To do Pilates well is first to learn how to engage your core muscles, also referred to as your stabilising muscles.
These are the muscles that support your spine and pelvis and when engaged correctly allow for good posture and in turn reduced pain and discomfort throughout the body. A well working core prepares you for optimal movement during physical activities like running, swimming, cycling and also other activities like playing an instrument. Having a strong core helps prepare your body ahead of and post surgery and supports changes in your body throughout pregnancy and post birth. Regular Pilates practice makes you less susceptible to weakness and injury and is also an effective form of movement to counteract prolonged or unnatural positions your body is held in.
The core muscles are engaged effectively through breath work and mindfulness which then helps to reduce stress and improve concentration with what you are doing in the moment.
Clinical Pilates differs from traditional Pilates in the sense that it brings movement right back to the basics and focuses on lumbo pelvic control and stability to ensure to you are moving safely while maintaining core muscle activation. In Clinical Pilates traditional Pilates exercises are modified to allow for this and as the student progresses the modifications adapt to increase the challenge. The goal is to reach a point where high level Pilates exercises can be done with precision and control while maintaining lumbo pelvic stability. Clinical Pilates is beneficial for everyone though particularly for those who have chronic or acute spine and/or pelvis pathology.
While practicing any form of Pilates you should never feel unsupported or strain in your lower back and your neck should never hold tension. The work is done from the deep abdominal area and the benefits of Pilates are more commonly noticed through day to day activity rather than immediately followed by class. Remember the fruit on a tree is the last thing to grow.
Prior to taking any group Pilates class it is advised to spend one on one time with a Clinical Pilates trained professional to properly learn how to engage your core, hold your posture and how to effectively breathe to facilitate keeping your core switched on.
I studied Clinical Pilates through the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute. The form of teaching I am accredited in is specific for health professionals working with clients to prevent and rehabilitate from injury, pre and post birth, general well being.