There has been an increasing awareness of Pilates and a huge growth in the number of studios throughout New Zealand. Ever thought it was just for the young and agile? Madonna et al? Not at all! The creator of this amazing exercise method, Joseph Pilates was devising new movements and practicing what he preached until his death at the age of 87. He had a penchant for teaching and posing in his swimming trunks; and there are pictures to prove his celebration of the joy of movement.
What is different about this new form of exercise? Well it actually predates the Fitness movement and Gyms as we know it (1920’s) and whilst original clients were mainly dancers, more and more people began to embrace it as the word spread about the amazing results on peoples bodies. There are six original Principles:
- Concentration – the focus on your own workout is very calming
- Control – fewer movements performed really, really well
- Center – strong abdominals underpin the stability of the spine
- Flow – muscles move smoothly and efficiently
- Precision – every movement has a purpose
- Breathing – the source of life and an inner cleanse to the body, correct breathing supports all the other principles
Are key point in Modern Pilates is that of Integration – putting it together so that you are a harmonious whole-Body, Mind and Spirit.
You can be a healthier, more vital person no matter what stage of life you are in, and good instruction will work around any structural or systemic challenges. The remaining ‘Elders,’ those who learned from Pilates and worked with him, still continue to present at seminars to this day. One that I had personal experience of in 1994 is now in her eighties. Teachers and attendees fall in love with it – you might too!
Written by Elena Philp.