Pilates Illustration

About Pilates

Why Pilates?

Pilates is good for everybody whatever your age!  It addresses all the issues of a typical modern lifestyle where we may find we are busier, work long hours, huddle over computers and laptops and have less time for ourselves. As a low-impact exercise method, Pilates is also especially suitable for the older person, a perfect source of exercise during and after pregnancy, as well as being excellent for anyone just wishing to return to fitness. It is often recommended by health professionals to people suffering with back pain or stiffness in the joints, as well as those with weak abdominal muscles, poor posture, or recovering from injuries.

What does Pilates do?

The benefits are many! It strengthens the body in an even way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing. It is a low impact yet highly effective form of exercise, which is performed with precision and control, not only developing greater strength, but also reducing the risk of injury. Unlike other forms of exercise it does not over develop some parts of the body and neglect others, training the body as an integrated whole, promoting balanced muscle development, as well as flexibility and increased mobility in the joints. If you would like to lose weight, Pilates is absolutely ideal to combine with a healthy diet and some aerobic activities, such as swimming, walking or cycling.

How does it work?

Pilates is performed with precision and control, not only developing greater strength, but also reducing the risk of injury. This allows you to focus on the correct technique so that you can improve any areas that may need special attention, improving your overall body alignment and reducing any imbalances. You will find that there is focus on mindfulness and concentration to help you to correct any movement patterns that may be putting stress on your back and joints, and a structure to classes that are designed to develop and maintain a healthy spine. A healthy spine is one that can move comfortably in extension, flexion, side flexion and rotation. 

How long does it take to make a difference?

Joseph Pilates said 'In ten sessions you'll feel difference, in twenty you'll see the difference and in thirty you'll have a new body.' Going to a qualified teacher and making Pilates classes part of your weekly routine is all you need to do. In my classes you will learn all about good postural technique which you can take forward into your everyday life. Before you know it, you will be walking tall and 'thinking' Pilates in everything you do.

What are the Principles of Pilates exercise?
  • BreathingBreathing is an integral part of Pilates technique assisting in the flow of movements and connecting the mind and body when performing the exercises.
  • ControlPilates exercises are taught to be performed with control, to reduce the risk of injury and develop strength and flexibility. The emphasis is all about the quality of movement rather than quantity.
  • ConcentrationThis is about focusing the mind on each movement to increase body awareness  and gain the most value from each exercise.
  • CentringIn Pilates focus is brought to the centre of the body – the core – Often referred to as the “powerhouse”, this is where all movement and energy for Pilates exercises initiate. Once the core muscles are engaged, this creates greater stability of the pelvis and spine whilst exercising.
  • PrecisionSimilar to control, Precision is about alignment and spatial awareness. There are precise instructions for correct placement and positioning of the body within each Pilates exercise to assist in proper alignment of the body and good posture. When practicing Pilates regularly, Control and Precision become ingrained, resulting in improved postural alignment, core strength and good movement patterns in everyday life.
  • FlowA smooth, continuous rhythm with breath control makes the flowing movement of a Pilates workout. Movements are not held static as the aim is to create continuous motion and flowing movement.
Classical and Contemporary Pilates - what is the difference?

Pilates exercise has developed significantly since the days of Joseph Pilate’s original work. Lynne Robinson of Body Control Pilates was a great pioneer of this, and very much thought of as being at the forefront of creating the boom in Pilates in the UK from around the mid-1990's onwards. She set about developing a more contemporary approach to Pilates exercise, so that for the first time since it was created by Joseph Pilates all those years ago, almost everyone was able to have access to its many benefits.

  • Classical Pilates is a particular discipline in terms of the flow and order of each of the original classical Pilates exercises. Joseph Pilates created this set order, so that he could provide an easy structure for his apprentices and future teachers to follow. A pure classical Pilates teacher will typically follow this order every time they teach a class. Certain exercises should be omitted depending on the ability of the participants as, in particular, some of the most advanced exercises are extremely challenging for even the strongest and healthiest of people. 
  • Contemporary Pilates is certainly based around Joseph Pilate’s original work, but has been modernised owing to much research and the influences of biomechanics and physical therapy. Teachers may typically incorporate some of the original exercises, but there is also now a wide range of new options and variations that are available to accommodate differing abilities, allow for injury rehabilitation, as well as offer more variety for participants.

To find out what you can expect at Jane Fletcher Pilates please go Jane's Story to find out more.