THE PILATES METHOD
THE PILATES METHOD
The concepts of the Pilates method represent a revolution in physical activity because they respond to coherent basic criteria
A brief history of PIlates
Joseph Hubertus PIlates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany, on December 9, 1883. Little is known about his youth, but it seems that in his childhood he was a fragile child, who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to become a remarkable gymnast, diver and skier.
In 1912 he traveled to England to work as a circus artist and a personal defence boxing instructor for the London police. At the outbreak of the first world war he was sent to a detention camp and during that time he developed his technique. He held a position of responsibility in a hospital on the Isle of Man, where he worked as a nurse with patients who could not walk. Especially ingenious was his use of hospital bed springs to help patients, which led to the development of his famous device known as “the Cadillac”.
After his release he returned to Germany and his method of exercise was soon accepted in the world of dance. In 1926 he emigrated to the US and during the boat trip he met Clara, his future wife. Joseph and Clara opened a gym in New York. In a short time it became very popular, especially among the dance community, as it offered an opportunity to improve technique or recover from an injury.
The Pilates Method of body toning is an exercise system focused on posture, breathing and the harmonious development of muscular strength and flexibility.
There are six principles of the Pilates Method. All are related and integrated in each exercise:
Concentration is the key to connecting the mind and the body. The mind is the thing that puts the body into action. When we pay real attention to the movements we make, we are able to feel much more the area we are working.
Each movement is performed with control from the centre of the body. All movements are slow and controlled; they must be performed at a steady speed from start to finish.
Pilates named the core as the Powerhouse. All the energy necessary to perform the exercises is generated here and flows to the extremities, coordinating the movements. Whatever the movement, whether it’s raising an arm or bending a leg, it starts at our core.
In Pilates there are no static or isolated movements and quick, sharp movements are avoided – agility predominates over speed.
Each movement has a purpose so it is important to focus attention on making precise and perfect movements, instead of doing them in an uncontrolled way.
To expand his idea of total exercise, Pilates further developed his method in order to cleanse the bloodstream through oxygenation. By using deep, full breaths and exhalations, you renew the oxygen.