Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. Pilates utilizes a systematic practice of specific exercises and breathing techniques which develop body awareness, increase flexibility and joint range of motion, improve and change the body's posture and alignment.
The Pilates Method was designed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920's. During WWI, he began teaching concepts and exercises derived from yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens. This system of original exercises was first performed on the floor under the name "Contrology" which is now referred to as "matwork". He later designed equipment to aid in the rehabilitation of bedridden hospital patients. This equipment was composed of spring tensions, straps, and supports which created exercises that complimented the matwork exercises.
Unlike traditional fitness programs that fatigue the body and create overuse injuries, Pilates is a holistic form of body conditioning that leaves you refreshed and alert with a feeling of physical and mental well-being.
With regular practice, Pilates can yield numerous benefits:
- increases and creates balance between strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles
- improves posture, balance, and core strength
- improves coordination, dynamic stability, and body awareness
- improves bone density and joint health
- increases lung capacity and circulation
- releases stress
- promotes injury prevention
- improves performance technique for athletes and dancers
Kreg Weiss is a co-founder of My Yoga Online and certified Hatha Yoga Teacher. Several years ago, Kreg discovered yoga while teaching health and fitness. Yoga dramatically transformed Kreg's approach to teaching health and wellness as well as changed his personal life bringing new direction in finding physical, mental, and spiritual growth.