What is Pilates?
Pilates was developed by a German man named Joseph Pilates. As a child, he was chronically ill, but he was determined to make himself healthy and strong. This set him on the path to becoming a body builder. He also studied anatomy and sampled as many types of exercises as he could and recorded the results. Not only did he study Western methods, but he studied the Eastern methods of yoga, tai-chi, and martial arts.
Although he was German, he was living in Britain at the time of World War I. The British interned him as a German alien, and this is where he began developing his method. Because of his knowledge of anatomy and exercise while interned, he began working as a nurse. This is where the Pilates method begins to take form. He began experimenting by attaching springs to the beds and developing exercises to help tone and heal the wounded soldiers. It was the beginning of our modern-day reformer. In 1923, Pilates moved to America where he opened his first studio in New York, where the first true reformers were used. These early reformers were shaped like sliding beds that used springs as resistance. His method was instantly a hit, especially among dancers such as George Balanchine and Isadora Duncan. Dancers found his method, which he initially called “Contrology,” to be the best way to recover from their injuries as well as prevent injuries from occurring. From there, popularity spread and the method evolved to where we are today.
Different types of Pilates
1. Polestar Pilates
This type of contemporary Pilates is specialising in physical therapy and rehabilitation. It is wonderful for people who suffer from various injuries (who doesn’t) and would like to restore full functionality of their body. It can greatly help everyone to gain more control over their bodies. Developed approximately 100 years ago by Joseph and Clara Pilates, Polestar involves enable precise movements that stretch and lengthen the muscles and strengthen the body’s core. It is believed to be very effective in quieting and focusing the mind.
2. Classical Pilates
Closest to the style envisioned by Joseph Pilates, it features the original series of movements performed in the correct order. While there are no variations in this form, some teachers might add advanced exercises to the class programme.
3. Stott Pilates
This is a contemporary form of Pilates that is slightly different from the traditional form in that it is designed to support and restore the spine’s natural curvature. Stott Pilates is focused on alignment and ‘placement’ of various parts of our body such as the shoulder blade (upper back) and cervical spine (neck), as well as pelvis, ribs (breathing), and head.
Pilates classes also build overall body strength, flexibility, and create lean muscle tone. The emphasis is on lengthening the body versus bulking and shortening the body. Through practicing Pilates you can expect overall slimming, increased flexibility, and improved mobility. You may also find that you become more in tune with your body. In terms of mental benefits, you may feel less stressed and more focused. Due to its low-impact nature, Pilates is for everyone across all walks of life. In addition, you can modify exercises to suit your practice. Because of this, it’s difficult to plateau in your practice. Pilates is truly a lifelong fitness regimen
There are two different kinds of Pilates classes: mat classes and reformer classes.
You’ll be tackling a class that’s based on either a mat, which is a tad thicker than your standard yoga mat, to cushion pressure points, or a machine called a reformer, which is a sliding platform complete with stationary foot bar, springs, and pulleys that provide resistance. Know which one you’re getting into before you commit to your workout.
Both options focus on the concept of control rather than cranking out endless reps or muscle exhaustion. In Pilates, your muscles are working to lift against gravity and (in the case of the reformer) the resistance of the springs or bands, with the ultimate goal of strengthening and isolating the right muscles. Your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus on the task at hand, and connect to your breath.
“The reformer experience is maybe the most fun you’ll have in a Pilates class,” says Heather Andersen, founder of New York Pilates. “The machine gives you added resistance and a sliding surface that challenges your workout. It often feels like you’re flying or gliding.”
There are also many Pilates-inspired workouts, like SLT, Brooklyn Bodyburn, and Studio MDR, that aren’t considered “classic” Pilates but offer many of the same benefits. These studios use a next-level reformer called a Megaformer, which is larger than a traditional reformer.
Regardless of what class you choose, make sure to let your instructor know you’re a beginner. This way, they’ll be able to keep an eye on you throughout the class and offer modifications or form adjustments.
How much is a Pilates class?
Mat classes are usually free with club membership. The average cost for private Pilates sessions is similar to personal training ($50 to $100 per session), although group reformer classes make equipment-based Pilates much more affordable.
Group reformer classes average around $20-30 a class, but can be lower. Many clubs offer a multiple-session package that greatly reduces the cost per class and attracts more members. In addition, group reformer sessions (4-10 participants) feel like semi-private classes. Participants get plenty of instructor attention—more bang for their buck than in other group classes.
And do your homework regarding your location. Learn what clubs in similar-sized markets charge (they are often willing to share this information to someone not competing in their local market), and what other facilities in your community offer. Then price your services competitively.
How to Find Pilates Classes Near You ?
Get a schedule from city hall or the university center. If your city offers adult or continuing education courses, you might be able to get a hard copy schedule from your city’s administrative offices. Local universities of community colleges should also have hard copies at the registration desk or in the university common area.
- Often, cities and local universities will offer more than one type of Pilates course, and they will offer them at different times and on different days. Check out your options and see what works for your schedule.
- If you’re a beginner at Pilates, shoot for one or two days a week. Anything more than that at the beginning might overwork your body.
- Make sure you register for your class by the deadline. Most adult/continuing education courses have a fall and spring registration deadline. The deadline should be listed in the manual or on your city’s website. To register, you can either register online or with a paper form that usually comes with the hardcopy schedule.
Visit your local gym. Some gyms list their class offerings on their websites, but not all of them do. Stop in your local gym and see what they offer. While you’re there, you can find out what sort of membership fees there are, and whether you can pay for classes individually.