Pacticing Pilates regularly brings gradual and positive changes to the body’s strength and flexibility, and enhances our sense of wellbeing too. Pilates improves our ‘core stability’, switching on the deep postural muscles that support and stabilise our skeletons. The Pilates student learns how to sense and activate these muscles, which form the basis to good posture, and then to remain aware of posture and alignment through flowing sequences of movement which form the practice of Pilates.
Time spent listening, sensing and responding to your body is relaxing and energising. As you become aware of how to align your spine and the muscles which support it you will stand taller, feel more mobile, more positive about your body. With regular practice you’ll learn the method and go on to develop full body strength and flexibilty. Pilates is a complete and holistic system of moving which can be adapted and modified to the needs of the individual.
A Lifetime’s Work Isn’t Learned In A Weekend
Joseph Pilates first published his booklet ‘Your Health’ in 1934, “a corrective system of exercising which revolutionises the entire field of physical education”. Ten years later his work ‘Return to Life Through Contrology’ was published, a systematic progressive exercise regime which has evolved into the movement method we now know as ‘Pilates’.
This little booklet outlines the basis of what we now call Matwork, although Joe had been training his students for many years before this using his apparatus, that we now know as the Reformer, the Cadillac , Wunda Chair and the Tower. Many don’t realise that Joe was teaching Reformer work long before the practice of Matwork evolved and that his New York gym was a studio full of specialist apparatus.
Although the “system of corrective exercises” was intended for all, to begin with many of the visitors to ‘Joe’s Gym’ were dancers and athletes. They found the work helped heal the injuries caused by habitual imbalanced movements that plague physical performers. Until the 1990’s, Pilates exercises were still mostly used by the dance community, a clientele who already had a high degree of physical ability.
Alan Herdman, a teacher with London Contemporary Dance was sent to New York to learn the method and bring it back to London to help dancers improve their strength and performance. Several of the dancers who trained with Alan at London Contemporary went on to start their own studios and then to train teachers. Michael King was one of these teachers, along with Gordon Thompson and Julian Littlewood. Alan continues to teach all around the world, as does Michael King, the founder of MK Pilates International. As well as a being a busy Pilates studio, York Pilates Space is a teacher training centre affiliated to MK Pilates International, founding members of the Society for the Pilates Method (SPM).