I was introduced to Pilates 20 years ago while living overseas in Southeast Asia. The balancing effect experienced in my mind and body kept me coming back for more, and I couldn’t get enough of the ever-evolving physical challenges. It was exciting to be building such new layers of strength! Eventually, through the healing of a few non-related injuries with the progression of my practice, Pilates took a significant place in my heart. It helped me return to life. For the first time, I felt the healing properties of movement and breath through the integration of my mind, body and spirit. Even now as an instructor, my practice continues to deepen my understanding of myself, my attitude, and how I move through my life.
Pilates can be utilized in a multitude of ways. It can be post-rehabilitation or exercise for those that aren’t normally able to. It can be performance enhancement for an athlete or even an all-ages friendly workout. Like life itself, Pilates is adaptable and ever-changing but has one goal in mind---creating balance through freedom of movement. From the first session onward, we work towards building a strong foundation to experience that ideal balance---establishing postural alignment, strengthening the core, creating focus in the mind and linking breath with movement to explore flow and harmony.
But, what exactly is Pilates? Pilates is a well-designed system of over 500 movements that work with resistance to initiate the body’s core. The practice can be done on a mat or on one of the spring-tension designed apparatuses. Mat Pilates is ideal for beginners as it establishes foundational principles and consists of a sequence of fluid movements using one’s own body weight for resistance. Equipment Based Pilates (EBP) employs a combination of different apparatuses utilizing spring tension for resistance and allows the body to strengthen and stretch simultaneously. Both Mat and EBP can be progressed to more advanced levels and variations as required by the individual practitioner. As far as choosing between Mat or EBP, remember Pilates is about Balance. The system was designed to include both disciplines for a holistic practice.
An individual’s dedicated practice and the design of the system is the right combination Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) envisioned for practitioners to achieve health and wellness goals, whether functional or athletic. His system, called Contrology, has evolved into what we now know as Pilates. His life’s work was to someday have everyone practicing his method. Not for fame, but for balance in one’s life--- physically, mentally and spiritually.
“Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures,
restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.”
~Malia Ridgway, Stott Certified Pilates, TRX and AntiGravity® Instructor