Pilates is often confused with Yoga and Tai Chi, however there is a difference. Pilates is a name given to a set of body mind and spirit techniques that shape up the body and enable it to acquire higher levels of flexibility, durability, endurance power and an improved state of over all health. All the health benefits are acquired without the addition of bulks of muscle. Pilates improves the blood circulation, shapes up the body and ensures a state of equilibrium. Basically this set of techniques is done on a mat and the focus remains on the trunk or torso of the body.
The father of Pilates, Joseph Hubertus Pilates founded the Pilates movement in the 1920's. Joseph was born in Germany in 1880. His parents were award winning gymnasts. However, Joseph as a child suffered from asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets. But this did not deter him, he was self motivated and went on to become an expert skier, gymnast and diver. He was overly absorbed in the subjects concerning physical and mental well being, so he also researched and received training in yoga and other ancient systems of alternate health. In the 1920s he devised a unique sequence of movements that worked the mind and muscle in harmony which was previously referred to as Contrology and now is popularly known as Pilates. Joseph always believed that the body and the mind are interrelated and interdependent. His belief reflects in his set of techniques as it engages the body as well as the mind at one time.
Pilates is practiced by many people all over the world and each and everyone who applies this method has experienced positive effects over their posture, a better control over breath, improved vitality and better muscular flexibility, just to name a few. With a stress on the breath, over all conditioning and raised consciousnesses, Pilates is an efficacious and safe way to streamline the body without a lot of stress and building up of muscle. The health benefits of Pilates method are many. It helps in reduction of lower back pain, strengthening of the abdominal muscles, improves the posture, firms up the buttocks, results in a leaner and toned body, accelerates the recovery from an injury and imparts an overall sense of well being.
The health benefits of Pilates are plenty. Moreover, it has been ascertained that Pilates will continue to be amongst the top fitness trends in the coming years, predominately for its focus to the mind-body association.