

Benefits of Pilates

The top benefits of doing Pilates include becoming stronger, leaner, and more able to move gracefully and efficiently. Pilates is becoming increasingly popular, because of its unique focus on building core strength and balance.