Principles of Pilates and its Benefits

Principles of Pilates and its Benefits

Pilates has become more and more popular in recent years, but it is often confused with Yoga.  If you are wondering what the main differences, what the main principles of Pilates are and how it can benefit you, please read on.

Firstly, one of the main differences between Pilates and Yoga, is in Yoga, you typically will putting yourself into a position, such as ‘The Plank’, and then holding that position for as long as possible.  With Pilates, there is more emphasis on breathing while making continual movements.  You could say that it is similar in some respects to Tai Chi.

Relaxation

The body will respond better to exercise if you are in a relaxed state.  If you are stiff then your muscles will not be able to move as freely, and you could even strain a muscle if you are not careful.  Take time before doing an exercise by doing some basic stretching and breathing exercises in preparation.

Breathing

Correct breathing is very important, and like Tai Chi, helps keeping the energy channels open and supplying oxygen to vital parts of the body.  When carrying out these exercises, it is important to keep a steady breathing pattern, as opposed to holding your breath.

Stability

Stability and balance is an important part of Pilates.  Basically, this allows you to move parts of your body, like your arms for example while you keep other parts of your body stationery.  This allows you to stretch and isolate muscles you might not normally use.

Centering

Many of the patterns preformed in Pilates involve you concentrating on your inner core, and being centralised.  With many of the exercises, you are pulling your stomach in and using your abdominal muscles, so it isn’t just one part of the body that is being used.  It is believed that energy flows from an area one inch below your belly button.

Concentration

This is something that has close ties to meditation, except you are not specifically going into a different state.  However, it is important to make sure that you shut everything else out, still your mind and concentrate on each exercise you are doing.  This is important to make sure you are doing the exercise correctly, you are getting all the benefits from it, and it will also have a therapeutic nature to it too.

Posture

Many of us have a bad posture when we are walking and sitting, without even realizing it.  Over a long period of time, this can lead to back ache and can even give you a hunched look in later life.

In Pilates, you are taught to have a constant awareness of your posture, which over time can even reverse problem you may have had.  Having the correct posture will also maintain healthy bone and muscle structure. Follow these principles of Pilates for the best results.