The Pilates method is a form of exercise originally called Contrology developed by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967). He was a sickly child but his parents encouraged him to exercise and his health dramatically improved. As he matured he began to recognise the importance of physical fitness. He devised his own personal exercise plan which combined gymnastics, yoga and martial arts and saw his body strengthen.
When he was interned, on the Isle of Man during the War as a German national, he developed exercise regimes for his fellow internees. He devised ways to enable bed bound patients to exercise by using bedsprings from the beds and attaching them to the walls above the beds allowing his patients to strengthen and mobilise while lying on their beds. Joseph was also convinced that his technique improved the immune system as he lost none of his fellow internees to the 1918 flu epidemic that killed more people than the War did !
Joseph moved to New York in 1926 and set up his first fitness studio where his technique was favoured by ballet dancers and athletes who found it an effective way to strengthening their bodies but also for preventing and treating any injuries.
Today, we have the medical knowledge and understanding to back up his techniques and Pilates has become a core part of the training of dancers and athletes. It is also widely supported by medical specialists as being beneficial in the treatment and prevention of back pain making it a popular choice with a large percentage of the population who are seeking to improve their health, posture and wellbeing.
Pilates focuses on eight principles of control, breathing, centring, precision, movement, isolation, concentration and routine. By combining these with specific exercises you will see your body change and your health improve.
You will have to fill out a medical questionnaire (PARQ) before starting any exercise to ensure that a group exercise situation is right for you and to enable exercises to be adapted for any individual health problems you may have. You will be invited to a free trial class before you commit to a full course of lessons. Before your first class, Jill will go over some of the Pilates principles with you. These will mainly be how to find neutral spine, the Pilates breathing technique and how to activate your core muscles. At times you may be given alternative exercises to do, depending on the information gained from your PARQ. All the equipment you need is provided but if you prefer your own mat or blocks then please feel free to bring them with you. Classes are done in either bare feet or socks and comfortable clothing. If possible, try to wear a fitted top as it is easier to see if you are in neutral or not!