POWER OF PILATES

By Kavita Shyam

Don’t we all spend a lot of time on our butts, from our long office hours, chitchatting on the smartphone, glued to the couch/bed; traveling across the globe stuck in an airplane seat or watching our favorites on Netflix! Folks, sitting for that long sans activity can make our body seriously grouchy.  Also not to forget, if you do exercise, the body can get used to the same old workout routine which could be a hindrance in the weight loss process. Hence, it is important to give the body new forms of exercises which will take a while to adapt to. Pilates is a good break from your routine and refreshes your body and mind. Besides, the popular fitness form is a hit with the who’s who of Hollywood, so why not give it a shot? Pull out the mat, try some Pilates exercise to add zing to your daily routine and feel fitter! Look out for these moves to chisel out those perfect curves.

GETTING THE MOST OF PILATES
Pilates or physical mind method, are numerous non-impact exercises designed by Joseph Pilates to develop strength, flexibility, balance, and inner awareness. Pilates workout stretches and exercises get the blood flowing into your back, neck, and legs, re-engaging your core after hours of being lazy. Most importantly, you don’t need any equipment whatsoever, simply some space and a solid wall. Hence, you can do it just anywhere, anytime.

Pilates helps you move better by increasing suppleness, strengthening muscles, tones body, better posture, improves cores strength in back, abs, hips, easy on your joints and improving overall health. This workout routine is low-impact movement patterns which involve the entire body, hence if you are doing other workouts, these will build up your muscles and prevent injury. Pilates makes you aware of your body’s movements, helps in your daily activities, teaches you to train your mind (willpower, giving you further control over everything), build equilibrium and coordination in the body. Pilates gets you to focus on your breath, body, and they coordinate or move together. Therefore it increases concentration & brain power. So while you are at it, forget your bills, work, boyfriends, and other such drama!

Try to indulge Pilates exercises at least thrice a week!

Here are the top 5 Pilates moves to try at leisure.

Double Leg Lower Lift: Lie on the mat with your face up and get your palms under your head with your elbows open. Now spread your legs and raise them upwards keeping them together at the heels and inhale. Try to exhale as you pull your torso up and crunch your belly; you can feel the tension in your back muscles and the abdomen. Retain this position a few seconds and then slowly lower your torso in the mat. Repeat ten times.

Criss Cross: Lie face up on the mat. Place the palms below the head with shoulders apart. Bend your knees and pull it to the shins. Pull your head and shoulders upwards to the base of shoulder blades and exhale. Simultaneously inhale and exhale as you move your left leg out and twist your torso rightwards almost like you are touching the right knee with your left elbow. Inhale while straightening your body and switch legs, exhale as you move the right leg and twist your torso leftwards like you are touching the left knee with the right elbow. Repeat ten times.

Leg Kick: Lie on your left side, raise your torso till the waist and support it with your left arm and elbow and point your head looking to the ceiling. Let your right arm rest on the floor, raise your right leg till hip with the toe pointing upwards, exhale and kick your right leg in the front, count till five and bring it back to its original position. Repeat ten times on both sides.

Leg Circle: Lie flat on the mat with your palms by your side facing the floor. Raise your left leg up with the feet pointing towards the ceiling, make small circles in a clockwise direction with the left foot rotating the leg from the hips. Inhale as you start making the circle and exhale while finishing. Try to keep your posture as comfortably steady as possible and tighten your abs. Make five circles in the clockwise direction followed by anti-clockwise, repeat with both the legs.

BEING A PILATES ENTHUSIAST

Vesna Pericevic Jacob, Holistic Fitness Expert & Author, gives us some philosophy on Pilates: “Pilates represents a unique system of exercises developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates over 90 years ago. When Pilates started teaching his method in NY, he called it Body Contrology, as control and precise execution were crucial to the efficacy of the system.  Pilates was also a visionary in the sense he understood that exercising is never supposed to be unpleasant, uncomfortable or painful. The philosophy behind his teaching was that our body should be treated as one with the attention focused on our central part ‘The Core’ or ‘The Powerhouse.’ Pilates helps develop long, lean muscles, shapes our body, decreases fat, and improves our posture, boosts the immune system and reduces stress and tiredness. It improves our stability, balance, and flexibility. Pilates unifies elements of stretching, ballet, and yoga into an amazingly effective combination that benefits everybody. Pilates has inspired his students to evolve his system through this time, and this is why it has withstood the test of time.  Based on my experience, ancient Eastern traditions of the balance of Life, guided by Pilates principles of the pain-free body that is a ‘prerequisite of happiness’ and supported by a new understanding of the biomechanical science. My interpretation of the system takes the body through all planes of motion while keeping the functionality of the body in mind as well and your personal satisfaction with the way your body performs feels and looks, making it more holistic as a system.

Pilates can be performed by people of all ages, gender, and physical conditions; it is built around efficient, well-aligned human movement – not some humans, but all humans. There are things we focus on like core strength, flexibility, and balance but the exercises are adapted appropriately for each body using them. Having said that, Pilates is a great friend of the pre and postnatal woman. Pilates helps with balance, flexibility, and coordination as it promotes overall fitness. Adjusting the effort level required for Pilates exercises is easy.  Pilates, as moderate resistance training, is very compatible with bone health programs. These are some of the reasons seniors are signing up for Pilates classes. There are many great exercises in the system, notably ‘hundred.’ The hundred is a dynamic warm-up for the abdominals and lungs. Rolling Up challenges the abdominal muscles, and is also called Pilates Flat Abs Exercise. The teaser is one of those abdominal exercises that shows us whether we are working our abs in a symmetrical way. Plank, or front support, is another well-known exercise. It is one of the most popular exercises for developing core strength and stability.’