You may feel you've only heard about Pilates recently, but it's actually been around for almost a century! It was originally invented to make the body stronger and more flexible, particularly by improving posture. If you're feeling stressed, a bit overwhelmed by all your everyday commitments and rushed off your feet trying to finish work on time so you can get back home to the kids, Pilates may be what you need for a bit of me-time and focusing on your well-being!
1. Shape your Movements
Pilates revolves around six defining principles.
If you decide to go to a class, your instructor will no doubt ask you to perform your movements slowly and without rushing. It is this control, precision and flows that make up three of the six key Pilates principles.
"In Pilates, we're really looking for quality of movement," says Anaïs Sauvage, a sports instructor and manager of the “Sportons-nous bien” gym. Pilates is also an activity that requires you to adopt the right positions in order to work effectively. Time is therefore spent working on centring, the fourth principle, by doing broad movements with a well-aligned spine. By performing these movements very precisely, you'll notice the difference in your everyday life when you walk, sit down or stand up, as they'll help you to have better posture.
2. The Secret Weapon - Breathing
One of the key parts of Pilates that you don't always find in other activities is the connection between movement and breathing. It's a way of flexing your muscles in a different, more intense manner. "Thanks to Pilates, and this coordination between your breathing and your actions, you'll be able to work your muscles more deeply," Anaïs tells us. "It means using the tissues and ligaments deep inside your body through the motion of breathing in and out. As you pull your stomach in, for example, this engages deep muscle groups that may not be used when you do classic abdominal exercises.
The fact that you're coordinating the rhythm of your breathing to your movements requires a lot of concentration." This concentration is the sixth principle of Pilates!
As you've seen, the Pilates method is subtle and doesn't simply string together movements. On the contrary, it requires real breathing control when performing the exercise. But with a bit of practice, nothing is impossible! So, ready to get going?
Accessories for gentle exercises, such as gentle gym or the Pilates method, are anything but futile. They are very useful for everyone, irrespective of their level. They make the exercises easier, improve posture or add extra difficulty to training in order to make progress.