Whether returning from an illness or injury or wishing to improve athletic performance, the Joseph Pilates exercise system is an excellent choice. Originally called “Contrology”, the system is unique in that it focuses on movements that balance the mind and body. It is truly the antidote for the demands a 21st century lifestyle puts on the body. We live in a time when there is too much sitting and as a result strength, endurance and health suffer. Research shows sitting for long periods of time contributes to heart disease and other maladies of modern life.
It seems life is a constant rush. We scurry here and there, not even noticing the body or its’ needs, until we urgently need to rush to the toilet. Pilates does not help us slow our life-style, but it does help improve body awareness and thus address the needs of the body, particularly, the breath. Joe Pilates states the obvious in his book, Return to Life, “breathing is the first act of life and the last.” Somewhere between the first and last breath, people have forgotten how to breathe. The breath over time becomes shallow and unsatisfying. The brain and other organs starve for air. The Pilates system teaches the body regain vitality with the to breath…deep, full, satisfying, nourishing every cell and organ. The ribcage and spine regain flexibility and function. The respiratory diaphragm learns to open and stretch and the entire body benefits and as a final result, self-confidence grows.
Pilates is unique because it uses both the large muscles needed for movement and the smaller muscles for stabilization. The exercises work the body from the inside out by concentrating on lengthening the limbs from a strong center, thus creates stability. As the original name implies, controlling and creating precise movement are at the “core” (pun intended) of the system. While calisthenics emphasizes endless repetitions without focus, Pilates engages the mind, slows the tempo, and encourages concentrated effort on a few repetitions, often no more than eight repetitions for advanced individuals. Because of this attention to detail, the Pilates method is able to meet the needs of any body. The system employs a wide range and variety of exercises designed to balance the body and mind. Movements within the system are modified, but with the intention of returning to and mastering the original exercise.
But most important, researchers at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, found that women experience sexual pleasure during exercise. Of those surveyed, 51% said they experienced sexual pleasure from abdominal exercises. “The Week” Magazine called it a “coregasm”. Sounds like Pilates.
These are a few of the many benefits of practicing Pilates regularly. Try it yourself and see the results. Joseph Pilates made a promise: In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, after 20 sessions you will see the difference, and in 30 sessions you will be on your way to having a whole new body.