Fit, Fitter, Fittest Through Pilates
Image by Movements Afoot via FlickrPilates is a whole tradition in itself. As early as the 20s, body builder Joseph Pilates developed a fitness program that brought elements of yoga in line with martial arts and Western gymnastics. He especially constructed unique equipments made of wood, leather and steel springs for this system. Joseph Pilates called this method Contrology, believing that it uses the mind to control the different muscle groups in the body. From then on, people such as actors and dancers would come to his studio; people who had joint pains and problems with their spinal disk because of their jobs. This is how Pilates was born.
Even up to today, the Pilates system is still ideal to bring your body in top shape and to find your inner center, and now you can even do it without using any equipment. Since it was mainly thought out to strengthen your musculature, several muscle groups are stretched and vitalized at the same time during exercise instead of working on each muscle group one by one. Apart from that, this physical fitness system also enhances one’s awareness of breath, aiming to strengthen the deep torso muscles. Of course it can be exhausting at first, but you’ll definitely feel more energetic afterwards. If you practice this two to three times a week (at half an hour each day), you’ll not only get a nicer figure, but also a perfect posture as a bonus.
The six principles of the discipline are: breath, flow, centering, concentration, control, and precision. Using a full breath in exercises is an integral part of the training. Flow refers to grace, fluidity, and ease that is applied to all exercises. Centering means that the exercises are sourced from the center of the body, while concentration focuses on bringing full attention and commitment to the exercise. Control, on the other hand, means that no body part is left untrained, every exercise is done with complete muscular control. Finally, precision refers to the alignment of different body parts which is part of the goal of the training.
In this sort of training, you will need to practice stretching and pay great attention to your breathing. Learning proper breathing techniques and constantly applying them will help you get rid of the waste in your body. This part of the training is vital, since one of its aims is to relieve the body from fatigue that goes with stress at work and in everyday life.
If you’re already into yoga, then some of the exercises you will encounter might already be familiar to since the two disciplines closely resemble each other. Some things they have in common are the development of conscious breathing and expansive stretching. Even in their benefits, Pilates and yoga have very much in common: they both help you to develop a strong and graceful body, allowing you to move with more efficiency and without creating bulky muscles. These two are also known to reduce stress and increase one’s well-being and enhance the fitness of the body, the mind, and the spirit altogether.