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What Is Pilates?

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.” – Joseph Pilates

What a powerful statement! Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method in

Germany in the early 1900s as he interned during the first World War. After

the war, he taught non-ambulatory patients and eventually immigrated and

opened his own studio in New York City. He originally called this movement

Contrology which he defined as the complete coordination of body, mind,

& spirit. If you’ve ever taken a Pilates class, that definition makes sense.

The cueing and imagery used in Pilates have a purpose--it’s intended to

engage the mind to deepen the work.

A girl doing a Pilates bridge on a theraball

Pilates focuses on the spine and one’s ability to move the spine through all

planes of motion daily. Clients are encouraged to work within their

personal range of motion in order to be the most successful with the

exercises. By bringing awareness and activation to the deepest layer of

abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis, individuals are strengthening

the muscles that support the spine and protect it from further injury and

poor posture habits. This body awareness also helps each individual to

move more efficiently and reduce any additional asymmetrical stresses on

the spine.


So why do Pilates when there are hundreds of other workout options

available to you? Pilates at its core is movement. It’s intended to rebuild

functional patterns. It’s intended to help find stabilization and stimulation

as you move your body. It’s learning to strengthen and control the muscles

you need to perform activities of daily life like opening cabinets and

bending down to get something on the floor. It’s treating the body as a

whole instead of focusing over and over on one muscle group. We create

additional imbalances in our bodies when we isolate certain body parts and

muscles. Pilates is an individualized practice that is going to be different

and work differently than it does for the person next to you.


Interested in learning more? Check out our new Pilates session offerings

and see what these restorative practices can do for you! Book with Emily today!

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