What is Pilates?
Initially a series of exercises to improve posture and overall health, Pilates has become a generic term with as many variations as there are instructors teaching it.
The founder of the method, Joseph Pilates, was focused on abdominal strength as the power centre of the entire body. He was arguably both right and wrong.
Please do not mistake my criticism for disrespect, for it is without his original method that I would neither be writing this, nor would you be reading it.
Pilates inadvertently introduced eastern elements of breath and meditation to physical exercise. This was perhaps a first for North Americans en masse, as yoga had been tied to the hippy movement of the 60’s and 70’s and so relegated to the side lines of popular culture.
Almost no one likes to do physical exercise, and so we search for the 'quick fix'; the next fad to come along promising flatter abdominals, a tighter butt, better posture, etc…
Fads come and go precisely because they are unable to keep their promises. And, so, the expensive thigh trimmer collects dust under the bed, the membership card for the gym gets lost in the kitchen drawer,…and yet another year passes by: a bit flabbier, a bit tighter, and progressively further and further away from the elusive perfect body.
This doesn’t have to be the case.
Pilates has endured the test of time because of its effectiveness in creating a leaner, stronger, more flexible body that is more energetic and that both looks and feels younger.
The only problem is that Pilates exercises can be too difficult for the beginner client. This isn’t because of muscle weakness, or lack of coordination, as much as a tightening of the body as we get older.
This, too, need not be the case.
I have been teaching Pilates for 28 years, and, like many other Pilates instructors, have created preparation exercises for those who found Pilates initially difficult or even painful.
These preparation exercises, over time, became an exercise method in their own right.