Saturday, March 6, 2010

Get fit with Pilates’!

We will see a few principles which are a pre-requisite for an effective Pilates’ workout -

Continuous, Deep and Relaxed Breathing
Slow, continuous and smooth breathing forms the underlying basis of Pilates, which means without holding the breath or fast and shallow breathing. Sometimes when we have to concentrate on the movements and the speed of movements, we tend to hold our breath, and then exhale suddenly and inhale. Watching the breath while performing the movements, calls for controlled co-ordination, which is the challenge that Pilates’ offers.

An example that instructors use while exhaling is - Squeeze out the lungs as you would wring a wet towel dry. Also the participant is instructed to be aware of the inclusion of the deep abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor muscles, and stay aware throughout the workout.

In Pilates’, the group of muscles in the mid-region the body – namely the deep muscles of the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks – is termed as the “Powerhouse / Core.” The focus is always to feel the energy flowing from the Powerhouse to the legs and the arms.

Performing Pilates’ needs intense concentration and focus on the breathing, the movements and the flow of energy from the powerhouse to the limbs performing the exercise. Some Instructors, re-start all the way from the beginning, if focus is lost in between a particular movement!

Control & Flowing movements
Controlled and smooth movements and breathing are an important part of performing Pilates’ effectively. This requires all of the above and a well-conditioned body. Controlled movements also improve the efficiency of the neuro-muscular system.

Thus it becomes essential to perform Pilates’ under the guidance of an expert Instructor and also get one self flexible and strong enough to perform them!

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