The Pilates Method of body
conditioning, which strengthens both the body and mind, has been around
since the 1920s, but in just the past couple of years, interest in the
method has grown by leaps and bounds. As a result, so have the number of
instructors. But according to Kevin Bowen, co-founder of the Miami, Fla.,
based Pilates Method Alliance (PMA), the national not-for-profit trade
association of Pilates professionals, not all of them are qualified to
Make sure the Pilates studio, gym or health club you choose has at least
one comprehensively trained Pilates teacher on staff at all times when the
facility is open for business.
* If you choose a studio with Pilates equipment for private lessons, you
should receive a comprehensive physical assessment and initial training
session prior to beginning the Pilates program. The assessment should
include your personal fitness goals and medical history, including
injuries, plus a clear, measurable assessment of your muscular strengths,
weaknesses and imbalances.
* If you choose a group class with Pilates equipment, the PMA recommends
there be no more than six participants per comprehensively trained
instructor. Participants should receive physical assessments first, as
above, and constant supervision while using equipment. “Drop-ins” should
be prohibited without appropriate screening.
* For Pilates mat classes, the PMA recommends that no more than 10 to 12
participants are assigned to one comprehensively trained teacher. Classes
should be defined with appropriate levels for the clientele and should
include mandatory pre-screening for health related issues, as above.
Recently discovered by physical therapists, chiropractors and
orthopedists, The Pilates Method of body conditioning can also be
integrated into rehabilitative exercise and physical therapy programs
designed to speed recovery of soft tissue injuries.
The Pilates Method can be safely used by pregnant women to learn proper
breathing and body alignment, improve concentration, and recover body
shape and tone after pregnancy.
To ensure your comfort, wear cotton clothes - such as a T-shirt or tank
top and shorts - during practice. Shoes are not necessary. When you
perform the poses, every movement should be slow, but flexible and strong.
Since Pilates is commonly performed at a leisurely pace, you might want to
pair Pilates workouts with another more intense aerobic exercise - such as
swimming, running, cardio machines (elliptical, stepper or cross trainer)
or brisk walking to get your heart rate going.
Strengthens your immune system
Focus is on the body, so the mind releases negative thoughts
Unlike yoga, you are in a state of motion
Alleviates back pain
Streamlines and lengthens the body