Pilates can be summed up in three words – Stretch, Strength and Control – and the incredible benefits of Pilates are plenty. Pilates & Co. instructor Rafael shares his top eight…
I truly believe that movement is magical and can transform our lives. As long-time student and instructor of the practice or Pilates, I want everyone to know and understand the benefits.
“Good Posture can be successfully acquired only when the entire mechanism of the body is under perfect control” – Joseph Pilates, The Master
As Joe so often said to his students: “Pilates is not only about strength and flexibility, Pilates is about control”. I believe we must first understand our movements, joints, muscles from inside-out, so we can move them gracefully to perform controlled and completed movements.
“You can say what Pilates is in three words – Stretch with Strength and Control. And the control part is the most important because that makes you use your mind.” – Romana Kryzanowska, Joe’s student.
Pilates is a mind-body method, which challenges not only your body but also your mind and that’s where the magic lies.
It takes every part of your mind to be aware of where your body is in space. At the end of your Pilates session, you say hello to a calm and mindful you.
Sometimes in my classes, I like to ask my students to close their eyes and visualize their body, connections, opposition movements and powerhouse to get the better engagement of their whole body and also improve awareness of body, which in my opinion one of the most important fundamentals of Pilates and the key to progress.
Not convinced of Pilates’ magic yet? Here are my top eight reasons it is the best exercise to practice…
Benefits of Pilates
#1 Pilates is whole-body workout
You are only one, not divided into parts, so why not activate your whole-body to do one single movement? That’s what Pilates does.
#2 Pilates suits everyone
You could be 7 years old or you could be 90 years old.
#3 Pilates improves strength
Long, lean muscles are created to move through life.
#4 It builds core strength (or the powerhouse)
The powerhouse, or core, can be described as the area from the bottom of the rib cage to a line across the hip joints in the front and to the base of the buttocks in the back. When the core is strong, the frame of the body is supported.
#5 Pilates promotes flexibility safely
In the practice of Pilates, flexibility is safely increased in lengthening and stretching the muscles and through a range of motion within the joints, using opposite movement to get better length.
Using the deep core muscles of the powerhouse – the abdominals, back, and pelvic floor – to support our posture allows the shoulders to relax, the neck and head to move freely, and relieves stress on the hips, legs, and feet.
#7 Pilates increases energy
Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with the good feelings one gets from exercising the whole body.
#8 Pilates increases your awareness of body
The Pilates principles – centring, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow – are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.
Did you know? Pilates method was originally called Contrology, “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.”
More reasons to do Pilates
They were eight great reasons, but here are a few more just to seal the deal. Pilates can be a wonderful way to help you change poor habits. Everything that you learn about your body with the Pilates Method can be applied to both your everyday life and other fitness activities. Pilates is a fabulous complement to any sport or method of movement because it balances the body and strengthens stabilising muscles.
As an experienced Pilates Instructor I can say that Pilates Method is fluid, so take your time. It is not a competition. It is a gradual way to progress and challenge your body. Everyone has their own challenge and pace to control the movements. So always trust on your Powerhouse and you will be more confident in your life and everyday activities. I would love to see you in one of my classes to experience the magic that classic Pilates is all about!
Rafael is a classical Pilates instructor, teaching nearly a decade and most of his professional background was developed in Brazil, his home country. He experienced the introduction of Pilates in Brazil and helped to spread the word of its benefits and success. His passion for Pilates grew so much as he accompanied the development of his students as they improved their movements with grace and control.
Catch Rafael teaching the classical Pilates method on Tuesday and Friday mornings.