Movement is a miracle. A miracle and a privilege we often take for granted every day because for many of us, it happens involuntary without us ever having to notice it. It is simply a part of us.
When is the last time you noticed or became aware of your movement? It could be any movement; even the smallest, most ancillary movement such as picking up a glass of water, getting up from a chair, or maybe it’s even as simple as turning your head from right to left. The next time you make even the smallest movement, take a moment to comprehend all that must be involved in the simplest of gestures. Ask yourself how many muscles, ligaments, and boney structures must be involved and innately recruited in just that one solitary action? How many signals from the brain to the body have to fire to achieve coordination? How must the nervous system respond in order for movement to happen smoothly, unhindered, and most miraculously…completely involuntary without us ever having to be cognizant of it.
Movement is a gift of life for a fortunate some. But as with any gift, we have to not only be grateful, we also have to take care of it, nurture it, and help it continue to survive and develop. If we devalue such a gift as the miracle of healthy movement, we could ultimately face the consequences down the road. Over time we could notice our movement becoming stiffer, restricted, and less functional. Without fully fluid movement, our bodies not only become more inhibited, but so do our lives. We cannot enjoy the same activities, quality of life, and we may even begin to experience pain which distresses us not only physically, but emotionally as well.
The practice of Pilates helps us individually not only to move better, but also to be aware and present with movement. It also teaches us to understand the “how” and “why” of movement so that we can move our best and at most functionally for greatest health. This discovery can be a very exciting and empowering experience!
Within the practice of STOTT PILATES (a contemporary approach to Classical created by Joseph Pilates, updated by a team of physical therapists and sports medicine professionals for improved safety) we as instructors, begin teaching what is known as the 5 Basic Principles:
The 5 Basic Principles of Pilates:
- Breathing: the core of stabilization, endurance, and proper muscle engagement
- Pelvic Placement: protecting the lower back from unnecessary tension and pain
- Ribcage Placement: the way in which the abdominal wall stabilizes the spine
- Scapular Stabilization and Mobilization: muscular counterbalance surrounding the shoulder girdle
- Head and Cervical Placement: protecting the neck from chronic tension and strain
These awareness principles are the foundation for functional core strength, pelvic and hip stability, upper body stabilization and proprioception; all of which your body requires and relies on to move more efficiently, easily, and with greater endurance.
By applying these mindful tools, Pilates can help everything else you do (or don’t do!) If you are a runner, cyclist, weightlifter, boot-camper, hiker, skier, or engage in any of kind of physical fitness, Pilates can help to train motor control (a key element to your stabilization system) and the deep stabilizer muscles of the body which can result in reduced pressure on joints. Additionally, if you are new to exercise or recovering from an injury, Pilates is a safe and low-impact format to reintroduce movement.
Pilates is an ageless exercise and a practice that can be safely performed from ages 13-90 with numerous beneficial results including: greater balance, better posture, increased strength and flexibility, reduced back and joint pain, and more. By utilizing the power and rhythm of the breath, while engaging in controlled, isolated, and functional movements, Pilates will provide you with the tools to truly listen to your body, while strengthening and conditioning from the inside out.