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Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, a physical-culturist born in Germany in 1880. He developed a system of exercises during the first half of the 20th century which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. Joseph Pilates believed that mental and physical health are inter-related.[3] He had practiced many of the physical training regimes which were available in Germany in his youth, and it was out of this context that he developed his own work, which has clear connections with the physical culture of the late ninteenth century such as the use of specially invented apparatuses and the claim that the exercises could cure illness. It is also related to the tradition of "corrective exercise" or "medical gymnastics" which is typified by Pehr Henrik Ling. Joseph Pilates published two books in his lifetime which related to his training method: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education (1934) and Return to Life through Contrology (1945). In common with early C20 physical culture, Pilates had an extremely high regard for the Greeks and the physical prowess demonstrated in their Gymnasium. The first generation of students, many of them dancers, who studied with Joseph Pilates and went on to open studios and teach the method are collectively known as The Elders and the most prominent include: Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Mary Bowen, Carola Treir, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Lolita San Miguel and Mary Pilates (the niece of Joseph and Clara). Modern day pilates styles, both "traditional" and "contemporary", are derived from the teaching of these first generation students. The method was originally confined to the few and normally practiced in a specialized studio, but with time this has changed and pilates can now be found in community centers, gyms and physiotherapy rooms as well as in hybrid practice such as yogilates and in newly developed forms such as the Menezes Method. The "traditional" form still survives and there are also a variety of "contemporary" schools, such as Stott Pilates, which have adapted the system in different ways.

The Pilates method seeks to develop controlled movement from a strong core and it does this using a range of apparatuses to guide and train the body. Joe Pilates originally developed his method as mat exercises (his 1945 "Return to Life" teaches 34 of these), but, in common with many other physical culture systems from the first part of the twentieth century, he used several pieces of apparatus to help people "get the method in their bodies". Each piece of apparatus has its own repertoire of exercises and most of the exercises done on the various pieces of Pilates apparatus are resistance training since they make use of springs to provide additional resistance. Using springs results in "progressive resistance", meaning the resistance increases as the spring is stretched. The most widely used piece of apparatus, and probably the most important, is the Reformer, but other apparatus used in a traditional Pilates studio include the Cadillac (also called the Trapeze Table), the high (or electric) chair, the Wunda Chair, the baby Chair, and the Ladder Barrel, the Spine Corrector (Step Barrel) and small barrel. Lesser used apparati include the Magic Circle, Guillotine Tower, the Pedi-Pole, and the Foot Corrector. In contemporary Pilates other props are used, including small weighted balls, foam rollers, large exercise balls, rotating disks, and resistance bands. Some of the traditional apparatuses have been adapted for use in contemporary pilates (e.g. splitting the pedal on the wunda chair). Some contemporary schools, such as the British Body Control Pilates, work primarily on the mat with these smaller props, enabling people to study the method without a full studio. Currently the Pilates Method is divided into two camps, Classical/Authentic Pilates or Contemporary/Modern Pilates. Classical/Authentic Pilates teach the exercises in an order that does not vary from lesson to lesson. Teachers of this style of Pilates seek to stay close to Joseph Pilates's original work and generally use equipment that is built to his specifications. Most classically trained teachers will have studied the complete system of exercises and can generally trace their training back to Joseph Pilates through one of his proteges. Contemporary/Modern pilates breaks the method down into various parts and the order of the exercises varies from lesson to lesson with many changes made to the original exercises.

Breathing is important in the Pilates method. In Return to Life, Pilates devotes a section of his introduction specifically to breathing "Bodily house-cleaning with blood circulation" [13] He saw considerable value in increasing the intake of oxygen and the circulation of this oxygenated blood to every part of the body. This he saw as cleansing and invigorating. Proper full inhalation and complete exhalation were key to this. "Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation." [14] He advised people to squeeze out the lungs as you would wring a wet towel dry.[15] In Pilates exercises, you breathe in with the effort and out on the return.[16] In order to keep the lower abdominals close to the spine; the breathing needs to be directed laterally, into the lower ribcage. Pilates breathing is described as a posterior lateral breathing, meaning that the practitioner is instructed to breathe deep into the back and sides of his or her rib cage. When practitioners exhale, they are instructed to note the engagement of their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement as they inhale. Pilates attempts to properly coordinate this breathing practice with movement, including breathing instructions with every exercise. "Above all, learn to breathe correctly." [17]

Posterior lateral breathing is a way of breathing that facilitates bibasal expansion of the ribcage. To understand this concept properly you have to first learn to expand and release the ribcage without deliberately breathing in or out. The in-breath (inhalation) and out-breath(exhalation) should occur instinctively as a result of the conscious expansion and release of the ribcage. This is how you would do this: You place your hands on your lower ribs with you thumbs facing the back of your ribcage, try not to think of breathing, relax your upper abdominals and expand your ribcage to the side against the soft resistance of your hands. Release the expansion of the ribcage by first melting away the area of the clavicles. You can also try this with a scarf around the lower ribcage. You will not be able to expand and release the ribcage effectively if you try to contract your abdominal muscles to expand the ribcage and if you try to contract the ribcage instead of first release it. Now you should try to duplicate this action with conscious breathing in and breathing out. The in-breath (let it come) widens the ribcage laterally, posteriorly, and superiorly in the ratio of 60:30:10. That is 60% laterally, 30% posteriorly and 10% superiorly. The effect of this ratio of distribution is felt mainly as a back activity. The out-breath (gradually let it out) exits the body first through the gradual and gentle release of tension (intention) in the upper chest and breastbone area, without collapsing the front of the ribcage, and terminates through the activation of the power engine.

(source information from Wiki)

858.707.5009 | pilatesonpark@gmail.com