A Bit On J. Pilates and Why I Love Mind-Body Exercise

February 2, 2012

Most of this is from a previous post that I have since deleted, not for any other reason than it simply would not transfer. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. If you haven’t tried Pilates, get into a mat class! It’s the best way to begin learning how to strengthen  your core and develop long, lean muscles.

 

***

‘In explaining Contrology’s guiding principle, Pilates liked to quote Schiller: “It is the mind itself which builds the body.”‘ (Site here.)

 

I am a Pilates instructor with a very deep love of this type of exercise. I began it my final semester in college, and continued to do it most of the time for the next two years afterwards, until I became certified in 2008. I love it, and I believe Pilates can help anyone achieve a better state of being, physically, mentally and, yes, even emotionally. I find Pilates calming, relaxing, and as my students know very well, there is hardly a class I can get through without a yawn or two 😉

 

Joseph Pilates with a student on a barrel, one of the contraptions he devised. Photo linked to website containing rare footage and more information on the founder. (I. C. Rapoport; please do not steal or copy. Thank you.)

A bit of history: Joseph Pilates was a sickly child who needed ambulatory exercises developed by his German doctors to aid him in gaining enough strength to get out of bed. By the time he was 14, he was so physically fit, he posed for anatomical charts. During WWI, he and many other Germans were interned in concentration camps in England; there, he aided camp physicians by working with non-ambulatory patients, and was credited with the wellness of the camp’s inmates (and, perhaps, others) when an outbreak of influenza struck the nation. After the war, he moved to the States, where his exercise techniques were quickly embraced by several dance companies. Today, Pilates is affected by dance as much as dance is affected by Pilates.

 

Perhaps this is a reason why I love Pilates so much. I enjoy movement. There is freedom in its movements. Pilates isn’t limited to the original exercises Joseph devised to help his patients strengthen themselves so they could live a quality life.  So that they could help themselves, as he had done from his youth. It is movement done with the correct anatomical position kept in mind. It focuses on strength, yes, but equally as importantly are concentration, control, fluidity of motion, and posture–a big one many of us today struggle with in our largely sedentary lifestyles.

 

The focus on the breath, a vital part of life, aids the body in numerous ways, including detoxification, increased circulation, and increased oxygen to muscles and the brain. Without the breath, we are…nothing. What amazes me more is how many people forget to breathe throughout the day. (Take a moment. Check yourself. Are you breathing? If so, how deeply? If not, well you better start :))

 

I also love movement. I am not a sedentary, stationary person. As proven this past week with my knee injury, I despise being told to stay still. I need to move, and Pilates has helped me overcome the challenges imposed upon me (for my own benefits) by the doctor. It gets me off my rear end. It awakens me, enlivens me, makes me ready for the day, and keeps me cheerful.

 

This is part of the reason why I teach several times  a week, but a small reason at best. Mostly, I teach so often because I love it, and I want others to enjoy it as well, finding happiness in a few moments when they can concentrate on healing and wellbeing.

 

For Pilates does this as well.

 

Perhaps this is why Joseph is quoted to have said, “My work is 50 years ahead of its time.”

 

For more information on Pilates, see here.

Advertisements

5 Responses to “A Bit On J. Pilates and Why I Love Mind-Body Exercise”

  1. […] is because they begin to develop their core muscles, the most integral part of one’s body. Joseph Pilates said that the core is responsible for holding you erect, protecting your pelvis and lower back, […]

  2. […] been a while since I wrote about Pilates, but as it was my first venture into mind-body fitness and I promised myself I’d become an […]

  3. […] in your body, making you strong and and your movements efficiently powerful. This is something that Joseph Pilates discovered over a lifetime of studying movement, which fed his understanding of the body, body […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: