What IS Pilates?

Pilates is many things to many people and there are hundreds of reasons why people all over the world start Pilates but some of the most common reasons I hear at my classes are: 

  • ‘I need to chill out’
  • ‘I’ve got a sore back and someone told me Pilates is good for backs’
  • ‘I want to be more flexible’
  • ‘I’d like to have better posture’
  •  ‘my doctor said I should do Pilates’

These reasons give us some idea as to what Pilates DOES but still doesn’t help us know what Pilates IS so I’m going to explain a little now. Pilates is even different things to different instructors and many people attending classes will find that they ‘gel’ with one instructor’s style and not another’s.

Why is this?

This is mainly due to the different interpretations of how Pilates has developed since Joseph Pilates first devised the exercises in the period of the First World War.

Of course this means the technique is now 100 years old and when he moved to America (from Germany) he set up his studio and trained other people to teach the method – which was then called Contrology.

As his instructors spread out and trained another generation of teachers, and so on, the method evolved.

In more recent times, with further developments a lot of the moves have been adapted to make them more suitable for everyone rather than the already very strong and supple ballet dancers Joseph worked with.

Different training schools have different approaches – some very traditional and similar in technique to the original style; some very modern and almost unrecognisable from the original style.

Different people prefer different things and this is why even if you have tried Pilates with one instructor but didn’t get on with it you may find a different style that does work for you.

Regardless of where an instructor did their training & how  their own style of teaching Pilates has developed you can still pretty much sum up Pilates as ‘a sequence of slow, controlled movements which aim to improve posture and breathing whilst strengthening your core muscles and improving mobility’.

This is why I love the term ‘Contrology’ as it suggests all of the above in one word.

In the next few blogs I’ll be explaining a bit more about my own style of Pilates and what to expect when you come to class.

Thanks for reading!

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