Contrology – or more popularly known as The Pilates Method, was created in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates and his wife, Clara in New York City. The original intention of the Method was for rehabilitation purposes. It quickly expanded into the fitness world as people began to discover the many benefits of Pilates. Although there have been some modifications to the equipment, the Pilates Method remains true to its origins.
Over the last ten years Pilates has become more mainstream and a popular option for working out. Although it is still accepted in the medical community as a compliment to a rehabilitation process, it has become more commercialized resulting in the growth of large studios all over the world.
So . . . What is Pilates?
“Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” – Joseph Pilates
You’ve heard the buzz words surrounding Pilates . . . six pack abs, long and lean muscles tone, and increased flexibility. Pilates is popular among celebrities and athletes which can make it seem elusive. But because it can be done on a mat it is actually an easily accessible option for exercising. Just like many other forms of exercise, you will benefit from the resistance training but it’s not just all about the abs. There are other elements to the practice that take it beyond just an exercise.
The Pilates Method has nine principles:
- Postural alignment
It is easy to find value in any one of those principles and each class you take will have these themes woven through it. Focusing on breath, alignment and movement will leave you feeling lighter, taller and more centered after a Pilates class.
What to Expect
If you have never been inside of a Studio it can be an intimidating atmosphere. I often hear the studio referred to as a “torture chamber” but it is anything but.
Remedy Pilates Studio in Arcadia
Your teacher will run you through all of the equipment, which looks more complicated than it actually is and will guide you throughout the whole class. If you are taking a mat class the structure can range from more classical to more contemporary – it just depends on the teacher.
There is not a strong cardio element to Pilates so it is important to make time in your routine to get your heart rate up. Pilates was designed to be an addition to your routine, not necessarily the only exercise you do.
If you are recovering from an injury or are post-partum, talk to your studio about taking a private class where you can ask questions and get acquainted with your body. Not all studios are alike. Be sure to do your research and make sure your teacher is comprehensively certified, especially in a post-injury situation.
Movement as Medicine
“Change happens through movement, and movement heals” – Joseph Pilates
Pilates has taught me over the years that the most important thing that I can do for my body and my health is to just move. Developing a movement practice is a lifestyle and a habit.
Jackie & her daughter, Waylon
It can be overwhelming to start something new but start small and start manageable. Get outside, go for a walk or stretch while you’re watching TV at night. If you start to layer on these moments of self-care and movement, it will snowball into a desire to do more because it feels good.
As a teacher, I want my students to take Pilates into their day to day lives. I want them to be more aware of how they are reaching for things or bending over to put on their shoes. I want my students to become so self-aware and self-sufficient in their own body that they don’t need me anymore.
Above all else, just move!
Jackie Parks is a certified Pilates instructor and owner of Jackie Parks Pilates (@jackieparkspilates). She has studied movement in a variety of ways and that blend of knowledge, passion and experience allows her to approach each body from a different angle. Jackie is passionate about functional movement, especially after injury or the beginning of your practice. She started her training in Yoga and moved to Pilates in 2014 where she has been happily stuck ever since.
When she is not teaching you can find her chasing after her toddler, Waylon or enjoying Scottsdale living with her husband Jason.