If you have never tried pilates, chances are you may have a few ideas of what a class entails and the common benefits. While pilates hasn’t quite gained the popularity that yoga has in recent years, many experts will eagerly attest to the benefits that a pilates practice offers- in both body and mind. Pilates is so effective, and so powerful, that when taught properly, it can make your entire body stronger and more flexible in no time at all. Aside from strength and flexibility, Pilates can assist with everything from improved posture to better breathing, greater mood, and noticeable weight loss and tone. The effects can even be felt after a single class, and after a week or month, chances are you will be hooked for life!
Pilates has been eagerly requested on our Bali women’s retreat for some time, and we are excited to now launch our Luxury Pilates Retreat! We know first hand the benefits of a Pilates practice, and just how incredibly effective it is on a holistic level. Our Luxury Pilates Retreat is perfect for all levels, and as you will read below, it is the perfect way to either jump-start or deepen your love affair with a practice that will not only transform your body but also your life and longevity.
10 Ways Pilates Can Change Your Life
It will tone & work your entire body
Many forms of modern exercise work on developing certain areas of the body while disregarding others. Pilates trains the body as an integrated whole and workouts promote balanced muscle development. Pilates is virtually unmatched in relation to total body toning and conditioning, as well as increasing flexibility and range of motion for the joints. Pilates may be gentle but it is also challenging and focuses on body placement and increasing awareness of your body’s entire resource system. In Pilates, you engage the mind to move the body as an integrated whole in tandem with the breath, with the utmost grace, control, and precision. While Pilates may not have quite the same effect as interval training or a 10km run, it does include a dose of cardiovascular exercise and will be sure to rev up your heart rate. If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body- it is well known and loved for creating long, strong muscles, improving muscle tone, balancing musculature and improving posture. These combined benefits leave you looking and feeling like a brand new person.
It will make you stronger
Pilates doesn’t build muscles in the same way a weights program at the gym does. Pilates works to build long, lean, toned muscles that work perfectly within the context of your body as a whole. Pilates exercises strengthen the weaker muscles and give the dominant muscles a break by demanding that you work symmetrically. It also makes you more aware of your body, enhancing coordination, balance, and power. Fewer repetitions with the greatest precision and control means that you get the most out of your workout, and your focus and determination grow exponentially. The result is greater overall muscular stamina with less effort. Building whole body strength enhances every single movement you make in daily life and improves the functional fitness needs that you require as you move through life.
It will make you more flexible
Pilates isn’t about striving to get your legs behind your head or breaking out into full splits.
Pilates works toward a safe increase in length and stretch of the muscles and the range of motion within the joints Just as Pilates aims to build a level of muscular strength that will enhance and complement your everyday life and activities, so do does it aim to create a body that can stretch and bend to meet the flow of daily life. It creates practical strength and flexibility.
Pilates is perfect for all levels, and is certainly not only designed for those who already have a greater degree of natural flexibility. Studies have shown that just 20 Pilates sessions can result in a 20% increase in flexibility. A Pilates workout is about strengthening and stretching—and this combination is the perfect way to ease tight muscles and create a more limber and subtle body.
It will transform your core
Chances are if you know only one thing about Pilates, it is related to the core. The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These are the muscles we rely on to support a strong, supple back, good posture, and efficient movement patterns. When the core is strong, the body is supported. Having a strong, engaged and effective core not only means nice flat abs! It means a strong, relaxed and well functioning body.
Most Pilates moves require you to keep proper alignment and challenge your stability to stay balanced, which requires you to engage your midsection. The core lessons developed in a Pilates practice ideally continue beyond the Pilates studio and into the daily movements and actions of your life. Studies have shown that just 12 weeks of a Pilates routine, results in improved core strength.
