Pilates is an exercise that focuses on low-impact, core-centric movements. These are accompanied by special breathing.The practice can be performed on a mat (mat pilates) and/or a pilates machine (also called a pilates reformer).
What Is Pilates?
For those interested in pilates for beginners, it’s best to start at the very beginning: What is pilates?
In short, here’s a pilates definition that hits all the main points:
Pilates is an exercise that focuses on low-impact, core-centric movements. These are accompanied by special breathing. The practice can be performed on a mat (mat pilates) and/or on pilates equipment. The goal of pilates is to strengthen and tone. At the same time, it can help increase flexibility and improve posture.
Pilates vs Yoga
Pilates vs yoga: What’s the difference?
Pilates and yoga meaning are sometimes confused as the same practice. However, it’s important to note that the two practices are unique.
Yoga tends to encompass more mind training than pilates. On a continuum, for example, yoga would be closer to meditation than would pilates.
Pilates tends to focus on refining the mechanics of the body. Its goals are improved flexibility, core strength, and posture. Though yoga can also help improve these areas, it is usually gentler and softer. It also tends to include more static poses (depending on which class you decide to take).
Despite these differences, yoga and pilates are also alike in many ways.Both practices focus on breathing and promote health and wellness. Both offer a wide range of health benefits.
Pilates is the perfect discipline for a beginner looking to strengthen and tone. With only a mat, you can create and strengthen a deep awareness to your core, ultimately improving many things! I'm always amazed to watch my clients transform their posture, confidence and strength in everyday activities
Who Was Joseph Pilates?
Joseph Pilates is the founder of pilates. Along with his wife Clara, Joseph developed the practice after working in a British hospital. There he helped patients who could not walk during World War I.
After emigrating to America from Germany, the couple opened a pilates studio in New York in 1926. Because English was not their first language, Pilates developed a unique hands-on approach to teaching — one that is still used today.
Can Anyone Do a Beginner Pilates Workout?
Yes! What’s most wonderful about this practice is that anyone can do it. Pilates is for men, women, seniors, kids — the list goes on and on.
You need to ensure that you’re starting with the best exercises to fit your physical fitness level. This can easily be achieved by working with a skilled pilates instructor.
Your instructor will be able to assess your optimal starting point. They can also help you learn the proper use of your pilates machine and other pilates equipment and create a lower and upper body workout routine that addresses all your goals.
The Benefits of Pilates Exercises
Here are some of the main benefits of pilates:
- Better posture and balance
- Refined flexibility
- Reduced injury risk
- Improved stamina during other workouts
- Enhanced muscle tone
- Deeper breathing
- Improved strength, especially in the core
25 minutes workout
Whether you’re doing a 25 min total body strength workout for women or a simple beginners class, here are some added benefits of pilates for new moms:
- Help heal diastasis recti after birth
- An uplifting and energizing way to have “me time”
- Improved pelvic floor strength
Pilates equipment may or not be required, depending on your class. For mat pilates, for example, you need nothing but your mat. Of course, you may be asked to use props such as stability balls, toning balls, a pilates ring, foam rollers, etc.
You can also practice on a pilates reformer. There are different types of reformers available.
When taking classes at a pilates studio, your instructor will have reformers there for you to use. Conversely, if you’re interested in purchasing one for your home, you should speak with your instructor about the best option.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pilates
What is pilates?
Pilates is a fitness method that was developed by Joseph Pilates early in the 20th century. The practice focuses on improving core strength, flexibility, and postural alignment.
Pilates for beginners focuses on simply learning the basics and synchronizing the breath with physical movements. But pilates can easily be used to get an intense full body workout as well.
What are hip dips?
Hip dips are the slight indentations sometimes visible directly below the hip bones in someone’s silhouette.
For some, hip dips are undesirable. Some may prefer to have a more continuous outward curve on the hips. Pilates-based hip dips exercises can help create the latter silhouette.
How do I get rid of hip dips?
Hip dips exercises based in pilates teachings can help get rid of hip dips. The core goal of these exercises is to build muscle and bulk in target areas on the hips while losing fat in other areas.
Where can I find pilates classes near me?
Looking for a pilates studio near me? As Anahana proudly offers a range of digital pilates solutions, we always have pilates near you!
Our instructors are all professionally Pilates Certified. They have years of experience teaching students of all skill levels.
What kind of workout is pilates?
Pilates is a low-impact workout, but don’t assume it can’t make you sweat! Depending on the type of pilates class you choose, you may get anything from a gentle introduction to pilates for beginners, to an intense pilates core workout.
Do you offer pilates classes?
Yes! We offer a range of pilates for beginners. All of our classes help promote a balanced mind, balanced body, and balanced breathing. You will receive a full body workout.
For moms, whether your goal is to maintain strength in your core during pregnancy or improve your abs with diastasis recti safe exercises after giving birth, we can help. We also have a number of pilates for beginners classes available. Ask about our 25 min total body strength for women class!
Is pilates okay when pregnant?
Yes! In fact, pilates can be an excellent way to effectively workout when pregnant. It’s perfect for a safe full body workout. Just be sure to choose pilates classes or pilates videos that are targeted and safe for pregnancy . Prenatal pilates is different from other types of pilates..
Is pilates safe for diastasis recti?
Yes. Diastasis recti (ab separation) is an especially common challenge for new moms. Fortunately, pilates diastasis recti exercises can help because they focus on improving strength in your core.
Just be sure to share that you are a new mother with your pilates online instructor. Some abdominal movements may actually make diastasis recti worse.
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Written by Clint Johnson
Clint teaches Yoga, Pilates, breathe, and mediation to students and teachers all over the world. Prior to joining the wellness world, CJ as his friends call him, started his career as a MBS derivative trader and portfolio manager on Wall St. Clint is the founder of Anahana, and holds an MBA from INSEAD.