Pilates is a physical
fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates
The program focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the
body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the
spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and
alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles.
The central aim of Pilates is to attempt
to create a fusion of mind and body, so that without even engaging the
mind, the body will move with economy, grace, and balance.
Core focus of Pilates is on Centering,
Concentration, Precision, Flow or efficiency of movement and
Centering the very large group of muscles in the center of the body –
encompassing the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks – the
“powerhouse.” All energy for Pilates exercises is said to begin from
the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs. In other words, the
Pilates technique asserts that physical energy exerted from the center
should coordinate movements of the extremities.
Pilates demands intense focus. For instance, the inner thighs and
pelvic floor may be assessed when doing a standing exercise that tones
the triceps. Beginners are instructed to pay careful attention to
their bodies, building on very small, delicate fundamental movements
and controlled breathing.
Practitioners assert that every movement in the Pilates method has a
purpose. Every instruction is considered vitally important to the
success of the whole. To leave out any detail is believed to forsake
the intrinsic value of the exercise. The focus is on doing one precise
and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. The goal is
for this precision to eventually become second nature, and carry over
into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.
A qualified Pilates instructor is expected to understand the technique
well enough to adapt it to the real-world capabilities of his or her
students. Students with physical disabilities, for example, should be
given a Pilates regimen intended to improve their methods of
physically compensating for their ailment.
Flow or efficiency of movement
Movement is expected to be kept continuous between exercises through
the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved,
the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order
to build strength and stamina.