“Physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind, fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”- Joseph H. Pilates (1881-1967)
Joseph H. Pilates was a pioneer of his time and innovator for movement that truly is a union of body, mind and spirit. Pilates is far beyond an exercise system, it is a commitment for the whole body with guiding principles of breath, precision, control, centering, flow and balanced muscle development. Joseph Pilates’ philosophical standpoints in conjunction with teaching the exercises create profound results in body, mind, and spirit.
There are over 500 exercises with variations in the Pilates repertoire that work in progressions challenging the body in many different positions. Focus, precision, concentration and control are necessary to safely perform the dynamic exercises that take the body through full range of movement and in all planes of movement.
The mat exercises take the body and spine through all the ranges of movement with the focus on strengthening the torso. Pilates exercises train muscle systems as opposed to “individual muscle groups”, so that the body is trained in a balanced fashion with emphasis on both sides of the joint working. While the muscles on one side contract to shorten, the muscles on the other side lengthens. In this way, the body is trained in a co-ordinated and balanced fashion.
The mat work is commonly referred to as training the “power-house”, or “core muscles”, however, Joseph’s classical exercises were designed for the whole body. While the emphasis is on the “core” muscles of the torso and pelvis, all exercises are taught for whole body health and commitment.
The mat work builds in progressions of movements that increasingly challenge core support, flexibility, and strength. Small apparatus (hand weights or toning balls, resistance rings, foam rollers, thera-bands, and other small balls) are also used to increase the challenge of the exercises by adding resistance, or to aid in performing the exercises.
Specially designed Pilates equipment uses springs to work the body against resistance to strengthen the body, help increase range of motion, balance muscles systems, and improve joint alignment.
The reformer is probably the most well know piece of Pilates equipment. It is an extremely versatile piece of equipment with hundreds of exercises that can be performed in many different positions (lying down, seated, kneeling, on a box, in plank positions, or standing).
The reformer is used worldwide in professional dance schools and companies. Our very own National Ballet School and Company as well as The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Company, have Pilates studios in their facilities with reformers. The reformer is also a mainstay at many Physiotherapy or Rehabilitation Centers as well as in hospitals in the USA.
Which is better: mat or equipment work?
Many people ask me “which is better, mat or equipment?” There are many factors that influence this: time; money; personal preference.
It is important to know that Pilates was developed as a system – and the system utilizes both mat and equipment to help master control of your own body using the body as well as working the muscles against the resistance of springs. Optimal benefits then would be to utilize the system of mat and equipment work together.
The equipment offers more of a variety and versatility than the mat, although the mat is portable and can be done anywhere.
In terms of cost, mat group classes are cheaper, however, I am thrilled to be introducing small Group Reformer classes this fall, 2016. The group reformer classes will be limited to 3 people so that each student receives individual attention, encouragement, and a tailored program. The group equipment classes will be 45 minutes in length and only a few dollars more than the group mat (please see the schedule for information on group classes). The equipment classes give people equal opportunity to work on the equipment at an affordable rate. It is also a wonderful opportunity to learn new and challenging movement patterns as well as focusing on any specific areas that need attention.
Benefits of Pilates:
- Increased Strength, Flexibility, Balance, and Control
- Balanced Muscular Development
- Optimal Joint Alignment
- Improved Posture and Breathing
- Improved Body Awareness, not only for the exercises, but also daily activities (sitting, standing, walking, etc.)
- Neuroplasticity of the brain (building new neural pathways for movement which is great for the brain)
- Overall Well-Being
“In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference, in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body” – Joseph H. Pilates (1881-1967)
Come experience the many benefits and profound results of Pilates. We offer small group Pilates Mat and Reformer Equipment classes, semi-private and private instruction.
In addition to the reformers, we also have the Pilates Chair, Cadillac/Reformer combo, Spine Corrector, and Small Arc Barrels.