Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pilates’ Mania!

Everywhere you turn these days, there are Pilates’ classes and batches coming up, claiming a multitude of benefits of following such a program.

Lets see a few details about Pilates’ –
o Pilates’ is a technique of muscle training, named after its founder Joseph Pilates, a gymnast.
o The underlying idea is to use the existing correlation between the mind and the body (namely muscles) to effectively work the latter. Most of the usual strength exercises do not emphasize enough on the importance of ‘mind’ to control the movements.
And it is a well-established fact that the mind, does indeed control the body and hence isolated approaches to Mind and Body are less effective than integrated approaches, such as all the core-training methods.
o The primary focus is on the postural muscles, mainly the core (front and back) muscles which help maintain the posture of the body, in activities of daily living and which are also prone to imbalances due to un-healthy lifestyles.
o All the techniques place great importance on getting the spinal alignment right, prior to starting any movement. This is a very fundamentally important aspect of Pilates’ training.
o Another very important part is that all movements are to be performed in ways which are highly controlled and ‘flowing’, rather than abrupt, jerky movements.
o Also, another very important area of focus is the breathing, in relation to the movements and the rhythm in which the movements are performed.
o The best feature of Pilates’ is that it does not need sophisticated equipments for getting the best out of it. There are many Pilates’ exercises that use equipments and props, but a simple mat can also be sufficient to get a good Pilates’ workout. Hence it is also possible to do it at home or when you are travelling, and can’t be regular at the gym.
o However, from the points above, it is very clear that Pilates’ is an advanced workout, requiring precise technique, control and awareness. Hence it may be a little difficult to beginners and intermediate exercisers to get the best out of it. Needless to say, it is just a matter of getting well-conditioned and then use Pilates’ as a progression tool.

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