Reinforcing the True Essence of Pilates: The Benefits of Practicing the Traditional Joseph Pilates Program
To truly appreciate a concept, an idea, or a practice, we must first understand the why and how of it all. Likewise, in knowing the who behind it, we get the context and intent of its design and creation. The same holds true for Pilates—an approach to conditioning developed by its founder,Joseph H. Pilates.
In this article, we will provide you with a better appreciation of Pilates to help you sustain it as a mind-body fitness habit:
- How Pilates Differs from Most Physical Fitness Methods
- How to Get the Most Out of Your Pilates Sessions
- How the Traditional Pilates Principles Benefit You
Mr. Pilates started out as a gymnast and bodybuilder, then became a self-defense instructor for police trainees (among other things). Growing up, he suffered from chronic asthma and contracted rheumatic fever and rickets.
It’s no wonder why improving physical strength became both a necessity and a lifelong quest for Mr. Pilates. He believed that poor health can be attributed to bad posture, improper breathing, and a “modern lifestyle,” which characterises the sedentary, stress-riddled working professional of today.
Pilates as a fitness method emerged around a hundred years ago. Its early applications included the rehabilitation of injured soldiers toward improving range of motion and managing pain. Drawing from a background in gymnastics, body-building, and the martial arts, Mr. Pilates devised a series of exercises and training techniques now known universally as Pilates.
More than a straightforward workout, Pilates is about achieving mind-and-body harmony, freedom of movement, and a zest for life (which establishes the why of Pilates). It’s an activity not just for the athletically-inclined but, dare we say, everyone looking for a path to health, happiness, and new horizons.
How Pilates Differs from Most Physical Fitness Methods
Unlike the usual workout program that we follow at the gym, Pilates is not a collection of repetitive standalone movements. Mr. Pilates first coined the term contrology to describe his sequence of 34 exercises—each flowing to the next in purposeful succession.
In its original design, the sequential flow of exercises were done on a mat using only one’s bodyweight. It’s imperative that each exercise is executed in the exact sequence, in the designated number of repetitions (usually no more than six reps), before moving onto the next exercise.
The apparatus now used widely in the practice of Pilates—such as the Pilates reformer, Pilates chairs, barrels, tower, and Cadillac—evolved from the bed springs and contraptions that Mr. Pilates put together. Pilates himself engineered the first equipment and devised the specifications to teach his methods properly.
We at Pilates Plus appreciate the philosophy behind the creation of Pilates. Our years of training and experience have taught us that the original method produced the intended results.
We understand that, in this age where fast is the normal pace and convenience is a deciding factor, the original method has undergone changes. Some of its practitioners may have even forgotten (if they are aware at all) of Mr. Pilates’ intent and purpose for his method.
Indeed, exercise programs are meant to be adjusted and customised to the fitness level of the trainees, but the sequence should stay the same as the original in order to experience the full effect.
The idea of Mr. Pilates’ 34-sequence method is such that it progressively warms the body up, challenges it with exertion, and then cools it down. The intent to complete the sequences is as important as the exercises itself. Thus, this “conjuring of intent” becomes an internal process, which is where the mental-fitness aspect of Pilates comes in.
Classes offered at Pilates Plus adhere to the original Joseph Pilates principles to guide you toward mastering your own body and mind—as was intended. Our purpose is to help you take on your daily tasks head-on, with vim and vigor. With each session, we can get you closer not just to your fitness goals but also to a more optimistic outlook in life. We don’t just stop at Pilates, we enjoy life through fitness!
How To Get the Most Out of Your Pilates Sessions
At the gym or at home, we can be forgiven for not doing our sit-ups or leg raises uniformly as long as we can push our bodies to complete the prescribed number of repetitions. After all, one must admit that our first few attempts are often better executed than the last reps. Some of us don’t even get to those last few reps at all, which is “mostly okay.”
To get the maximum benefit of a Pilates session, however, one must perform the workout exercises in its entirety and go through the motions with as much consistency and fluidity as we can muster.
For starters, one must pay equal attention to the effort as well as the return phase of every exercise. At the effort stage, we physically and mentally prepare for the exertion, breathing in as our muscles contract. The part where we exhale, rest, and get set for the next repetition is the return phase.
Mindfulness comes into play when we execute both effort and return phases with the same amount and quality of control. By doing so, we get the maximum benefit of each movement, giving our body the support it needs to come to rest in a safe and correct way. Simply put, it’s not enough to get from prone on your back to upright, then just let gravity do its job and slump back on the mat.
Keep in mind that Pilates exercises should be executed as one whole movement from beginning to end. We should allow our muscles to move our body for the effort phase but also stabilise it at the return phase. It is this purposefulness that trains not just the body but also the mind—we get to understand and appreciate Pilates, which can go from habit to passion.
Pilates gets you moving with its high-degree of core conditioning. But at the same time, it gets you to mentally pause from the stress of everyday life. Our certified professional trainers will teach you the designated exercises and breathing techniques, so you can get the most out of every session with us.
How the Traditional Pilates Principles Benefit You
Traditional—the word itself sounds daunting enough, so we have made our programs more attainable by breaking the learning process into progressive levels.
Each session is a full body-and-mind workout that draws on abdominal strength and maximises the fullest potential of your body. The first improvements you’ll notice are:
- Increased Stamina and Strength
- Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
- Improved Balance and Posture
While we understand the challenges involved in the execution of the sequences, we wish to preserve the spirit in which Joseph Pilates created his method because it works; because the passion that inspired us to teach it was awakened from that original spirit.
Pilates Plus’ programs have a straightforward and purposeful design. Each is a journey with a clear final destination that all students will get to reach.
The physical change may be imperceptible at first but manifests gradually as you go along. Often, it is the mind that transforms first, as the student gains a better understanding and appreciation of the real value of Mr. Pilates’ original sequence.
CALL US NOW and be on your way to a journey of strength, stamina, and self-discovery.
Pilates Plus offers introductory group rates on Strength Pilates Mat sessions, which adopt the original sequential flow of exercises. Sign up for our Foundation Package— now only $195 for 8 sessions, valid for one (1) month.
Find out more about our various introductory packages and promotions here!