Pilates was developed by Joseph H Pilates (1880 – 1967) and originally named as Body Contrology. Pilates created “The Pilates Principles” to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement. This unique set of 500 different exercises are being practised by more than 11 million people worldwide today. No matter what your age or condition, Pilates will work for you!
Pilates helps you to:
• Build longer and leaner muscles – toning without bulk
• Develops a strong core with flat abdominals and a strong back
• Alleviates back, neck and join pain by improving flexibility, balance and coordination
• Improves posture and is an effective post-rehabilitation exercise
• Increases core strength, stability and peripheral mobility
• Prevent injury
• Enhances functional fitness, ease of movement
• Heightens body awareness
• Enhance performance in sports (golf, tennis, running etc)
• Works on strengthening, lengthening and toning your entire body
• Does not build bulky muscles
• Decreases risk of injury by correcting muscle imbalance around the joints
• A mind-body workout where participants are required to engage the mind to coordinate the physical movements
• Customized to suit individual needs
Pilates Reformer class uses Pilates Reformer machine as the main piece of equipment to perform Pilates exercises. The Reformer glides forward & backward on rollers and uses springs for resistance, along with other attachments, for a wide variety of exercises and positions (i.e. lying down, seated and standing).
A special Pilates equipment called the Jumpboard is attached to the Pilates Reformer to intensify the Pilates workout. For those who find that regular Pilates classes cannot provide them with the “extra kick”, the Pilates Jumpboard will give you a lovely surprise. This class may not be suitable for people with knee injuries.
Pilates is unlike Yoga. Yoga poses are considered as a preamble to center, calm, and prepare your body for concentrated sessions of seated meditation. In contrast, Pilates was developed as a logical system of exercises specifically designed to enhance and balance the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the human body. In other words, Pilates is not about sitting still or holding poses — Pilates is about movement!
In addition, although both Yoga and Pilates are breath-based disciplines, the primary styles of breathing are quite different. Yoga teaches you to breathe in and out through the nose, which helps to calm the nervous system down. Pilates teaches you to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. The diaphragmatic breathing method of Pilates helps to engage your core muscles throughout the exercise.
The table below illustrates the key differences between Pilates and Yoga.
1/ Pilates focuses on working the imbalances of the muscles – to tone, to lengthen and to strengthen. Yoga aims to calm the mind, empty the mind and to still the mind.
2/ Pilates is active movements. You are always moving with control strokes. There are very little instances where you are holding a pose. Yoga on the other hand, brings you to a pose and encourage you to hold the pose, usually for 10 counts as you breathe in and out. Modern yoga classes such as Flow Classes have more fluid movements requiring less stationary poses.
3/ Pilates is about building muscular strength to perform your daily activities efficiently and effectively. Pilates helps you to build long toned muscles so as to preserve the flexibility required to keep your joints mobile and healthy. Yoga on the other hand, tends to focus on flexibility as Yoga classes are performed without additional resistance other than the body weight.
4/ There are about 6 different Pilates equipment – Pilates mat, Pilates Reformer, Pilates Cadillac, Pilates Chair, Pilates Barrel and Pilates Spine Corrector.
The biggest benefit you can gain is body awareness — awareness of how you sit, stand or move and being able to relate those habits to the aches, pains and injuries you may have or have had in the past. At the end of 15 sessions, you can expect an increase in strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, and body awareness, as well as a decrease in back pain and other general pains.
An average active person who attends 2-3 classes per week should see results within 10-12 classes. This will vary depending on each individual and other factors such as the number of classes attended each week, the nature of the class (private or group classes), participation in other physical activities, diet, and the presence of any existing injuries.