Pilates for Stretching and Toning the Muscles

Founded by Joseph Pilates, the Pilates Exercise Method is one of the most popular fitness trends today. Pilates is an exercise method that combines different body movements that will strengthen, stretch, and control the muscles and body. It uses breathing, concentration, and core exercises to accomplish these goals. KX Pilates dee why is an addictive workout that gives you real results.

The Pilates Method of Exercise seeks to improve the over-all health and well-being of its participants. The mind works in conjunction with the muscles to strengthen the back and abdomen, or core muscles and increase flexibility there. Another benefit is that it increases lung capacity, because exercises incorporate deep breathing while exercising.

For many years, it has been gathering the momentum of increases popularity. The rich and famous seem to be drawn to the Pilates Method, with Marissa Tomei, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Roberts, among others who are practicing and loving the Pilates Method. So, why are so many people turning to Pilates to get fit? If there are so many famous people and others using it, Pilates must have some great benefits.

There are a couple of different ways to exercise using this Method. One way involves primarily the floor exercises, which are less expensive and more convenient than conventional classes. The only equipment needed to practice the floor exercises is a floor mat and a trainer or video. If you can’t afford a personal trainer, then you need to go with the video option. There are many reliable video programs available now with certified Pilates instructors doing the teaching. Be cautious when working without a trainer because the Pilates exercises could cause injury if done improperly.

The other way to exercise is to join a gym that has Pilates machines and equipment and regular classes and certified instructors on staff. These types of gyms usually involve some sort of membership with monthly or yearly fees.

Whichever way you choose to exercise using the Pilates Method, you need to be comfortable, so wear light clothes, such as tights and a tank top. You should stay focused when the instructor teaches you how to breath and move properly. There is no way to accomplish your goals if you do not stay focused and disciplined enough to do the exercises the right way.

Any participant should begin the program with the simplest of routines, working his way up to more advanced and complex routines. Using this method, you will be less likely to suffer an injury while exercising.

The Pilates Method of Exercise focus mainly on increasing strength and flexibility, so two 50 minute sessions only burn about 250 calories. Therefore, you need to combine Pilates with some sort of cardiovascular exercises, like fast walking or swimming, that will burn more calories for optimum health.

You shouldn’t join the Pilates Method of Exercise just because it’s the popular thing to do. If you participate for those reasons, you will fail to achieve any long-term fitness goals. However, if you stick with the program and stay focused, it will help you by conditioning your muscles and mind. You will soon began to see subtle changes in your muscle tone and flexibility, which will make your daily tasks easier, your body stronger, and your mind calmer. The Pilates Method of Exercise is a great workout with many benefits for anyone. However reformer pilates Northern Beaches will be right there once your are injured.

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Pilates Vs Yoga – A New Viewpoint

If you pay attention in workshop that conducted by Pilates teacher training Sydney you will really lose weight. Which is better? How are they similar? how are they different? This review of two of the most popular forms of exercise is a brief but comprehensive viewpoint from one of today’s leading Pilates instructors who has also taught yoga for many 35 years.


Pilates and yoga are oddly similar and at the same time deeply different when it comes to breathing. Both methods emphasize breathing, but take it in different directions.

Breathing is one the most important principle in Pilates. Joseph Pilates, the founder, stressed breathing in his books and in his instruction.

According to my teacher and ‘Pilates Elder’ Mary Bowen, Joseph Pilates never developed any special breathing mechanics, though several techniques were developed after his death by some of his students. Joe Pilates did create breathing patterns to accompany each exercise, natural breathing that allows full and frequent breaths while you move. The effect is exhilarating, and in fact, Pilates is known for being energizing rather than exhausting even after the most rigorous workout.

Yoga far exceeds Pilates in the development of particular breathing mechanics. The complexity and depth of pranayama (breathing) yoga techniques include breathing through different nostrils in different patterns of inhalation, exhalation and holding the breath, all designed to create and move energy in the body. I’ve explored breathing techniques in Pilates and yoga and have found both to be highly energizing.

Mind and Body

Few exercise methods connect the mind and the body like Pilates and yoga.

Focussing your attention on your movement is key to both methods. Yoga goes a step further by adding a spiritual or religious dimension with meditation and in certain traditions chanting and devotion to the teacher.


Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. He studied all forms of exercise available in his day including eastern forms such as yoga. He first developed his method nearly 100 years ago.

He moved to New York in the 60’s and first introduced his method to the dance community where it was an instant hit. From there it gained worldwide popularity. It is used by elite athletes, celebrities and physical therapist, and is particularly effective for physical rehabilitation such as back pain.

Since the death of Joe Pilates in the late 60’s, the method has morphed into many schools and fusions such as yogalates, Zumbalates, tangolates and even piloxing (Pilates and boxing).

In contrast yoga goes back thousands of years. The earliest evidence appears on 4500 year old seals from the Indus Valley. Experts agree that the yoga tradition is probably much older. Light on Yoga, universally considered the bible of yoga, lists hundreds of treatments for illnesses using particular yoga positions.

Yaga has also morphed into many different schools and fusions.

No Machinery

Though both methods readily use balls, bands and other props, neither require any equipment. You can do them anywhere and anytime – the ultimate in convenience.

There is specially designed equipment for Pilates, but it is not necessary. In fact, the mat exercise routine which uses no equipment is the original Pilates method which Joe Pilates called ‘Contrology.’


No review of these two exercise methods should ever neglect their distinct forms of stretching. Yet no other discussion I’ve ever read does!

