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The Art of Contrology

pilates pike pose 08

What is the Pilates Method? (Written by Ana Santos, Pilates Method teacher)

The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th Century by Joseph Pilates. It is based on a set of principles and exercises engaging the mind (over 500 controlled exercises) which work the whole body in balance, coordinating the upper and lower musculature with the body’s center in order to re-align and strengthen the full body, as well as toning muscles and balancing muscular force at the joint level.

Joseph Pilates called the method The Art of Contrology, which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. What makes the Method different from other body conditioning systems is that it takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sport and daily activity. Therefore, Pilates is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without muscular bulk.

Based on proper breathing, good posture and intense concentration, the exercises are performed on a mat or with specially designed equipment and work several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion and with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core or “Power House” (the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region).

Focusing on breathing and support from deep within the abdomen, the practitioner develops a new way of standing and a more graceful way of moving “flowing motion outward from a strong center.”

As mentioned earlier, the regular practice of the Method stretches and strengthens the muscles uniformly resulting in long, sleek muscles rather than muscular bulk. In addition, by learning the proper stance and correct body alignment through the practice of Pilates, one soon feels and looks taller and leaner. Furthermore, as the focus in Pilates is on quality of movement rather than quantity, a Pilates session makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted.

As both a rehabilitation and a wellness program, Pilates is a wonderful complement to physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy and many other therapeutic or physical fitness systems.

Pilates exercises stimulate circulation through facilitating muscular flexibility, joint range of motion and proper musculoskeletal alignment. In addition, the Method promotes new neuromuscular patterns, heightened body awareness, and more precise coordination which help prevent future re-injury and reduce – even in some cases alleviate – chronic pain altogether.

In particular, Pilates is used to rehabilitate spine problems. The method strengthens, lengthens, and balances spinal musculature, thereby aligning and decompressing injured vertebrae and helping to relieve nerve and disc pressure. This decompression also facilitates and stimulates healthy circulation to the damaged spinal tissue. Furthermore, the pelvic and spinal stabilization work also helps prepare the body for rehabilitation of other weak or damaged areas more effectively.

The effects of practising the Pilates Method start to be noticed in the short term, there is no need to spend a long time working out at the Gym. As Joseph Pilates stated:”In ten sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty sessions you will see the difference, in thirty you’ll have a whole new body.”

The Pilates Method not only will teach you that your body, taken as a whole, is the best and unique tool for being in excellent physical shape and it will change the way in which you relate to your body and face life, but also Pilates will help you to feel that true strength is in your mind.

If you wish to enjoy the multiple benefits from the Pilates Method, Ana Santos offers weekly Pilates MAT classes in small groups, private and semi-private sessions in Ibiza island. Tuition is available in both ENGLISH and SPANISH.

If you wish to get information about times and rates, please get in touch with us by e-mail at cheryl@ibizaretreats.com or by telephone on +34 648 914 706.