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Mat Pilates

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

We are excited to announce that we will be adding two new classes to the current timetable with our new Physiotherapist Nicole.

Mondays at 10:30 am

Thursdays at 5:50 pm

Nicole has a certificate IV in Mat Pilates and has been teaching group fitness and exercise classes for almost 10 years. If you're not sure if Pilates is right for you and you want to find out more, keep reading to learn just what it's all about! Alternatively, you can give us a call on 8186 1963 if you have any questions or if you would like to book your spot.

What is Mat Pilates?

Since its inception in 1923, the Pilates method has evolved considerably as a movement form. Mat Pilates is one of the many branches of Pilates and is a form of exercise, which involves using your body weight and often small equipment such as bands, balls, rollers etc. A mat Pilates class has a typical structure, which involves the following six key principles (based on the Polestar Pilates method):

1. Breathing

Breathing is the first and most important principle of Pilates. Pilates explores the relationship between breath and movement: breath can facilitate movement and movement can facilitate breath. For example, think about when you take a big breath in and how it can help lengthen your entire body and expand your chest. Learning how to connect with your breath can not only optimise movement, but also make movement easier.

2. Axial elongation and core control

This essentially refers to good posture and stability. While we know that there is no ‘perfect posture’, good posture can be defined as the ability to move in and out of various positions. Pilates explores this concept of ‘good posture’ through various exercises.

Having good core control helps to optimise the movement of our extremities and our overall function. Often the core is thought of as just the ‘abs’, but the core involves all of the muscles that can help stabilise the trunk and the pelvis. The core muscles include our abdominal, spinal, hip and pelvic muscles.

3. Articulation of the spine

The spine is such an incredible, strong and adaptable part of the human body, with the capacity to move in so many different ways. Our spine is designed to bend forward, backward, twist and more. Pilates explores the myriad of ways the spine can move and helps to maintain and improve spine flexibility. “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young” – Joseph Pilates

4. Alignment and weight bearing of extremities

This refers to exercises, which involve a proportion of body weight being supported by the arms and legs. This principle also involves exploring the ways in which the body can move through space and connects very nicely to principles five and six.

5. Organisation of the head neck and shoulders

Our day to day lives often involve spending a considerable amount of time in the same position. Whether its spending hours studying, reading a book or sitting on the couch for hours. How we move our head, neck and shoulders has a massive impact on movement, function and breath.

6. Movement integration

This is where we bring it all together – here we build a strong relationship between mind and body, through the exploration of breath, core, axial elongation, posture and more. Movement integration is not just about the movement itself, but how and why we perform that movement.

Who can do Mat Pilates?

Pilates is suitable for ANYONE and a qualified Pilates instructor will tailor a class to your individual needs, goals and abilities. Pilates can also be extremely beneficial after an injury or pre/post operatively as a way to gradually build up strength, mobility and confidence to move.

What are the benefits of Mat Pilates?

Like any form of exercise, Pilates has a number of physical and psychological benefits. Pilates is a safe, low impact form of exercise, which helps to promote good posture, flexibility, core strength and control, balance, co-ordination and whole-body strength. What makes Pilates different to general exercise, is the development of awareness and connection of your body in space. This awareness can be applied to our day to day lives to optimise function, improve quality of life and reduce pain. Our bodies were designed to move, and Pilates is just one form of exercise, which allows us to explore moving our bodies in a variety of challenging, fun and different ways. Pilates is also beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing, as it promotes mindfulness through its connection to breath and movement. Mindfulness can help with anxiety and depression and also help to strengthen the immune system and healing, which in turn can help to reduce pain.

Nicole Walker, Physiotherapist, at Saltfleet Clinic


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