Pilates is a balanced form of exercise using precise controlled body movements originally
designed by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967). He combined aspects of diverse forms of fitness
including yoga, gymnastics, dance, circus training and weight training to achieve
the perfect balance of strength and flexibility. Joseph Pilates believed that mental
and physical health are inter-related and this philosophy is still at the very core
of Pilates teaching.
Pilates is particularly recommended by medical experts, physiotherapists and sports
therapists. It works by rebalancing the body, improving muscle tone, core stability,
flexibility and posture. The movements practised in Pilates are slow and controlled,
training both your mind and your body to work together. This gives longer-term physical
results and benefits and also relieves stress and promotes a feeling of well-being.
'Classical' and 'Modern' Pilates
Today, Pilates can be found in 'classical/traditional' and 'contemporary/modern'
forms. Classical/traditional Pilates stays close to Joseph Pilates's original work
and uses movements and equipment to his specifications. Contemporary/modern Pilates
breaks the method down into various parts, still based on the original Pilates theory
and philosophy, but including modern physiotherapy and sports science to provide
a more clinical approach to the original method. Because of its clinical content,
contemporary/modern Pilates is usually considered more beneficial for remedial/rehabilitation
and specialist groups, such as older adults, clients with specific medical conditions,
and sports injuries.