Who can benefit from Pilates?

Men

It is common for men to have very well toned, strong buttocks and legs, but with neglected cores! This causes problems with posture, a tucked under pelvis and as a result, sloping shoulders as the body attempts to balance itself. Such posture can also result from long hours sitting at a desk.

Pilates addresses such issues by strengthening the core to stop buttocks overworking, and to make it easier to sit up straight. Flexibility of the spine is improved and breathing improves.

Pilates is often more suited than yoga to those with disc problems in their spine as the strengthening of the core muscles without excessive twisting, forward or backwards bending motion, helps to support the spine reduce micromotion imbalances which can cause pain in compromised discs.

Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century to help injured soldiers regain their strength.  It began to rise to popularity as dancers and athletes realised that it is a fantastic way to achieve and maintain a long, lean, toned physique without gaining bulk. It is also a great way to rehabilitate injuries safely and effectively.

I was inspired to study Pilates in 2010 having been teaching yoga for over two years and wanting to increase the options that I could offer to my clients to improve their health and well-being. My manifesto for ‘Yoga2shape’ is to offer something for everyone whatever their needs. Yoga and Pilates have some wonderful similarities and it is even rumoured that Joseph Pilates and Iyengar (the fella that popularised yoga in the West) were friends and colleagues sharing many ideas.  The main similarity is certainly the fact that both unify the mind, body and breath which has a calming effect on the body and mind.

Anyone with back pain

Back pain is caused by some muscles over-working to compensate for weak muscles. Due to bad posture, some muscles become weak and overstretched while others become tight and go into spasm, causing pain.

In order to stop this pain, it is essential to learn how to stand correctly and strengthen up the weak muscles, while stretching out the tight ones. And then to maintain a balanced routine of Pilates to keep all muscles strong and flexible and maintain good posture.

Postnatal Women

Pilates is a great way to tone up, especially postnatally (Did you know, the postnatal period can last up to two years?!)

Pilates helps to tone safely from the inside out, strengthening core and postural muscles that support the spine and relieve strain in other muscle groups. Great care is needed when getting yourself back into shape after the birth of your baby, and one of the reasons  Pilates is a good form of postnatal exercise is because you learn to support yourself in the area of the pelvic floor and the emphasis is on toning the deeper layer of core muscles.

It is no good toning up the ‘glamour muscles’ if they haven’t got support from underneath!

Yoga is a great way to tone up postnatally too, but the teacher must be sensitive to the needs of the students and the practise should be mainly strength based (with appropriate attention given to stretching to relieve muscular tension.) Because I am trained in postnatal yoga and I also teach yoga classes specifically for new mums, attending either my yoga or Pilates classes is a perfect choice if you are a new or relatively new mum.