‘Return to Life… Through Contrology’ is the title of Joseph Pilates’ book, published 1945. He named his unique 34 mat work and equipment exercises, Contrology, which reflect his 8 Principles of what we commonly call, Pilates. The 8 Principles of Pilates are ‘BBCCCCFR’, specifically;
1. BALANCE – Moving with sound stability
2. BREATHING – Inhaling and exhaling correctly during each exercise to maximise benefits
3. CENTRING – Use of the core muscles; the stomach, back, thighs and glutes, to effect movement
4. COORDINATION – The ability to perform opposite movements at the same time!
5. CONCENTRATION – Moving mindfully, with focus and considered thought
6. CONTROL – Moving with accuracy and in alignment
7. FLUIDITY – Being able to move smoothly at the correct pace
8. REPETITION – Repeating the moves of the exercise to improve effectiveness and benefits
Each Pilates Principle has great power; the power to restore aching muscles, improve tightness in joints, enhance flexibility and increase muscle strength. Applying all 8 Principles whilst practising all 34 mat work exercises is incredibly effective. Joseph Pilates originally stated that if a person were to perform the 34 exercises 4 times a week for 3 months, they would be near to having the ideal body. Pilates said, “You’ll feel better after 10 sessions, look better after 20 sessions and have a completely new body after 30 sessions.”
Practising Pilates regularly can give you a body that is finely tuned in harmony with the mind, a body able to control movements effectively, with minimum effort and maximum pleasure! Each of the 34 Pilates exercises are attainable for virtually all levels of fitness and as an experienced Level III Pilates Instructor, of over 17 years now, adaptations can be made to suit and accommodate many issues within a group exercise class at a venue and on Zoom. Pilates is such an INCLUSIVE form of exercise which is why I love it so.
So, as the UK continues to move along the Spring Roadmap out of Lockdown, with England on track to reach step 3 this month and a return to the Rule of 6 or 2 households meeting indoors, it is important to make those tentative steps back to life and resume living properly again. We have all missed doing so many of the things we love and getting to this next step will be fantastic!
As we become more active and social again, we need to be ever mindful of our health and continue to look after it. Lockdown taught us all to take life a bit slower, stop and smell the roses and appreciate the simple things more. Being busy is good for us and our mental health but being TOO busy can easily ramp up the stress levels. Stress can often be silent and not visually obvious, so make sure you manage and keep silent stress levels down. Pilates offers the balance of exercising both body and mind, creating an escape and space for you, to just be you. All other thoughts are pushed from your mind during each exercise, as you take valuable and deserved time out for yourself and your body.
So, whether you are returning to work, travelling more or starting projects put on hold, remember to continue to look after you with Pilates; at a venue, on Zoom, at your convenience!