Pilates 101

Pilates is named after its developer, the German-born Joseph Pilates. He created Pilates as a new approach to exercise and body-conditioning in the 1920s. He brought the method to both America and Britain, where it has since spread further across the globe, including Australia.

Joseph Pilates was an avid exerciser after growing up as a sickly child. He was determined to be strong and fit so took up many forms of movement. Not only was he dedicated to his activity, but he also studied other humans and animals – carefully recording the results and his analysis.

As a German immigrant in Britain during World War One he was interned as an enemy alien. It was during this time he worked as a nurse and begun to attach springs to patients’ beds and to instruct them on movements using the resistance and tension of the springs to strengthen and tone muscles. We can think of this is an early version of the Pilates reformer machine!

After the end of the war, Pilates moved to America where he opened his first studio with his wife Clara. His method became popular with ballet dancers such as the famous George Balanchine. After his initial success on the dance scene, the technique began to make its way to a broader audience.

As we now know, Pilates (the practice) has now made its way across the world and we consider ourselves lucky to teach students of the method and to train the next generation of Pilates teachers.

The principles of Pilates

Joseph Pilates developed six core principles of Pilates which we still follow today.

To realise the benefits of Pilates, it is crucial you bring full attention to the exercise as well do it with commitment. Focus on your entire body to ensure smooth, clean and technically-sound movements.

The perfect accompaniment to concentration is control. Making each movement conscious, deliberate and controlled.

The movements of Pilates begin from the centre of the body, the powerhouse, which includes your abdominals, back, glutes and inner thighs.

Pilates exercises have a fluidity of movement. The ‘flowing’ between movements (transitions) may look graceful, but its intended purpose is to build strength and stamina.

Pilates is about quality over quantity. Each movement is designed to be performed with proper alignment, placement and trajectory.

In Pilates, breath is married with movement making breathing an integral part of the practice. Generally, you’ll find that the out breath focuses on the effort and the in breath on the return. A good teacher will cue your breath and eventually it will become second nature.

Are you a Pilates enthusiast that’s ready to make the next step?

At the Essence of Living Academy, we are committed to producing the most outstanding Pilates teachers. Our Pilates teachers are trained in the latest techniques, with a focus on providing the best support for students. Essence of Living Pilates teachers are well respected and sought after within the Pilates industry.

Our next training course takes place in the Gold Coast hinterland in July. Find out more and secure your spot here.