Nourishing your body is not just down to good nutrition, movement and exercise plays a very important role too. I love Pilates as a form of exercise because it is powerful enough to strengthen your muscles that you have noticeable results, yet gentle enough that anyone, at any age or fitness level can do it. So I thought I would bring in some experts to give us a few helping tips. Meet my beautiful friend Sian and her partner Megan.
So what is pilates?
Pilates originated in 1880 from the work of Joseph Pilates. Pilates is the art of controlled movements. When practiced consistently it has shown to improve flexibility, build strength and develop control and endurance. It places emphasis on the alignment of the body, breathing, developing a strong powerhouse, as well as improving coordination and balance. Pilates as a system of exercises was intended to strengthen the human mind and body.
Sian, being a qualified biokinetist what drew you to becoming a pilates instructor?
I was drawn to Pilates because of my dancing background and my passion for movement. I was also led to Pilates because of my poor posture and back injury. Pilates has helped me maintain the flexibility and stability that my body needs. It also compliments the various other activities that I participate in such as running and hockey.
You left the wellness space for a while to work in management consulting, what made you come back?
I returned to the wellness industry because I love working with people and helping them lead a more balanced and healthier lifestyle. I realized what sitting at a desk did to my posture and I missed helping people in pain and that have injuries return to activity and to lead a better quality of life.
Megan, you started out working for a large corporate bank, what drew you towards the wellness industry and pilates in particular?
Pilates caught my attention when I learnt more about the philosophy behind it. I am passionate about the pilates philosophy. As they say ‘the proof is in the pudding’ we have seen how it eases the aging process with Joseph himself as well as Ramona Krysanowksa. The idea of working the body inside out appeals to me and the side effects of strength, length, flexibility and balance is a bonus. Also experiencing the lifestyle of the corporate world and sitting at a computer or desk from 8am-5pm, convinced me of how desperately in need people are for Pilates.
What do you think are the greatest benefits of pilates?
Sian: It helps develop the deeper muscles, a stronger core and builds strength without adding bulk. It also balances strength with flexibility, which helps create a younger spine and more evenly conditioned body. It improves sports performance, and prevents injuries. You achieve the perfect harmony between mind and body. I always feel relaxed, taller and more connected after doing Pilates and that is why I just love Pilates.
Megan: There are endless benefits from practicing Pilates. Some of the most prominent for me include working your body symmetrically, stretching and strengthening muscles simultaneously, oxygenating the body with breath, lifting the internal organs, making the inside body ‘younger’ and flexibility. One just needs to feel the effects of a great Pilate’s workout and flow to get hooked.
Sian, you mention feeling ‘more connected’ after doing pilates could you elaborate on this?
Pilates is a full body workout. After I have done a Pilates class I feel like all the right muscles have been used and my body feels like it has been rewired to function better. We all tend to breathe short shallow breathes due to our fast paced lifestyles and increased stress levels. Pilates reminds you to breathe correctly and this allows you to manage your daily stress better. Proper breathing, body alignment and precise movements are the principles of Pilates. By emphasizing concentration of breathing with movement, the exercise not only builds awareness of the body but also enhances mental clarity.
Who would say could benefit from pilates?
Sian: Pilates allows for various exercises to be modified from beginner to advanced and also in terms of the individual’s specific goals, needs or limitations. Therefore any individual can participate in Pilates.
Megan: I would encourage just about everyone to practice Pilates, women and men of all ages. Most of us suffer from incorrect posture and insufficient breathing techniques. Pilate’s large variety of exercises makes it possible to modify the workout depending on the clients needs, for example it can be treated as rehabilitation, strengthening or stretching for the muscles. There have been particularly good results seen in golfers, horse riders, children and dancers. I maintain it is never too late or too early to start.
You took me for a class (see the youtube clip below) and put together a free printable with the exercises for our readers to follow at home – yay! – Why did you choose these exercises in particular?
These 10 exercises have been chosen to help improve core strength. This is a mat sequence so it is easy to do at home with no equipment. The exercises are also basic so all people that are new to Pilates can start with. These exercises prepare the body in the correct way to advance onto more complex Pilate’s exercises. This sequence should also only take about 10 minutes to complete. If these exercises are done regularly the results of increased flexibility and a stronger core should be visible very quickly.
You can follow the exercises on the youtube clip below and download the PDF with these 10 exercises HERE
Get in touch with Sian & Megan
Sian has Pilates studio’s based in Morningside and Parkwood – you can get in touch with her on:
082 351 1111
Megan teaches and practices Pilates from a studio based in Houghton as well as Sian Collins Biokinetics and Pilates in Parkwood. You can get in touch with her on:
082 664 2432
WATCH THE YOUTUBE CLIP TO FOLLOW THE EXERCISES AT HOME:
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