Pilates Positions - Discussion

Want to find out a little about Pilates positions and exercises?

When Joseph Pilates conceived of the Pilates system (he termed it "Contrology") in the 1930s, he envisioned a system that would integrate the body's movement with the breath and mind to create a dynamic and fluidly graceful set of exercises.

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A note about Pilates Positions - Discussion

In natural health and healing, we believe in holistic health and healing, as we realize that different parts of the human body are highly interlinked, often beyond Man's understanding. We also believe that the body has the ability to heal itself of any disease, even supposedly incurable diseases.

In order to do so, the body needs the support of some basic dietary and lifestyle good health habits, such as a full body detox and a proper understanding and application of nutrition. Taking these fundamental health steps will greatly magnify the effects and benefits of any of our health-promoting efforts, including the use of certain holistic remedies.

Consistent implementation of the system would allow the body to remain youthful, fit and full of vitality.

Pilates exercise sequences and positions can be categorized according to skill level. All focus on the core precepts of proper breathing, alignment, balance and coordination. With time and persistent practice, flexibility, posture and positive outlook will all increase.

Pilates exercises must be performed with concentration and precision for maximum benefit. Beginners will notice that at first the proper performance of the Pilates positions and exercises may cause some aches in certain under-used muscles. If this progresses to sharp pain, seek an appropriate modification rather than one that feels easier. However, do not "work through" the pain as this might lead to injury. Follow the instructions for the postures and exercises very carefully, including the alignments, number of repetitions, and control of the breath (which should be free-flowing at all times).

Some of the most popular exercises include the fundamental skills min-exercises, the Pilates hundred, the roll-up-, single leg-circle, ball rolling, leg stretches, spine stretch, the saw, the swan, side kicks I and II, and the seal. Descriptions of a few of these Pilates positions and exercises follow:

Fundamental skills min-exercises
These include exercises to practice proper breathing, as well as opening sequences such as the Pilates scoop, pelvic rocks, knee folds, knee sways, and other warm ups to prepare for the full mat-work or Reformer sequence.

The Pilates hundred
A classic mat exercise, the hundred targets the abdominals and lungs. It should be performed for a cycle of ten breaths, and will most certainly be included in any mat-style class you take at a studio. Modifications include bending the legs and keep the head down so as not to strain the neck.

The roll-up
Like a modified sit up, the roll up focuses on the abdominals. Remember to use your abdominals to roll up and down with control, rather than relying on momentum or allowing the legs to float up off the mat.

Single leg-circle
This Pilates position or exercise focuses on the abdominals, thighs and hip flexors. The lifting and circling of the leg should be controlled and deliberate.

Rolling Like a Ball
While working the abdominals, the upper and lower back can be massaged. Be sure to use a ticker mat to protect the vertebrae, and use the abdominal muscles to initiate the curling action, rather than allowing gravity to simply take over.

The saw
The saw works the hamstrings, inner thigh, back and oblique abdominals. The hips should remain anchored and the energy should flow through the extended arms as you move the pose.

The swan
This pose engages the lower back and abdominal muscles. Weight should be taken off the palms and abdominal and back muscles should engage to bear the weight of the upper body.

Keep in mind the fundamental tents of Pilates as you move through your practice and you will reap all the benefits the Pilates positions and exercises have to offer.

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You may wish to learn more about how the Pilates Power System can improve your health and fitness, and about how to use pilates to provide relief from back and joint pain.

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Some Related Pilates Pages

What are Pilates? - Overview

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Pilates Reformer Exercises - Discussion

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