In recent years India has been introduced to Pilates, a specific system of exercise combining the elements of yoga, breathing, weight training, gymnastics and Tai-chi to condition the body and mind. Its focus is on developing the body’s core muscles, and improving flexibility and strength through a variety of stretching and balancing movements. Pilates demands good balance and coordination so is popular with dancers and sports people as an exercise routine to maintain strength, and for the general population as both a fitness option and important component of the rehabilitation process following injury or surgery.
In the fitness world, Pilates is very popular among women because it provides a combination of toned abdominals and strong muscles yet with a lean sculpted body shape. For other people it can be tailored according to one’s specific needs such as better flexibility, a flat tummy, a stronger core, improved balance and coordination or regaining your figure after childbirth.
There are various forms of Pilates, some which use equipment, and dependent on the level of difficulty required.
This is floor based exercises designed to provide muscle strength and movement control. It involves flow of movements which provide good body awareness and is the most suitable program for beginners. One can either take an individual session or join a group class.
A reformer is specially designed equipment which incorporates springs with different levels of resistance to challenge the body to build strength while maintaining movement control. It can be used as a whole-body workout and graduated from the most basic to a highly advanced set of exercises. It is commonly used in a one on one session with an instructor but can provide the fun of a group class if the facility has multiple reformers.
Studio Pilates, sometimes referred to as Strength and Conditioning Pilates, are personalized classes which cater to an individual’s need and help one achieve specific fitness goals. The instructor modifies the exercise plan based on your performance, and can devise a circuit by using both Mat and Reformer exercises which also makes it a great cardio session.
When used for treatment and rehabilitation purposes it is referred to as Clinical Pilates. An expert physiotherapist uses their sound knowledge of body mechanics and exercise science then combines them with the principles of Pilates creating a holistic treatment plan for your specific problem. After performing a clinical assessment of your condition the therapist devises a tailor-made programme which is then gradually progressed according to your body’s ability and response to the exercise