What is Pilates?

Pilates is a Mind-Body method of exercise that was pioneered and developed during the last century by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. The method is a safe, low impact and highly effective way to strengthen, stretch and streamline your body.

For years, Pilates was the well-kept secret of dancers and athletes who were dedicated to balancing their bodies and optimizing their potential. Fortunately, in the last 30 years, Pilates spread across the world and, today, we can all enjoy the benefits of this method. The specialised equipment and the unique exercises are designed to help you develop optimal strength, flexibility, posture and balance without building excess bulk or stressing the joints.

Pilates is great on its own and, at the same time, is a perfect complement to and will enhance cardiovascular activities, athletic training and rehabilitative therapies such as physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment and osteopathy.

Pilates is ideal during normal healthy pregnancy to maintain strength and balance, to avoid common pregnancy problems and to prepare for delivery. It is also excellent as a post-natal exercise routine when fatigue, weakened abdominals, demands of breastfeeding and day-to-day care of a baby make it so difficult for women to regain their strength and figure.

A consistent program of Pilates exercises will reward you with a strong sense of centre and balance. Every workout will leave you feeling revitalized and moving with ease.

What are the health benefits of Pilates?

Pilates is a conditioning system for the whole body and for all systems in the body. It can help improve your lung capacity by teaching proper breathing and this in turn can improve your circulatory system. Pilates builds strength, endurance, and flexibility in the muscular system, which helps to restore balance to the skeletal system. Pilates can improve mental awareness of how you move your body and where your body is in space. Most importantly, Pilates practiced correctly will overflow from your practice into your daily life. In essence, Pilates is a lifestyle centred on the desire and need to live a healthy life.

Can Pilates help my bad posture?

Pilates is the perfect exercise method to help improve your posture! All Pilates exercises are designed to create muscular and postural balance- stretching tight areas and strengthening weak muscles. The unique concept of working from the core (or ‘Powerhouse’) results in strong and firm band around the centre of the body, which allows you to support your body weight - your posture with more ease throughout the day. Additionally, the awareness developed in Pilates classes will be carried over into your day-to-day activities, reminding you to carry yourself more upright and with less build up of tension and bad habits.

I'm not very flexible, maybe Pilates isn't for me!?

Modern day lifestyle involves sitting at desks and different means of transport for many hours a day. This unfortunately leads over time to tight muscles and decreased mobility in our joints. Pilates increases the flexibility of your muscles and connective tissues and the mobility of the joints. Your flexibility will improve over time and with regular practice, so don’t give up!

How long will I have to do the classes before I see results?

Some people notice physical changes within a few classes. Most people notice improvement of strength and flexibility within a few weeks. The real benefit though, is the combination of short term results with enduring changes to your fitness and well-being in the long run. That is what makes people “Pilates devotees” for years and decades.
One should remember that results can vary depending on each individual and factors such as general health, previous Pilates experience, other forms of physical activity; and of course the number of classes you take each week and their length.

Am I too old to try Pilates?

As we get older, the prospect of pumping iron in a gym or running up and down hills may no longer seem as appealing… but that doesn't mean we don't benefit immensely from regular exercise! Pilates can be gentle enough and yet target oriented enough to be just what you are looking for. Amit’s most senior client was over 90 years old when she started working with him and at over a 100 she was still doing Pilates at home!! We have many classes that are appropriate for the older population. If you have any concern or need an advice please don’t hesitate to email us!

Are there men-specific and women-specific exercises in Pilates?

Certain exercises that rely on strong upper body may be easier for men and other exercises that rely on flexibility (hips, back etc) may feel easier for women. One could think that the exercises that are easier for men would be more appropriate for men and vice versa, but actually it is not necessarily true… One of the most important mottos of Pilates is Universal Development of the body which means that the exercises most appropriate to an individual are probably the ones they find most uncomfortable or difficult to do…

When men work super hard during an exercise that requires some flexibility it is because there is an imbalance in their bodies that will improve when their flexibility improves and when women struggle with an exercise that requires strength (upper body or any other body part), it is because their body is imbalanced and would benefit from more strength and stability. Graceful movers are ones that have the right kind of ratio between strength and flexibility and beyond grace; this is also an indication of a healthy and well functioning body.

So- when faced with a challenging exercise take a deep breath and remember that it was designed especially for your body type… Enjoy J

As a beginner, how can I benefit the most from Pilates?

The key to your success is being consistent. Make sure to do a number of classes per week and not just the odd class. It is better to practice ‘little but often’ than to take a full hour class once every two weeks… which is why we filmed all the 1020 and 30 minute classes for you. The other very important key to your success is to always be patient and to always be “present” in the class- physically and mentally. Switch off your phone, remove any obstacles and distractions; listen to your body and concentrate on what you are doing; it will make for a much better workout! Motivation wise, think of the class as your reward- your treat at the beginning of the day, a break in the middle of a hectic day or your private-relaxing moment at the end of a long tiring day... Your body and mind will thank you :-)

Can I use a yoga mat for my pilates practice?

Many of our members do their practice on yoga mats, carpets, thick towels or a combination of the three. Saying that, we know that sometimes people find that rolling exercises can hurt their spine or that the side lying exercises hurt their thigh bone and they avoid proper alignment to avoid the pain. If you feel you can benefit from a thicker and softer mat, you can find some cushy and comfy Pilates Mats online with our partner Pilates-Mad.com

I have never tried using the Magic Circle and not sure if it is worth the investment. What do you think?

The Pilates Mat Work was created as a system that stands on its own and does not really require any props in order to achieve its full potential. Saying that… the props can do a number of things for you- they can help you understand the work better, help you get your core muscles engaged and working stronger and can focus the work on a specific area of the body such as your arms or inner thighs. The other great benefit of props is that they can alter the mechanics of the exercise in a way that actually enables one to perform it with better form and technique which later lends itself back to the original exercise.

TheMagic Circleis relatively more expensive and still it is not too pricy and can prove well worth the investment. People love working with the circle as it makes you feel exactly what needs to work and it makes you work deeply. It also adds fun and challenge to the class. When choosing a Magic Circle for home use you can definitely go for the lightweight variety which has both inner and outer foam padded grips, rather than the more traditional steel ring design.