Joseph H. Pilates developed a method originally called “Contrology” which is a mind-body type of exercise. He defined Contrology as “the comprehensive integration of body, mind and spirit.” The principles are related to encouraging the use of the mind to control muscles. It focuses attention on core postural muscles that help keep the human body balanced and provide support for the spine. Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath, alignment of the spine, and strength of the deep torso and abdominal muscles.

Joseph Pilates’s approach is called “classical style”. Some students went on to integrate what they learn with their own research in anatomy and exercise sciences and this approach is called “contemporary style”. Exercise science integrated with the Pilates exercise principles in the 1980s.

Stott Pilates incorporates modern exercise principles and is based on the contemporary method where the aim is to build strength, flexibility and endurance without the risk of injuries. The focus will be on core stability, neutral alignment and breathing. Pilates exercises are designed to restore the natural curvature of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. There are more preparatory exercises and modifications to cater to many different body types and abilities, making it applicable to everyday life.

The benefits of Pilates are longer, leaner muscles; core strength, stability and peripheral mobility; improves balance and coordination; heightens body awareness; balances strength and flexibility; decrease in postural problems and helps to prevent injuries; enhances functional fitness and compliments other forms of exercise.

The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and engaged, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and movement. As the torso is properly stabilized, pressure on the back is relieved and the body is able to move freely and efficiently.

5 basic principles of Pilates:

1. breathing

2. pelvic placement

3. rib cage placement

4. scapular movement

5. head and cervical spine placement