A German named Joseph Pilates developed Pilates in the early part of the 20th century, and it is a physical fitness system similar to yoga.
Essentially, the Pilates program is based around strengthening the body’s core muscles, which aid in keeping the body in balance and in supporting the spine.
With this aim in mind, most Pilates exercises are focused on keeping the spine long and straight and strengthening the deep muscles of the core torso.
Breathing is an important element of Pilates, because it is believed that increasing blood circulation will enliven the cells in our bodies and help dispose of the wastes connected to fatigue.
Concentration is also key to Pilates, because Joseph Pilates considered his technique a process of the mind gaining control and influence over the body’s movements. Students are always instructed to think through each movement as they complete it, and concerted activation of muscles is almost always required.
Most practitioners of Pilates find the benefits of the practice flow through to other areas of their lives, such as any sports they may participate in. Pilates has a ‘feel good’ effect, making practitioners feel at one with their bodies and calming the mind.