So, what does Pilates do?
Pilates is more than an exercise class, it teaches a new way of using your body, increasing postural awareness and the way in which you perform your daily activities from sport to general daily tasks.
The focus of Pilates is correct movement, quality not quantity, core stabilisation and postural correction. Many people today have poor posture leading to the spine becoming curved. This curvature will throw the spine out of natural alignment; reducing flexibility and causing pain. The Pilates approach improves flexibility, corrects postural dysfunctions and eases pain caused by poor posture.
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry, we start simple!
Pilates is different from other forms of exercise in that it requires you to think about the movements that you are doing and where the movement is coming from. We use imagery within the class to help establish the mind-body connection and to help you to understand how the movements should be executed. For example, if you are imagining eggshells under the feet, your brain will tell your body to lighten the pressure under your feet and this will activate the deeper postural muscles. It is important that you think about every movement so that you understand where you should be moving from and where, in fact, you appear to be moving from. If your brain remains unaware of the differences, then you will not be able to change the way in which the movement is performed, and the movement will remain unchanged. Once the control has been improved on the mat you will be ready to apply this new control into functional movements. At first you may only be aware of what you are doing wrong, but this is a great start. Once this has been acknowledged, you will start to focus on what you should be doing, you will then start to move differently. For example, in your first class you will be taught the correct position of the shoulders and rib cage and you will feel how different this may be to how your shoulders usually feel. After your first session you will become aware of how often your shoulders tense and how you roll your shoulders forward whenever you move your arm. In the next session you will try harder to correct your shoulders, then during the next week you will focus on correcting shoulders functionally, for example whilst at a PC or when on the phone. If the brain is unaware of how the shoulders should feel when they are in the right position, you will not be aware of when they are wrong. It will not happen subconsciously for a long time, but with practice it will get better. The conscious change is the first major step for improvement.
Pilates isn’t easy!
Pilates is not easy at first, but what is? If you are a driver think back to your first lesson. You had to familiarise yourself with the different pedals, switches and dials. In Pilates this is equivalent to learning how the posture should be; what is neutral spine? How do you activate the transversus muscle to 30%? How does it feel to soften the ribs and relax the shoulders?
Back to your driving lesson: before you are asked to negotiate the busy high street, you will be taken along quiet roads, where there is less chance of meeting another car. You will now have to remember how to control the car and move forward at the same time. In Pilates you start with level one exercises – gentle movements that require less co-ordination or strength than later movements, but still require you to maintain your correct posture.
As you get better with your driving, with more practice, your instructor will take you onto busier roads, you will drive at busier times and you will negotiate more complex situations. It is the same with Pilates; once you have learnt to control the lower level exercises, you will try the more intermediate and then advanced movements. Ultimately, as the control becomes more automatic, you will be able to apply the posture that you have learnt to your functional tasks without inhibiting and actually improving that task. When you next get into your car, you will instinctively know what to do, without thinking about which pedal is the accelerator. You could also apply the knowledge that you have of driving to another car if you were to rent one whilst on holiday.
Pilates is the same, it is just another motor task that you have learnt. As with any new skill, the more you practice the more it will become automatic. At KTB we strongly believe that to practice and gain this automatic response you need an understanding of how the technique works. This reinforces the importance of a structured class and a knowledgeable instructor.
Central to our specific teaching at KTB is the importance of you understanding how the Pilates movements will help you. This is important so that you gain more than one hour of exercise per week. We want you to be able to confidently and safely begin changing bad habits at home, this will be the key to how Pilates can make a positive difference to you. We see Pilates not only as a great form of safe exercise but as a self-management technique for reducing pain and improving the performance of any task.
“It was said by Joseph Pilates that in ten sessions you will feel the difference of Pilates; in twenty you will see the difference and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body.”
So, what are you waiting for? To join our Pilates call 01322 55 22 99 or book online https://pilatesandtherapy.connect.tm3app.com/book/pilates