A form of exercise that concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength. The focus is a mind-body exercise that requires core stability, strength, and flexibility with attention on muscle control, posture, and breathing.
In his book Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates presents his method as the art of controlled movements, which should look and feel like a workout (not a therapy) when properly manifested. If practiced with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength, and develops control and endurance in the entire body It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. The core, consisting of the muscles of the abdomen, low back, and hips, is often called the “powerhouse” and is thought to be the key to a person’s stability. Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginner to advanced or to any other level, and also in terms of the instructor and practitioner’s specific goals and/or limitations. Intensity can be increased over time as the body adapts itself to the exercises.
Pilates may or may not use specific equipment.
A number of versions of Pilates are taught today and the majority are based on up to nine principles:
Breathing: Breath is the link between mind and body. It helps to create rhythm in movements.
Concentration: Concentration means focusing on each movement.
Control: Controlling each movement and focusing on form and alignment.
Centering: All movements initiate from the center, therefore developing a strong and stable core is important.
Precision: Precision is the ability to perform exercises with the optimum alignment, control, and effort.
Balanced Muscle Development: Maintaining proper form and alignment in all of your moves will help with balanced muscle development.
Rhythm and Flow: Pilates is done with rhythm and flow, in which one move flows into the next.
Whole Body Movement: Integrating the whole body for a total body workout.