Pilates is a form of exercise that aims to strengthen your entire body evenly while paying particular emphasis on core strength. The cornerstone to this exercise is to rebalance the muscles around the joints and improve general fitness and wellbeing. These exercises can be done on the mat or on specialised equipment, such as the Reformer, the Cadillac, Stability Chair and the Barrels.
The late German-born Joseph Hubertus Pilates. This clever man developed the Pilates method of exercise and, ahead of his time, believed mental and physical health were closely interconnected. His original method of body conditioning was originally called Contrology, “a complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” (Pilates, Miller. 2000, p9).
“It is only through ‘Contrology’ that this unique trinity of a balanced body, mind and spirit can be ever attained ” (Pilates, Miller. 2000, p23).
Everyone can benefit from Pilates exercise. People from all walks of life, ages, levels and fitness backgrounds practise Pilates regularly. In addition, preparatory exercises and modifications allow the technique to be appropriate for many different body types and abilities, making it applicable to sport-specific training and everyday life.
Specialised Pilates equipment can help provide support for those with injuries or medical conditions. In addition, the resistance from the apparatus can help challenge anyone’s body.
Although Joseph Pilates was ahead of his time, he believed that the normal spine should be straight (Pilates 2000, p148). In contrast, we now know that the spine should have 4 natural curvatures for best shock absorption.
Furthermore, since the death of Joseph Pilates on 9 October 1967, new information in anatomy, exercise, sports medicine and physical therapy has become available. As a result, updated, contemporary approaches to the Pilates original method have also become widely accepted today.
There are numberless accounts on the health benefits of Pilates practice. Although, to this date not enough conclusive research has been published specifically on the entire Pilates method itself, lots of positive research is arising on specific Pilates exercises.
Practitioners of the method advocate the benefits of Pilates to improve posture, muscle tone, balance the muscles around the joints, improve mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. Certainly, elite athletes, including dancers and footballers practise Pilates regularly in order to compliment their training. Even more, their aim is to develop whole-body strength and flexibility and help reduce the risk of injury.
This type of exercise is low-impact, so injuries are not very common. However, we strongly recommend that you chose a qualified instructor and a class that suits your level of fitness and abilities.
We advise you to consult with your GP or relevant healthcare professional on the suitability of certain exercises or movements before you start Pilates. Furthermore, if you suffer from osteoporosis or an acute lumbar herniation with neurological symptoms, spinal flexion is an absolute contraindication.
Core Kensington’s instructors are fully certified in STOTT PILATES® and overseen by a registered osteopath. We highly recommend that you book a one-on-one assessment before any group class if you have any concerns regarding your injury.
Yoga is a group of ancient physical, spiritual and mental disciplines, and modern yoga is a physical activity comprised mainly of asanas. The asanas are body postures or balancing postures typically ending with a period of meditation or relaxation. In contrast, Pilates is a full body workout that does not involve meditation and does not hold positions or poses. The workout is inspired in various disciplines including yoga, gymnastics, ballet dance and athletic sports. Above all, it places more emphasis on the muscles of the core musculature. Moreover, contemporary Pilates methods are anatomically based, making it relevant to rehabilitation and sports therapy.
STOTT PILATES® incorporates modern exercise principles, and applies proven and accepted practices in bio mechanics, rehabilitation and athletic performance enhancement. Co-founders Lindsay and Moira Merrithew dissected and re-connected this unique form of exercise after realising the benefits of the concepts of the original Pilates method. So, in collaboration with a team of physical therapists/physiotherapists, sports medicine and exercise professionals they developed a comprehensive, systematic, contemporary approach to the original teachings.
Above all, these exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and re balance the muscles around the joints. Consequently, placing more emphasis on pelvic and scapular stabilisation, and integration of all the parts of the body into one.
We teach the following Five Basic Principles, which form the foundation of the method we use. The following bio mechanical principles will ensure the realisation of maximum benefits from Pilates exercises:
• Pelvic placement
• Rib cage placement
• Scapular movement
• Head & cervical spine placement
Download a PDF explaining the five basic principles of STOTT PILATES®
Content© Merrithew Corporation, used with permission.
Pilates, J.H. & Miller, W.J., 2000. A Pilates’ Primer: The Millenium Edition : Includes the Complete Works of Joseph Pilates, Presentation Dynamics. Available at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=rmPbAAAACAAJ.