Why I Love Pilates

{The following post was originally written and shared in 2011.  I stumbled upon it this morning and was happy to realize that almost 9 years later, everything still rang so familiar and true to me.

Since this post was originally written, I have dove into teaching Pilates “full time”.  I realized a longstanding dream of teaching Pilates Equipment in addition to Mat Pilates. Twice I have finished in the Top Three Best of Cville; Pilates Instructors.

Teaching Pilates is a gift and an honor in my life, an outlet for sharing my passion for promoting body autonomy and empowerment.}

October 19, 2011

I wanted to title this post “Why You Should Be Doing Pilates” but I decided that sounded too bossy, so we’ll go with the top reasons I love Pilates.

It’s a great reminder that more is not always better.

Pilates principles focus on perfect repetitions with each exercise.  Pilates is all about quality over quantity, a good thing to remember with any exercise!

Form, form, and form. 

There is no place in Pilates for cheating or doing an exercise half-ass, if your form starts to fail than it’s time to rest.  This constant focus on form and alignment teaches your body to work in a balanced and symmetrical way, which will extend to other exercises and daily life.  By focusing on form on the mat you can reduce the risk of injury while performing other exercises and daily tasks as well as improve your efficiency of movement.

Flat abs.

For real.  Okay, my abs have never been fat-free but when I practice Pilates my lower belly pouch decreases/disappears and I can flex things into a four-pack.  Vanity is a great motivator. 😉

Stand up strong & tall!

Pilates is amazing for posture.  A well structured Pilates program will work on balancing out the muscles on your front and back, and the left and right sides of the body leading to improved posture and less/no pain in your shoulders and back.   Many core exercises overemphasize the abdominals and under-work the other important muscles of the torso; the upper and lower back, the hips, inner thighs, glutes, and shoulders.

Improving your posture will not only make you taller and appear more slender but can decrease pain.

Stretch as you work.

One of the reasons Pilates is known for creating lean, “dancer-like”, muscles is because with every contraction there is a simultaneous stretching and lengthening of the muscles.

Learn to stabilize.

Nearly every Pilates exercise follows the same model: stabilize through one part of the body while moving another.  Often the stabilizing happens in the torso and the movement is performed by the arms and/or legs.  This is a great model to carry over into other exercises, especially strength training.  Many exercise instructors say “engage your abs” while pumping iron but Pilates teaches you apply that statement in the most efficient way.

Love Pilates, loathe it, indifferent, or never tried it? I want to hear your reasons why you do or don’t practice Pilates!

Here’s a “Pilates Primer” for your movement pleasure 😉