by June Hines
Need help creating that strong, flexible and balanced body everyone desires? Since the early 20th century, over 11 million people have discovered the benefits of Pilates, a form of exercise which works body, mind and spirit together to create physical and mental balance.
Founder Joseph Pilates designed his method to be more than repetitive exercise. Pilates blended his studies of Eastern and Western philosophies—including yoga, martial arts and Greek and Roman exercise—his experience as an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast and boxer, and what he learned as a medic in Germany during World Way I, to develop over 500 exercises and apparatuses. He understood that each person’s mind and body needed to be equally developed, and that this connection would elevate the spirit to improve physical health, confidence and self-worth.
Training with a certified Pilates instructor is a complete workout with particular concentration on stabilizing the core of the body. The core, which includes the abdomen, back and pelvic region, is called “the powerhouse” in Pilates. This is where we gain strength and control, radiating energy and improving flexibility throughout the body. A Pilates workout can transform the body in many ways, including correcting alignment; improving posture; building leaner, symmetrical muscles; fine-tuning coordination and balance; increasing endurance; improving circulation and breathing; and reducing the risk of injury.
A benefit of Pilates is that anyone—no matter age or skill level—can do the work. All of the resistance in a Pilates workout is created by one’s own body weight and supported by spring-based apparatuses, removing stress on tendons and ligaments. Furthermore, Pilates training is based on low repetition of exercises with focus on the quality of movement rather than quantity, so we feel invigorated—not exhausted—after a session.
To begin the path into Pilates, it is important to find the right studio and instructor. A certified instructor has gone through a minimum of 600 to 1,000 hours of instruction, testing and training. A good instructor should start a new client with a private session to discuss medical history and goals, followed by a workout based on the individual’s needs and physical condition.
Pilates done right is joyous, and evolves and challenges while making improvements to the mind and body.
June Hines is the owner of June Hines Pilates—a full-service studio run by a team of experienced, certified instructors—with locations in Rydal and Doylestown. Connect with her at JuneHinesPilates@verizon.net or JuneHinesPilates.com. May 2015.