Pilates is form of exercise that has taken the world by storm in recent years. And many people are discovering its incredible benefits in terms of weight loss and a complete change of attitude for the better. Pilates is no longer, “just a workout”, it is a complete change of lifestyle. Here, we will be discussing a what makes Pilates so unique, why it may be the perfect solution to help you reach your weight loss goals, and will give you a few examples of some Pilates poses that you can do at home!
The term Contrology was the first form of Pilates which was created by founder, Joseph Pilates, and has in time changed to its founders namesake, Pilates. Contrology implemented all aspects which are the roots of Pilates, breathing, control, and posture. Joseph took into account each person’s ailment and unique body, and no 1-hour long class was the same. The method can presently be found in gyms, studios and community centers around the country. While many schools have taken Joseph’s methods and created a new form of Pilates, many schools remain close to tradition and continue teaching his method.
It is well known that prior to beginning any work out, it is of the utmost importance to warm up first. However, many people presume that because Pilates stretches your body, they do not have to warm up at all. This is a detrimental mistake! Pilates does in fact stretch and lengthen your body, however you still need to get the blood flowing to your muscles prior to incorporating any Pilates exercise. Here are some moves to get your blood flowing and your muscles warmed up:
Stand on or beside your Pilates/Yoga mat, feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees soft, and relax your arms at your side.
Inhale through your nose for a count of four.
Exhale through your mouth, tighten your abdominal muscles making sure you push all the air out of your lungs.
Repeat this process 5 times.
Steps to the Pilates One-Hundred:
Lay down on your Pilates/Yoga mat (or thick blanket if you do not have a mat), on your back with your legs extended out and let your arms rest comfortably at your sides.
Bend your knees in towards your chest, and then stretch them out to a 90 degree angle, keeping your thighs perpendicular to the floor and your shins parallel.
Round your rib cage, curling your chest towards your stomach and lift your head and shoulders off the mat.
Lift your arms one inch off the mat, keeping your hands straight and parallel to the floor.
Begin pumping your arms up and down quickly. Inhale through your nose for a count of five, and exhale through your nose for a count of five.
Repeat this process until you have pumped your arms for a total of one-hundred.
Now, ready to try Pilates? Here are some poses to get you started!
The Roll-Up is a remarkable for building and strengthening your powerhouse. It is incredibly challenging at first, so be sure to stick with it and to not get discouraged. It has been noted that one properly executed Roll-Up is the equivalent of just one single sit-up!
Lay on your mat with your legs extended out. Arms at your sides, flat on the mat. Allow your stomach to press into the floor and relax your shoulders away from your ears. Find your center.
Bring your arms straight up towards the ceiling and over your head towards the floor. Keep your fingers pointed at the wall behind you.
Inhale and lift your arms back towards the ceiling, when your arms pass over your ears, drop your chin towards your chest and follow the motion allowing your upper body to follow suit.
Continue the motion, hold your powerhouse in, curve your spine; reaching and lengthening your body to reach towards your toes.
Hold this position for a moment.
To go back to the starting position, hold your powerhouse in, tuck your tailbone and very gently begin to uncurl your body, one vertebrae at a time, down to the floor.
Repeat the Roll-Up 6 times. Ensure the continuous motion, maintaining control and flow the entire time.
Open Leg Rocker:
The Open Leg Rocker is incredibly effective as an abdominal exercise. It is additionally highly beneficial in terms of practicing control between your upper and lower abs. Be sure to use your breath while maintaining control of your powerhouse for support. If you have back or neck issues, do not do the complete roll, you can still boast excellent benefits in utilizing just the stretch itself.
Sit up tall and gently place your body at the edge of your mat.
Lean back on your tail bone with your knees bent and grasp your ankles.
Activate your powerhouse and lift one leg and extend it out and upwards to the ceiling, then the other, both to shoulder width apart, and grasp your ankle, calf or behind the knee (whatever is the most comfortable to hold).
Balance your body.
Inhale deeply and keeping control of the powerhouse and holding your legs, c-curve your spine and roll back onto your shoulders (never your neck).
Keep your spine in c-curve position and using your powerhouse with control while holding onto your legs roll back up to seated, balanced position
Repeat Open Leg Rocker 6 times.
The Full Teaser
Find the center of your mat and lie down in neutral spine, extending your legs and keeping your arms rested by your sides.
Bring your knees up to a 90 degree angle.
Gently bring your knees into your chest and then extend them straight up into the air.
Drop your legs to a 45 degree angle. (You may bend them slightly if your hamstrings are tight or if you have problems with your lower back.)
Inhale and bring your arms up and back over your head to point to the wall behind you.
Exhale and use your powerhouse to raise your arms up, bringing your upper body with you.
Use your powerhouse and your breath for balance and control.
Continue reaching for your toes until you are in a v-like position. Sitting upright and perfectly balanced.
Hold this pose for a moment.
Inhale, drop your shoulders and create the c-curve of your spine to very gently begin roll your upper body back down to the mat, with ease and control.
Allow your arms to follow the motion of your body, and then arc them up and over your head to return to the start position.
Work your way up to a repetition of 3 Full Teasers.
As you embark on your new adventures in the astounding world of Pilates, be sure to always maintain that positive outlook in knowing that you will begin to see not only a change in your body, but also in your mind and spirit. Pilates boasts incredible benefits that no other exercise regime can offer. Take everything in stride and remember to always work at your own speed, your own pace and work with your body, never against it. Pilates is for everyone, regardless of skill level, age or sex. If you stick with it and trust your body, you will see your entire life begin to change for the better. Your body will look leaner and feel more stronger than it ever has. Your mind will be clearer, sharper and more focused. And you will feel the center of yourself feeling more aligned and in peace. In discovering Pilates and starting the beginning stages of this incredible process, you too can experience all the beauty that can be found within the confines of all the remarkable and beneficial aspects this unique and inspiring exercise phenomenon.
Pilates Exercises for Beginners
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