Your Posture will improve
A strong core goes a long way towards a good posture. Pilates encourages you to utilise your core muscles, and also focus on proper alignment in the body. A good posture doesn’t just look physically appealing, it offers you a safe and steady base to move through life. A good posture sets you up for greater ease and grace in daily movements, as well as supporting your body as it ages. From helping to reduce back and neck pain, to easing tension in the body and preventing injury, a good posture is something that will carry you through life, literally! A key focus in Pilates is maintaining good alignment and balance through all the exercises. This creates a strong back, glutes, and abs which work together to form a perfect posture.
You will have more energy
Pilates is a practice that offers you more energy, rather than depletes your energy. The movements are slower and require mindful exertion. Pilates gets the breath and circulation moving, stimulates the spine and muscles, and floods the body with endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Pilates is the perfect pick-me-up for when you want a workout without it feeling overly strenuous and taxing.
It will increase awareness & mindfulness
Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates was about the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Every single Pilates exercise is done with total attention; the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. Pilates is similar in this regard to the practice of yoga, which promotes consciousness and mindfulness. Pilates sees physical activity as a way to restore total oneness and create harmony in body, mind and spirit. Slow focused movements, attention on the breath, the calm and tranquil surroundings and the concentration of the mind on the present moment is a powerful way to increase awareness. This clearing out of the mind does wonders for our stress levels and overall mood levels. Pilates inspires this awareness to move beyond the practice and into daily life.
Your aches & pains may disappear
Modern-day life is not all that supportive of a pain-free body. We all sit for too many hours at our computers, we drive instead of walk, we spend too much time on our phones, we live a more sedentary lifestyle, and consequently, we suffer from body pain and tension. Pilates is a powerful antidote to these modern day woes! The focus on the stabilizing core muscles of the torso helps to support the spine and surrounding major muscle groups. This helps to protect the vertebrae, ligaments and discs that can often suffer as a result of repetitive trauma and habitual patterns of movement. Studies have shown that those with chronic lower back pain who practiced Pilates for just four weeks experienced more relief than those who visited a physician and other specialists.
improve your memory & support brain health
Studies that measured changes in women’s brain activity after 10 weeks of Pilates training found an increase in the brain’s alpha peak power, which is related to neural network activity, memory performance, and other cognitive functions. From our late 20’s, we start to lose about 1% of the volume of our hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for memory and cognitive function. Scientists have only recently found that our brains can create new cells, thus slowing down or reversing brain shrinkage. Studies have proved that exercise improves the creation of new brain cells as well as protects existing cells. Furthermore, mindful movement practices have shown to increase brain functioning. Pilates offers a practice that can result in better memory, lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease, better learning and problem solving, a higher IQ and more. Researchers believe Pilates may even hold potential as a treatment option for people with brain-degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions.
It will help you manage & reduce your stress levels
A Pilates class is physically and mentally refreshing and rejuvenating. Pilates has been shown to help relieve anxiety and depression, assist insomnia, manage chronic pain, boost mood, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress levels. Just like meditation, Pilates allows you to concentrate your attention on one thing – your body – and requires you to clear your mind of any distractions. Pilates also works to relieve tension built up in the muscles through gentle stretching and gradual conditioning. When you move stress out of your body, you also help to move it out of your mind. Just like yoga, Pilates has also been shown to offer stress-busting benefits and help you to feel more grounded, balanced and in control. Pilates also triggers a chain of chemical responses in the body, releasing endorphins, which work to reduce stress and create overall feelings of wellbeing and joy.
If you have reached the bottom of this article, chances are you are already looking forward to a Pilates class! If you would like to start a Pilates practice, or deepen an existing practice, our Luxury Women’s Pilates Retreat is the ideal way to dive into a week of Pilates alongside yoga, meditation and spa pampering! Find out more about our Bali Pilates Retreat HERE.
Your Escape Haven Bali Retreat offers a luxury wellness experience for body, mind and soul
We invite you to experience our award-winning Bali retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and reconnect with yourself on a deeper level, we’d love to help you rejuvenate, unwind, reawaken and experience the very best of Bali. Dive into transformational yoga and meditation classes, exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness classes and restorative healing sessions. How much or little you do is all up to you.