Pilates is a core strengthening discipline which has been around since 1948. However, it has only recently arrived into the Indian fitness World in a big way. Depending on the questions and perceptions about fitness that I have seen around me, I will highlight a few aspects about Pilates.
Pilates is all about CORE. But CORE is not just your abs, it includes your shoulder girdle, your muscles around hips, especially your glutes (buttocks) and your pelvic floor muscles. It includes a big group of muscles along the spine which are responsible for efficient movement and posture and are connected till your neck. Yes, neck is part of your spine!
Pilates improves mobility and flexibility of the spine. It will teach you the difference between being active and being sloppy while performing an exercise movement. It is not an intense type of exercise, so if you are looking for weight loss, you can combine Pilates with other forms of workouts like running, swimming, cycling, dancing, yoga and weight training.
No matter what movement you do, Pilates will help you do it better. This workout is designed to help us MOVE better. Hence, all the muscles you use in Pilates, you will be able to activate them to improve performance or movement OUTSIDE the class. This is one of the biggest benefits of this form of exercise. Pilates combines movements with specific breathing patterns while keeping the body in a certain alignment. First couple of classes can be overwhelming.It may seem like too much information and a lot to think about as you are trying to “feel” the exercise (because your muscles are not used to activating in that pattern).
Lastly always remember a stronger CORE = strength and awareness and flexibility = better activation = better and safer intense workouts = weight loss / muscle gain / fat loss with no injury.
Hence, FORM is KEY in Pilates to get the maximum out of the movement. So be patient, and focus on the basics. Your first exercise that you do perfectly will turn you into a Pilates lover because you will feel that burn while your teacher will monitor on whether you have let your core relax .
Urmi Kothari is the founder of Kinetic Living and conducts private training and bootique group sessions at Tangerine arts studio in bandra five days a week. Follow her on www.kineticliving.in or email [email protected] to know more.

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