A Brief History Of Pilates
Of all the health trends to sweep the world, few have found the success achieved by Pilates. Originally developed in the early twentieth century, this increasingly popular form of exercise focuses on mental control within the physical body. In fact, it was originally referred to as contrology. Below is a beginners guide, complete with a brief history and basic overview of the hottest trend in fitness.
Based upon the belief that physical and mental health are closely related, Pilates seeks to strengthen the connection between body and mind. Creator Joseph Pilates worked for many years to develop his system, and was fascinated by the early versions of exercise machines that were gaining in popularity during that time period. He was also impressed with the ancient Greek methods of training, and sought to incorporate these principles as well. For those seeking a new alternative and a holistic approach to fitness, Pilates can offer a world of results.
He went on to work with a number of students, most of whom were dancers. Through this first generation of students, his ideas began to spread across the world. Studios were opened and the methodology was taught to successive generations of instructors.
The idea is to develop strength from the core out, using a variety of techniques and apparatuses to do so. The original form was confined exclusively to mats, but in keeping with the tradition of the times, it quickly expanded to include a variety of equipment. Each piece has a distinct purpose and its own set of routines, but most rely upon spring-based resistance.
Modern forms have grown to include medicine ball, resistance bands, stability balls, and a host of other equipment. This approach is referred to as modern Pilates. The original school of thought still exists, and is actually quite popular. Most of the equipment used in the classical style is still quite similar to the original specifications used by Joseph himself.
There are six core principles outlined by instructors. They are concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing. These six ideas all intertwine to form a singular connection between mind and body. Mastery of all six is crucial to those seeking the full benefit of the program.
Pilates places a good deal of focus on the power house, or core of the body. It is believed that all strength, both mental and physical starts at the core. By developing a strong base from which to generate all other movement, true stability can be achieved. This is done by raising the center of gravity and attaining perfect posture without being forced to alter breathing. It is a difficult process for most beginners, but the benefits of proper balance is undeniable.
As with any fitness regimen however, it is wise to seek medical approval before beginning. This is especially true for those who have pre-existing medical conditions or who are pregnant. Building a strong core, developing balance and posture properly, and strengthening the mind body connection are a set of ideals that are both admirable and attainable, with the proper amount of time and focus.