Pilates – a word that is known by nearly every woman in the West. It is a form of exercise that has gained popularity amongst the fairer sex, mostly because of the fact that it does not work up a sweat as many other intensive exercising methods do.
Pilates was invented as a form of exercise during the 19th century by not a woman, but by a man – Joseph Pilates. Initially, this form of exercise was known as ‘Contrology’ rather Pilates; the name was adopted by the later students of Joseph Pilates. Today, the name Contrology is hardly used – Pilates has become the better known word. Joseph Pilates invented this form of exercise under the belief that the mind and the body were connected – and that in fact, mental health and physical were interdependent on each other. As a result, after studying both western and eastern forms of exercise regimes, Joseph Pilates came up with Contrology, a method of exercise which would focus on both the mind and the body.
Pilates classes focus on stabilizing and strengthening what is known in Pilates as the ‘powerhouse’, or basically the core of your body (i.e. your abdomen muscles, back muscles and buttocks). They also focus on establishing a sense of balance and coordination between the mind and the body, as this is one of the central concepts behind Pilates. To do this, Pilates places great importance on concentration and steady breathing so that the mind and the body may be linked together during the many different moves. There are over a hundred different moves, but each retains this basic concept as it attempts to establish body coordination and balance.
Pilates in Singapore nowadays are both practiced at home and at gyms or studios. In the case of the former, anyone who wishes to try Pilates will often buy a DVD or a guide on Pilates as reference and usually practice by themselves; in the case of the latter, professional Pilates practitioners assist them. A Pilates class usually lasts anywhere from forty-five minutes to one hour per session at a gym or a studio; they may be private lessons or group lessons. Additionally, Pilates may make use of special Pilates machinery – the best example is a type of machinery known as the ‘Reformer’.
While there has been no distinct scientific or medical evidence, Pilates have been found to have healing qualities. The best example would be that studies conducted have found out that Pilates has been better than other physical training regimes at curing back pain. Besides this, Pilates has also been found to develop flexibility of the body overall and improve your brainpower.