Why Pilates? by Caroline Stephens, Pilates Instructor

Is it just lying on a mat and relaxing?

When I first tried Pilates about 20 years ago I actually thought this is a waste of time…I’m not sweating , I did not feel the burn, plus there was some strange music playing. I left the class thinking I’ll not do that again, I’ll stick to the high energy classes.

A while later, a few things made me change my mind.

Firstly, I started to get injuries when exercising. I got a calf injury that just kept coming back. I was getting really frustrated. I’d rest, then as soon as I tried to push myself the injury would return.

Secondly, I realised when exercising I wasn’t really using my core. I thought I was strengthening my whole body, but I was mainly working my big muscles- legs, glutes- but the deeper core muscles, my abdominals, back and pelvic floor were not getting stronger.

Thirdly, a friend who was starting to get really round shouldered, started to look amazing. I could see her posture change, and she was moving much more confidently. I asked her what she was doing, and she said I’ve started Pilates.

So I thought ok, there must be something in this Pilates, let me try it again.

After a 1-2-1 and then some group sessions I could feel a difference in my body.

One Joseph Pilates’ quote was: “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”

What is Pilates ?

Pilates was invented in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, and has an emphasis on :

  • ●  Strength and conditioning
  • ●  Flexibility
  • ●  Stability & balance
  • ●  Coordination
  • ●  Posture

Exercises focus on strengthening the deeper core muscles such as planks, and dead bugs, back raises etc. Many classes also now incorporate more functional strength exercises such as squats, lunges, press ups, donkey kicks etc.

Pilates is great on its own and, at the same time, is a perfect complement to many other sports and daily activities such as walking, gardening etc.

It can also help with rehabilitation when recovering from an injury, and help prevent injury.

Is Pilates the same as Yoga?

Yoga offers some of the same principles as pilates, depending on the class and teacher.

One difference is some yoga sessions incorporate spiritual philosophies into their teachings, which is not part of a Pilates session.

Yoga can help deepen your meditation practice, improve flexibility, and help with balance.

Pilates focuses more on the core strength. It tries to balance out the body by strengthening weak muscles, whilst stretching the tighter muscles. It aims to make the body move more efficiently, to reduce the risk of injury overtime, improve posture and wellbeing.

Some of the Key Benefits I’ve found in my 40’s from doing Pilates are:

  • ●  Tones and strengthens the whole body, particularly the weaker often overlooked muscles such as the pelvic floor, abs, back.
  • ●  Helps reduce back ache, tight neck and shoulders
  • ●  Improves balance & coordination
  • ●  Helps strengthen the pelvic floor
  • ●  Brings stress levels down which is so important in our 40s when cortisol can lead to hormone imbalance, weight gain and depression.  Finding something that  gives you some headspace and helps you to be more present and focus on what the body is doing is so important
  • ●  Reminds you to breathe as you move. Many of us hold our breath when
    feeling stressed or anxious, and this helps you to breathe as you move with
    each exercise.
  • ●  Just 5 minutes a day can make a difference to how the body feels.

To try a FREE zoom class, or for more information on Pilates, contact Caroline at caroline@casfitness.com 

Weekly Zoom sessions: Monday 10am and 7pm. Wednesday 10am and 11am. Friday 10am and 11am.  Recorded sessions also available.