Today Pilates is a very popular exercise regime, which in many circles is as highly regarded as Yoga for helping to keep the balance between both body and mind.
Pilates was developed Joseph Pilates a German, during the first half of the 20th century.Joseph was a man ahead of his time for western Europe as he recognised that body and mind are closely linked and for good health to prevail then the twoneed to be in balance and harmony.
Like Yoga, Pilates needs focus and control where the body and mind work together harmoniously.Pilates help the body to strengthen and stretch which in turn improves balance, flexibility and posture.The mindfulness when doing the exercises helps the focus and concentration and it creates a place of meditation like calm and peace.
The core muscles -the abdominals, hips, buttocks, thighs and lower back are seen as the powerhouse and this is where all movements begin flowing out to the legs and arms.The movements should flow from the core and they should be done with concentration so that perfection is achieved.The ultimate goal is that these movements should become part of your everyday posture and life so that you do them without thinking about it.
Again, as with Yoga -the breath and correct breathing is very important in Pilates.Yogis have long since recognised the importance of the breath and the supply of oxygen to the body and tissues.A good supply of fresh oxygen to all cells is vital to keep the body healthy and cleansed and learning how to breathe correctly is a vital piece of the healthy puzzle.In fact Pilates has some considerable overlap with Yoga postures and martial arts.
Whilst Pilates will help with strength and flexibility it will not give you a good cardio vascular aerobic workout so when planning a fitness regime you need to take this into consideration and plan for aerobic exercises such as running or swimming.
As with any form of physical exercise it is important to learn how to do the exercises correctly so that no injuries are caused by doing them incorrectly.If we were going to do Yoga we would expect to go to a qualified Yoga teacher, the same is true for Pilates -you need to find a good well qualified and experienced teacher.A good teacher will be able to teach all ages and be able to tailor the class to different abilities and needs and also they should be able to tailor the class to suit different abilities and levels of fitness.The Pilates Foundation is a great place to find a qualified teacher here in the UK.
As with any form of health and fitness regime it is important to add in other elements such as good diet, drink plenty of clean water, happy living and plenty of really good sleeping hours (make sure you take a look at our adjustable beds to get the best type of bed possible).All of these elements combine to help to make you as healthy and happy as possible for a long and happy life.