Yoga features static stretching. This means holding a position while your muscles stretch. In contrast, Pilates is dynamic stretch where muscles lengthen while you move. Research indicates more benefits from dynamic stretching due to increased muscle recovery and decreased risk of injury.

Speaking from personal experience as a teacher and practitioner of both Pilates and hatha yoga, I find static stretch wonderful for relaxation and stress relief. On the other hand, I find dynamic stretch a better choice for joint and back pain relief and for improving athletic performance.

Strength and Cardio

Exercise science has proven that our bodies need 3 distinct kinds of exercise – strength training, stretching and cardiovascular conditioning popularly referred to as cardio or aerobics. These three essential exercises are rarely included in one method. Pilates always includes 2 – stretching and strength training. Advanced Pilates mat exercises also include cardio for an unusually complete exercise method.

By contrast yoga is primarily stretching and rarely includes strength training or cardio. There are exceptions such as the very athletic forms of yoga found in the Iyengar, Ashtanga and Bikram methods.

Which Is Better?

I believe I can offer an interesting perspective on this question, because I’ve practiced and taught both for nearly 4 decades. In my experience you get more of a spiritual dimension from yoga, as well as relaxation. However, research shows that any exercise is very effective at relieving stress. But if you want a complete exercise with strength building, stretching and cardio, Pilates is my favorite choice.

Bob is an advanced certified Pilates instructor with nearly 4 decades of experience. He was taught by the ‘Pilates Elder’ Mary Bowen, and is the author of several popular instructional ebooks and videos specializing in the original athletic style of Pilates mat exercise. Click here for more Pilates videos!

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Amazing Discovery – Using Pilates to Relieve Chronic Neck Pain

Pilates Northern Beaches is a method of exercise and physical movement that is suitable for people of all ages & abilities, and is designed to strengthen, stretch and balance the body. Neck muscles becomes tired and stressed from long hours of holding the same position. It happens only when you sit for hours and hours in front of a computer. It’s no surprise that one of the most common health conditions of our time is neck pain.

Neck pain and sore neck are usual complaints associated with simple everyday activities like reading for hours in the same position, holding the arms still like carrying your babies when she or he is asleep. If your posture is bad, you don’t realize all these can place strain and stress on the muscles, tissues, tendons, and ligaments of the neck. These cause the tendons to shorten, ligaments to lose tensile strength, and neck muscles to undergo spasm.

Pilates pain relief exercise methods can help relieve you of all these aches and pains caused by your daily activities, be it at home or at work

Causes and Symptoms of Neck Pain
The neck spine, which we called “Cervical Spine” is a segment of 7 vertebrae – C1 to C7. It is basically made up of bones, joints, and discs held together by muscles, tendons and ligaments. The cervical spine is slightly curved as it comes down from the back of the skull and it is very easy to strain it if not careful. The musculature holding this section is sensitive and tires quickly because it has to support the cervical spine. So if any of these facets get injured, it is likely that you will suffer pain in the neck that may gradually increase over the following days or weeks, which could eventually lead to chronic neck pain.

It is also due to bad posture that contributes to most neck pain, such as sleeping incorrectly, on your stomach or sleeping with no neck support. Most people also get stiff neck by unintentionally sleeping on the wrong pillow or on their arms.

Many people find it hard to sit up with the proper posture for many hours. The hunched forward position for long periods of time means the spine is not properly supported. In fact, it is not in its desired position. Since the same routine happens every single day at work, it will eventually become a vicious cycle that will cause the neck muscles to become tense and sore.

Tips for Using Pilates for Neck Pain Relief

1. Good Form
The objective of pilates neck pain exercises is to release tension and stress and in time to teach yourself how to do it. If you are in some sort of pain, keep the movements soft and gentle. It is also crucial to be always mindful of your own form and posture.

To get an idea of the principle of good form, start by trying to maintain a long neck and a lifted chest that is open, soft and relaxed. To that, add space between the shoulder blades as well as the feeling that your arms are long and they hang lightly from the ends of your shoulders.

2. Train with Professionals
Train with an experienced pilates instructor who has worked with students with the same health history. They are more likely to be able to give specific exercises routines to help you achieve better results in a shorter time. It’s important to inform your pilates instructor about your neck condition so that the right approach can be initiated.

3. Start with Private One on One Session
Your best bet will be to start with private one-on-one sessions as it will cater to your needs better. Group sessions, though small may not help you to achieve your goals. You will have a lot to learn. The results depend on your understanding on how to build a strong sense of awareness. Everyone has a specific mix of reasons for neck and shoulder tension. Therefore, you will need your instructor’s undivided attention in order to learn this.

Pilates exercises for Neck Pain

Pilates focuses on alignment of the spine, engagement of the core muscles and good breathing mechanics, using stretching and strength building methods. The following gentle exercises can relieve the pain caused by tense, knotted neck muscles and at the same time improve posture.

1. Shoulder lifts
Sit on a chair with your back straight as in the tip 1 above. Relax your arms, neck and shoulders. Inhale while lifting the shoulders up, all the way to your ears. Exhale as you let your shoulders drop away from the neck. Repeat the movements five times while maintaining long extended neck alignment.

2. Neck Turns
Rest your hands on the thighs and hold your neck in neutral position, looking straight ahead. Check out that your jaw is straight and parallel to the floor. To start, inhale and exhale gently turn the head to the right side. Inhale again in this position while the neck is being stretched, and then exhale as the head rotates back to the center. Do the same movement this time rotating to the other side. Repeat this drill four more times while maintaining a long neck.

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