We ask Studio One – What is Pilates

What is PilatesWhat is Pilates?

At the studio we always get asked the question ‘what is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?’

It’s a question that we’ve answered many times over the past 8 years. Along with gymnastics, boxing and martial arts, Joseph Pilates was influenced by some of the principals of yoga when developing the Pilates technique these include focus on breath, flexibility and connecting the mind and body to achieve balance and control.

“In order to achieve happiness, it is imperative to gain mastery of your body” Joseph Pilates

Pilates was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates who as an adult was an avid skier, diver, gymnast and boxer. It was at the outbreak of World War 1 that Joseph developed his method using springs fixed to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise, an innovation that led to his later design of the equipment.

Pilates is based around a series of low impact conditioning movements, improving posture, mobility, and flexibility of the spine. It helps to develop lean muscles without adding bulk, which is a thumbs up, and is wonderful for relaxation and stress relief, which we know helps us to stay looking youthful. Yes please!!!

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Pilates focuses on creating balance throughout the musculoskeletal system by using small movements to isolate specific muscle groups, as opposed to yoga that involves larger movements designed to unblock the chakras and meridians of the body. Whilst both practises involve and element of meditation, there is less of a focus on spirituality in Pilates.

The main difference between Yoga and Pilates is the use of the Pilates equipment, these include the reformer, Cadillac and Wunda Chair. The equipment is based around a set of springs attached to a large frame.

what is pilatesThe springs are designed to support the body to allow for larger ranges of movement that may not be possible when having to work against the weight of the body, whilst also to providing extra resistance to challenge the body’s strength and stability.

Not only does the equipment help build long lean muscle, but it is perfect for aiding joint rehabilitation and building bone density which is especially important for those suffering with osteoporosis.

Joseph Pilates originally started with the equipment and then later went on to develop the Pilates Mat repertoire to allow the technique to become more accessible to people and to allow for home practice.

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young ” Joseph Pilates

Pilates is accessible to everyone, no matter your age or ability. Pilates can be used for pure fitness, rehabilitation and can be combined along side any sports to support and enhance performance. We see dancers, runners, golf players, tennis and squash fans and they all say it helps to improve their strength and range of movement. The immediate effects of Pilates are improved posture, relaxing tense muscles and renewed energy. All of which will help make you look younger and full of vitality. So check out your nearest Pilates studio and book your first class or come along and meet us at Studio One in Tunbridge Wells.


Helen and Stephanie x

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