What is Pilates?
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany. As of 2005 there are 11 million people who practice the discipline regularly and more then 14,000 instructors in the United States.
Pilates called his method Contrology, because he believed his method uses the mind to control the muscles.The program focuses on the core postural muscles which help keep the body balanced and which are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and alignment of the spine, and aim to strengthen the deep torso muscles.
History of Pilates
German born Joseph Pilates designed a system of exercise based on aerobics and Yoga postures of Surya Namskaras.
Pilates was formed by the part Greek part German Joseph Pilates during the First World War with the proposal to improve the rehabilitation program for the many returning veterans. Joseph Pilates believed mental and physical health are essential to one another. He recommended a few, precise movements emphasizing control and form to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilizing key muscles. Pilates created "The Pilates Principles" to condition the entire body: proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement.
Joseph Pilates wrote two books concerning the Pilates method, Return to Life through Contrology (1928) and Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education (1934).
Use of Pilates
Traditionally, Pilates is performed using a machine, classically known as the Pilates reformer, which provides exercise resistance to build strength, develop proper alignment and posture, and increase flexibility. Presently, however, mat Pilates, which does not make use of the reformer is becoming increasingly popular. In the absence of the reformer, an individual's core strength is garnered as resistance to increase flexibility and further develop the core muscles.