Pilates is a popular form of exercise that uses a mat or a special apparatus to strengthen the body, increase flexibility, improve posture as well as promote calmness and mental awareness. Like yoga, it is not a high-impact workout, but its series of movements and poses offer a total body workout. Pilates improves your posture and strengthens your core.
You can search online to find pilates classes in Singapore. Due to increasing interest, most health clubs and gyms now offer classes. If you’re interested to try Pilates, here are 5 principles to take note of:
- Proper Breathing
Proper breathing opens up the body and relaxes tense muscles. It is not ideal to start a pilates or yoga class when one is tense. Proper breathing techniques are taught in order to supply the muscles with enough oxygen while doing the exercises. This prevents tension and tight muscles which will leave you unable to execute the moves properly. Relaxed and full breaths are essential to concentration and focus.
- Pelvic Position
Posture is extremely important in pilates. The pelvic positions can either be neutral or imprinted. The neutral placement follows the natural curve of your lower back. The hip bones as well as the pubic bones should be positioned parallel to the mat. Remember not to arch your back during neutral placement.
- Correct Rib Cage Placement
Proper breathing engages the rib cage and its position has a direct effect on the alignment of your spine. When lying on the mat, avoid lifting off or pushing your ribs. You should also take note of where it is positioned as you do overhead arm movements. Remember to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
- Solid Shoulders
Solid and stable shoulders are essential in avoiding neck strain during exercises. To find proper placement, don’t round your shoulders too much, nor should you squeeze them together towards your spine. Square your shoulders and find a natural position. They should be stable but not rigid.
- Head and Neck
Posture is key in not sustaining injuries in Pilates classes. Sometimes, students are allowed to use a small pillow when lying on their back so that the neck and head are in a comfortable position. You can do this initially, but should learn the correct position as you progress.
You can watch online videos of Pilates to become familiar with the exercises but it is not advisable to rely only on that. Look for classes where a trained and skilled instructor can guide you. Once you’ve mastered the exercises and correct posture, you can then opt to do pilates classes at home.