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What is Pilates?

September 26, 2012

Pilates is every time a more popular exercise method throughout all Europe and United States. It's the result of an eclectic combination of various disciplines such as Yoga and Martial Arts. But what is Pilates and what are the benefits? Pilates, known also as Physical Mind method or Contrology, is a series of nonimpact exercises designed to develop strength, flexibility, balance, and inner awareness, without necessarily building bulk. Further into what is Pilates, it's based on a series of controlled movements performed on specially designed apparatus or on the floor (mat work). But to really understand what Pilates is, we should go back to its origins. Born in Germany in 1880, Joseph Pilates was a frail child with rickets, rheumatic fever and asthma. But he was determined to become stronger and so, he dedicated himself to building both his body and his mind through the combination of yoga practice, Martial Arts, bodybuilding and even ancient Roman and Greek exercises. His dedication and conditioning regimen worked out: he became a strong gymnast, skier, boxer and diver. As an answer to what is Pilates, the founder himself defined it as “The art and science of Body-Mind-Spirit development, through natural movements under strict conscience control”. As Greeks defended, the real meaning of body and mind balance, in terms of a total physical health, is mental happiness combined with the goals the human achieves during is path through life. As Joseph Pilates also understood, the closer you are to physical perfection, the closer your mind will be to mental perfection. Pilates considers the body as a whole and works constantly with and for the mind. As a shorter answer to what is Pilates, it's the body and mind training and control, achieving a total fitness aim. To discover more thoroughly what is Pilates, let's review the 6 essential Pilates principles: Centering: Physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the powerhouse area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Energetically, Pilates exercises are always sourced from the center. Concentration: If one brings full attention and commitment, maximum value will be obtained from each movement. Control: no body part is left to its own devices. Mind controls the body and not the other way round. Precision: in Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body. Breathing: coordinating the exercises with the breath, Pilates uses the lungs strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Flow: the energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. There are over 500 exercises that were developed by Joseph Pilates. Once the basics are learned from an instructor, it is possible to train at home, as many exercises can be performed on a mat. If you would like to complete your Pilates equipment, check our YogaYe store; we have available a high quality selection of pilates clothing and mats with excellent grip and endurance that will provide you with a better, happy and comfortable practice of Pilates. Now you have a better idea about what is Pilates, the next step is, as just mentioned, to step into a Pilates session and discover it by yourself!

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