The Magic of Pilates

When I attended my first Pilates class five years ago, I was super nervous. The equipment was daunting, I had no clue what any of the pieces were for, and I was afraid of looking like an idiot and holding the class up while I figured it all out. Thankfully, I had a great instructor who was extremely patient and showed me how to use each piece of large equipment while simultaneously explaining the benefits. Thankfully I overcame my fear of Pilates, and I was immediately hooked. I have been an active participant ever since.

What is Pilates?

Pilates or Contrology, is an exercise system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Plagued as a child by asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever, Joseph Pilates dedicated his entire life to studying and practicing ways to improve his physical strength. As an adult he became an avid skier, diver, gymnast and boxer.

Joseph Pilates became enamoured by the classical Greek ideal of man who was balanced in body, mind and spirit.  At the outbreak of WWI while working as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man, Pilates would spend time refining his ideas and train other orderly’s in his system of exercise. Trying to help patients unable to walk, would attach bed springs to the hospital beds to help support the patients’ limbs enabling them to exercise against resistance. This innovation is what led to his future equipment designs.  

Pilates based his work on three principles: breath, whole-body health, and whole-body commitment.

The Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is a low-impact, whole-body exercise practice, designed to create long, strong muscles, improve flexibility and endurance, and enhance mobility and postural alignment. With an emphasis on core strength and function, Pilates balances the body and enables quicker reaction time outside of class to help prevent future injuries. Pilates stresses good posture and body awareness and teaches the importance of being mindful of head, neck, spine and pelvis positioning both while attending a Pilates class, as well as outside the studio during everyday life.

Pilates is generally separated into two categories: mat - exercises that use a mat; and - exercises that use special, or reformer, equipment. Smaller pieces of equipment are often used during mat workouts to add resistance or develop balance, (dumbbells, resistance bands, foam rollers, therapy balls, Pilates magic circle, or ring, and different sizes of exercise balls). Larger equipment includes the tower, the Cadillac, Pilates chair, ladder barrel, and the reformer, which is probably the best-known piece of equipment.

Regardless of what form of Pilates you practice, movements are slow, continuous, and precise transitions that seamlessly flow.

During a Pilates class, the importance of breathing deeply and deliberately is constantly reiterated. Joseph Pilates felt that breathing was the most integral part of exercise, and participants are encouraged to take deep, controlled breaths. Deep diaphragmatic breathing helps blood circulate and stimulates cells and muscles and will allow the body to function optimally from the inside out.

“Breathing is the first act of life, and the last….above all, learn how to breathe correctly.” 
Joseph Pilates 

I have always been blown away by the range in ages of the participants. At my very first class, one of the participants was an 88-year-old man who stood straight as a rail. He had been an active Pilates participant for two decades and performed the Pilates sequences and exercises with more control than most of us decades younger. Pregnant women can also attend Pilates classes and most studios allow anyone over the age of 16. Be sure to check however with your studio for any age restrictions.

It is good to start with a beginner class to help you learn the basics. Your instructor will show you how to properly do the motions and control your movements to avoid strain to the back and joints. It is important to go slowly and focus on the mind-body connection, which will help bring awareness to your body.

The Pilates technique is accessible to almost everyone!  Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, you will benefit from moving your body with ease, function, and grace.


Previous Article


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Join Our Community

Receive exclusive wellness + advocacy resources to support your journey


Follow Us

Popular Posts

you might also enjoy

Have you been told you have low iron?

Iron deficiency anemia affects 1.2 billion individuals worldwide, and iron deficiency in the absence of anemia is even more common.  Knowing so many people suffer from this deficiency, it's important to increase your awareness and stay in tune with your body so that you can make simple adjustments to avoid any lasting impact.

you might also enjoy

My Path To Homeopathy

Thus began my quest to immerse myself in learning everything I could about alternative health. I read every book I could get my hands on, and started an enlightening journey with a myriad of alternative health treatments and modalities. I've written a lot about my initial journey into wellness and many of those alternative health treatments. Each one taught me something and informed my understanding of whole health. 

you might also enjoy

Tissue Salt #11 - Sodium Sulfate

Sodium Sulfate or Nat Sulph is a water eliminator and a deficiency of Nat Sulph will lead to an excess of water. Nat Phos which we discussed earlier, is a water distributor and these two tissue salts work well together. Nat Sulph is extremely effective in treating malarial fever as it helps remove the excess water from the blood which is where the malaria bacteria breeds. 

you might also enjoy

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is considered a chronic inflammatory condition that affects hormone levels. The ovaries are responsible for producing androgen hormones, and when androgens are produced at optimal levels, follicles remain healthy leading to a normal ovulatory process.

you might also enjoy

Deciphering Food Labels

Label reading can be daunting. And time consuming. But I promise that deciphering the ingredients on labels is well worth it to make sure the healthy meals you're cooking aren't sabotaged by ingredients from canned, boxed or jarred goods.

you might also enjoy

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. A Review.

Are you a mouthbreather or do you breathe through your nose? Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nester sheds light on why we should only be nose breathers. Humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences. 

Recently Viewed