|Sunday, May 5th is International Pilates Day. Pilates Day is an annual, international community event, celebrated on the first Saturday of May every year. The Pilates Day mission is to foster the public’s appreciation and awareness to the Pilates Method. Through a network of varied, innovative, and high-quality grassroots Pilates events, that are taking place around the world and accessible and affordable for all.|
Align Pilates and Yoga is excited to be participating in this world-recognized event. To be part of this exciting day, it’s paramount for Align to explain what the hoopla with Pilates is all about. Pilates is truly for any and everybody! In its simplest form, it’s a resistance-based method of exercise that focuses on stability of the core, and mobility of the joints, all the while achieving a full body workout. Of course, like many other types of movement Pilates goes beyond just moving for movement sake, and is more complex with its own philosophy of breath to movement.
It all started in the late 1800’s with German-born man, Joseph Pilates. He created a form of exercise he dubbed “Contrology.” As a child, he was afflicted with asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. He quickly became determined to overcome his physical disadvantages. Therefore Joseph began to self-educate himself in anatomy, bodybuilding, wrestling, yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts. He was inspired by the classical Greek ideal of a man- who is balanced equally in body, mind, and spirit. Pilates believed that everyone should strive for this ideal and that our modern lifestyle, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of society’s poor health.
His answer to these problems was to design a unique series of physical exercises to correct muscular imbalances and improve posture, coordination, balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as to increase breathing capacity and organ function. He invented two separate ways to his method. First the mat portion, which uses body weight and gravity to help create resistance while doing exercises on the floor. The second, he invented a variety of machines based on spring-resistance, which could be used to perform these exercises. And the method also centered on the concept of mindfulness. The combination of all these qualities is what gives Pilates its depth and complexity.
Joseph Pilates died on October 9 1967, in New York City at the age of 84. But his method still lives strong today. One can find Pilates studios all over the world, DVD’s, books and websites just dedicated to the method. Today, many famous athletes, dancers, models, and actors — as well as business professionals, housewives, and retirees have participated to only improve their lives with Pilates.