Developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, pilates was first used to rehabilitate soldiers returning from war. Since then, the pilates method has been used to strengthen the core, align the spine, and strengthen and lengthen muscles. While Joseph Pilates’ original vision has been preserved, pilates appears today in other variations as well. Pilates is practiced either using specially designed apparatus, or on the mat. Pilates at Exhale Studio offers mat classes both with props and without, and yoga/pilates fusion. Pilates centres on proper breathing as participants follow a series of controlled movements, performed in sets. After a short warm-up, most pilates moves are performed on the floor, sometimes using weights, bands, or other resistance props. Instructors direct participants to concentrate on breathing and the contraction of core muscles, controlling each movement with the intention of quality, not quantity.
Joseph Pilates vision was to unite the mind, body and spirit; something he called “Contrology.” This objective heightens body awareness and can improve performance in other activities. One of the primary benefits of pilates is increased core strength, which in turn improves posture, balance, and spinal support, and helps to prevent injury. Other benefits of pilates include flexibility, elongated muscles, and improved muscle tone. Regular practice of pilates while focusing on correct form can increase strength and flexibility, and result in a longer, leaner body.
Pilates is open to all levels unless otherwise indicated. Modifications are given to accommodate every level, from beginner to advanced. Pilates students are encouraged to push themselves without compromising technique, thus instructors offer various options according to each person’s ability.
Although pilates is low impact, as with any activity, pilates participants should listen to their body and be careful not to push their personal limits. Be sure to advise your instructor of any injuries prior to class, and any discomfort you may experience during.
Classes begin promptly so please arrive 10 minutes early to change and sign in. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in – such as yoga pants or shorts and a t-shirt or tank top – and bare feet. Pilates mats and props are provided for free.