Joseph Pilates first called his method Contrology; he referred to it as ‘the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit’. This is why we practise Pilates movement exercises with total attention and control. Exercising in this way allows the body and mind to unite bringing forth the most gain possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow are key concepts that are used to integrate the body with the mind.
Unlike other forms of exercises, Pilates does not over-develop some parts of the body while neglecting the others. It is true that all Pilates exercises build on your core strength and focuses on training your body as an integrated whole. Pilates works to promote strength and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for the joints.
Pilates is a great foundation for all movements, including those in sports as well as those in daily activities. With its emphasis on core support and full-body fitness, the coordination of the mind with its breathing; Pilates provides the highest level of integrative fitness that is exceptional and extraordinary.
For starters, try the Pilates exercises listed here for specific needs that you may have. Practise them thrice a week, pair them with a sensible diet and expect to see dramatic results from the fourth week.
To improve your posture:
Swan Lie on the mat face down, keep your arms close to your body as you bend your elbows to bring your hands under your shoulders. Extend your shoulders away from the ears. Keep your legs together as you engage your abdominal muscles, lifting your belly button up and away from the mat. As you inhale, lengthen your spine, sending energy through the top of your head as you press your forearms and hands into the mat to support a long upward arc of the upper body. The elbows are close to the body, the head stays in line with the spine, and the hips stay on the mat. On the exhale, release the arc, lengthening your spine as your torso returns to the mat in a sequential way (low-belly, mid-belly, low-ribs until you are in prone position again). Repeat 6 times.
To look taller:
Spine Stretch Sit up tall on your sit bones, extend your legs about shoulder-width apart, flex your feet. Reach the top of your head to the ceiling as your shoulders stay relaxed. Inhale and extend your arms out in front of you, shoulder height. Exhale as you lengthen your spine to curve forward. You are going for a deep C-curve reaching as far forward with your arms as is comfortable. Keep your shoulders down as you reach your fingertips toward your toes. Initiate your return by using the lower abdominals to bring the pelvis upright. Roll up through the spine to sitting position. Repeat 6 times.
To achieve a smaller waistline:
The Plank Lie face down with legs extended, forearms resting on the mat shoulder-width apart, hands in fists. Tighten abs, tuck toes under and lift hips off the mat so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing normally and then lower to start. Rest before repeating 3 more times.
Criss Cross Lie back with your knees bent, fingers laced behind your head. Lift your shoulder blades off the mat and exhale to twist your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend right leg out as shown. Pause at the inhale and then exhale to twist to the other side. Work up to 15 reps on each side.
To lift your butt:
Single Leg Drops Lie on one side in a straight line with the bottom arm supporting your head up. The top arm is bent with hand placed on the mat. Keep your pelvis in a perpendicular line to the mat. Lift your top leg to hip height and flex your foot as you point your toes towards the mat in front. Imagine your big toe is touching a hot stove on the mat so you don’t want to stay there long. As soon as the toe taps the mat, it lifts off the mat again with the heel of foot reaching to the ceiling. Stay stable and square in the hips as you tap and lift your toes for 25 times without stopping. Breathe normally.
Pilates works on all your primary concerns as it strengthens your core. Almost instantly, you will appear a couple years younger, stand taller and look lighter! Expect also to be looking more poised and moving more gracefully in your every day movements. People will be coming up to you to ask for your new-found secret!
🙂 🙂 🙂