Pilates Mat Work

“A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics
or forced contortions.” – Joseph Pilates

Pilates mat work is a body-conditioning system based on the rehabilitation exercises of German-born Joseph Pilates. Pilates’s philosophy embraced the Roman motto Mes sana in corpoe sano – “A sound mind in a sound body.” From the 1940’s to the 1960’s his studio in New York attracted actors, dancers and athletes who found his method improved their performance. Since then his method has spread, developing into a progressive form from which not only athletes and dancers, but people from all levels of physical ability can derive tremendous benefit.

Pilates recognized that good health requires a balance of body, mind and spirit. To achieve this he designed a system of floor exercises that helps correct muscle imbalance, improves posture, coordination, strength, flexibility, breathing capacity and organ function. All of these contribute to a feeling of general well-being.

How does this happen? Well, everything is connected. If you start with good alignment you place the bones in the best position for the force of gravity to move through reducing stress on the joints and surrounding tissue. Deep stabilizing muscles will be developed that become the foundation on which all other muscles rely for movement of any kind. This core strength keeps the bones in the right place, maintaining alignment. Ligaments, tendon and muscles will be able to find their optimal balance between flexibility, strength and ease of movement, while joints develop full range of motion. Lung capacity will improve along with their ability to bring in more oxygen and remove more carbon dioxide. With good alignment, the internal organs will have more room to function at their best.

Central to the Pilates system is the mind-body connection. It is the mind that moves the body – the brain sends out signals that activate the muscles required for movement. The process is a two-way street with information constantly flowing in from all parts of the body to the brain, where it is processed and instructions are sent out. For example, when you walk you lift your foot with just enough strength to move it forward, after recognizing the weight of your shoe and the length of your stride. Pilates asks you to consciously connect with your body, so that you become aware of which muscles are working, whether there is strain on the joints, an imbalance or weakness. This awareness allows you to assess the quality of your movement, to change old patterns of movement, to know your true limits and how to break through to the next level laying down new patterns of neuro-muscular connections. Awareness will help you quickly reach your true potential.

Progressive Pilates mat work trains your body to work with ease as an integrated whole, making movement a joy.