What does Pilates mean?

Updated: Oct 10, 2019

Is Pilates like yoga? Do I have to be flexible to do Pilates? Is Pilates just for girls? ..... a few of the questions I get asked weekly and the answer is hell no !

Pilates and Yoga work hand in hand, yes, I'd say they both are promoted under the same umbrella, being mindful exercise programs with a personalised edge. But are they in any way simler? No, with totally different principles and back grounds they're very different.

Pilates was originally called Contrololagy, Its purpose was to help with rehabilitation by movement. Later renamed after founder Jospeh Pilates. The focus in Pilates begins with the human skeleton, not something we regularly chat about in fitness but a massively important part of our overall health. We have over 360 joints throughout the body, these joints contain a element of space which is a pathway for nerves, muscles, cartilage, blood vessels and much more. If we don't look after these joints by keeping them strong and mobile, over time joints begin to compress, there's a saying that us' humans shrink as we get older' ..... but of course that isn't quite the case, however when losing the space between the bones the human skeleton appears smaller, and slightly more fragile. When this happens, it also effects the components that cross these pathways, trapped nerves are a common side effect, muscle tension can occur, and damage to the cartilage commonly results in, joint pain, stiffness and inflammation..... not nice!

So how can we avoid this using pilates

Pilates is based on 5 basic principles, First up, the breath pattern is designed to help keep the spine in a neutral ,safe position, using the full capacity of the lungs which has many benefits. Other principles include, Cranial (position of the head) Pelvic , Rib Cage and Scapula placements . When working with these techniques, we find are individual, idlic, posture. This encourages the joints to work in a safe plain of movement, it helps strengthen and support the joints, with minimal compression, and helps us target the smaller muscles that support them.

Scapular Stabilisation on the Reformer

Yoga is a massive part of my weekly exercise program, I love it. Yoga is a spiritual practice that uses poses and positions to help cleanse, and detoxify, organs of the body including the mind. These poses help strengthen, and increase flexibility. Although the benefits may sound the same as pilates, yoga has very different principles. Yoga works with different styles of breath patterns and meditation, all classes are different and will most likely include Shavasana to finish (everyones favourite part).

Always enquire about Yoga styles before you attend a class, as it's important to learn the basics to prevent injury, even if it may be tempting to smash out that all important 'instagram strong' photo. Make sure your body is safe and you have the knowledge needed to support these postures and poses.

Did you know -Yoga is a art form, so much so that it may be entering the Olympics in years to come.... yay!

“What is Reformer Pilates and why do you benefit from working on this machine?"

When using the reformer for the first time you will quickly realise the benefits and feel the difference. Pilates was invented around 1915. It was not created on a reformer but actually came about on a bed in a hospital ward, bed springs were attached to hospital beds, so patients could start toning muscles while bed bound ..... Later the first reformer was invented with similar components.

The machine is suitable for all sizes with changeable components to support the body and encourage a good posture, while the moving carriage gives the body no excuses. You must engage the core otherwise movement will not be fluid and that on a reformer is something you can't hide.

Reformer pilates is a safe way to work out, and progress in fitness, for anyone from beginner, up to advanced levels. Plus, with a jump board a cardio work out is a great way to increase the heart beat .... ever tried jumping while laying down? its fun, dynamic, great for coordination, and gentle on hip, knee, and ankle joints. (optional workout in sessions).

Video - Leg warm up in a neutral position.

Any further questions regarding The Reformer and Pilates workouts never hesitate to email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can :)

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