WHAT IS PILATES?
Joseph H. Pilates invented a uniquely effective and efficient system called CONTROLOGY early in the 1900's. Today we call it PILATES. It is probably one of the most effective ways to stay healthy and fit in MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT simultaneously.
It is designed to keep your body structure strong enough to resist the forces of gravity which is constantly pushing down on us, a normal part of the aging process.
But here is where Pilates comes in...We take everything we do while in class on the mat or on the equipment and bring it into our lives, so that as I sit here typing I am practicing Pilates breathing as well as performing a postural assessment every few seconds which keeps my skeleton centered and my core muscles firing constantly.
Think about it for a minute. How are you sitting and breathing right now, while you're reading this?
Most probably (unless you're already a Pilates practioner) you found yourself slumped forward with rounded shoulders, a forward-leaning head, lax abs, all your weight bearing down on your hips...and you are probably not even thinking about how you are breathing!
But, once you begin practicing Pilates on a regular basis you will become aware of how you can incorporate the breathing and postural principles into your everyday life, thus increasing your ability to counteract the aging process; while replenishing all the cells in your body with 3 times the oxygen as you learn to use your entire lung capacity.
The practice of Pilates on a regular basis (2 - 3 times per week) has the capacity to rehabilitate all bodies in terms of bringing the musculoskeletal systems into alignment while strengthening the CORE muscles (Internal Support System) and increasing flexibility throughout the spine (the inside part which faces the organs as well as the outer part which we feel as it faces the skin).
The pelvic bowl holds the essence of our being. It is the eternal spring of energy. It is the intersection of human anatomy and the metaphysical. In the study of Pilates, it is the POWERHOUSE!
Dr. Arnold Kegel, innovator of the exercises that bear his name (which involve contracting, holding, and releasing the muscles of the pelvic floor) recognized the importance of these muscles and their development. He taught that training the pelvic floor can help prevent and cure urinary incontinence and improve sexual function and satisfaction.
The muscles of the pelvic floor include the coccygeus, the iliococcygeus, and the pubococcygeus and for optimal function and recruitment of these muscles, they are integrated into the entire Pilates program.
Luckily, when the transverse abdominis muscle contracts, as it does throughout the entire Pilates session, so do the pelvic floor muscles.
In closing, a well-conditioned pelvic floor supports the internal organs and viscera and provides added support for women during pregnancy.
It also assists in preventing or overcoming urinary incontinence and contributes to heightened sexual function and satisfaction.
Actively working the pelvic floor, especially the coccygeus, influences the positioning of the sacrum and may help relieve or prevent lower back pain.
Finally, the pelvic floor ris fundamentally important for core strength and stabilization.