Pilates on the Rooftop. Watch the sundown while you improve your body and mind!
by Cyndee Krantz
The central aim of Pilates is to create a fusion of mind and body, so that without thinking about it the body will move with economy, grace, and balance. Cyndee Krantz believes in using one's body to the greatest advantage, making the most of its strengths, counteracting its weaknesses, and correcting its imbalances.
The method requires that one constantly pay attention to one's body while doing the movements. Paying attention to movement is so vital that it is more important than any other single aspect of the movements.
Of additional importance is the circulation of the blood so that it can awaken all the cells in the body and carry away the wastes related to fatigue.
For the blood to do its work properly, it has to be charged with oxygen and purged of waste gases through proper breathing. Full and thorough inhalation and exhalation are part of every Pilates exercise. Pilates uses forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation. Breathing, too, should be done with concentration, control, and precision. Breathing, not only oxygenates the muscles, but proper breathing reduces tension in the upper neck and shoulders. Pilates breathing is a posterior lateral breathing, meaning when inhaling you breathe deep into the back and sides of your rib cage. At the same time as you exhale you feel the engagement of your deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement as you inhale. It should be properly coordinated with movement. Each exercise is accompanied by breathing instructions.
The very large group of muscles in the center of the body – encompassing the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks is called the “powerhouse” or the “core”.
All energy for Pilates exercises begins from the powerhouse and flows outward to the extremities. Physical energy exerted from the center coordinates one’s movements. It is very important to build a strong powerhouse in order to rely on it in daily living.
Pilates demands intense focus. For instance, the inner thighs and pelvic floor may be accessed when doing a standing exercise that tones the triceps. Beginners learn to pay careful attention to their bodies, building on very small, delicate fundamental movements and controlled breathing. Every Pilates exercise must be performed with the utmost control, including all body parts, to avoid injury and produce positive results. Pilates emphasizes not intensity or multiple repetitions of a movement, but proper form for safe, effective results. Every movement in the Pilates method has a purpose. Every instruction is vitally important to the success of the whole. To leave out any detail is to forsake the intrinsic value of the exercise. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Eventually this precision becomes second nature, and carries over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.