I tore my ACL into three pieces when I was 16. Because I had a terrible surgeon, I spent most of my senior knee in an immobilizer. The terrible job done by the second rate hack surgeon came back to roost in 2003, when I had to have two surgeries to fix the damage: the first to remove all the horrible hardware the initial surgeon put in (most too large for my bone structure) and to band the bones from all of the fractures, and the second to reconstruct the knee ligaments as best as the new knee surgeon could. All of this knee talk is to say that I initially found out about Pilates’ system of Contrology in my 20’s, when I went looking for an exercise regimen I could participate in between those two surgeries. I found Pilates’ system when I went looking for something that was “little to no impact” ( to help me after so much injury) while still being effective.
Once I had taken my search to the internet to figure out the best sort of exercises (trust me this was a weird approach in 2003), I stumbled on the work of Joseph Pilates. The more I read, the more I knew that his system was the sort of exercise I wanted to try, and after consulting with my knee surgeon and physical therapist I was certain. If you want to learn Pilates’ system of exercise, you absolutely should (and do check with those medical professionals!), because you might love it for the same reasons I do.
Nearly no equipment = relatively cheap hobby.
I have a beautiful mat (I think). Other than that, I bring myself to the mat. I have a video that I’ve bought four times now, of some great soloists performing the exercises, but other than that, I haven’t invested any money in Pilates. You can absolutely go the route of going to the studio. I might one day seek out one of the lineages instructors, but I don’t feel a pressing need to do so — the exercises are straight forward. Plus, these days we have Youtube, and you can actually just watch Romana Kryzanowska lead a class and talk about Pilates.
But — once you understand the exercises and their order you don’t even need a video!https://www.youtube.com/embed/O5vCQic-IPE?feature=oembedRomana was Pilates’ greatest student, and this class includes Peter Fiasca, who is an amazing pilates soloist and one of the folks from my favorite Pilates demonstration video.
When they say little or no impact, they mean little or no impact.
It’s that simple — the mat exercises do not include heavy impact on the joints, which really makes it a great set of exercises. Even with my knee as bad as it was, I was still able to perform modifications on most exercises. And speaking of those modifications . . .
Exercises are adaptable for every skill level.
What’s great about the Pilates system that I use is that it’s the same exercises in the same order (I have a lot of theories on why my psychology is such that I crave that sort of repetition and predictability in my exercises), and they are very modifiable for anyone.
There’s always a way to challenge yourself.
Even with as many years as I’ve been doing the hundred and the teaser, I still see room for improvement. Once I start feeling pretty confident, I change the exercises to the more challenging version.
It takes a lot of joints through a huge range of motion.
All of the exercises are meant to ‘challenge the position of your powerhouse’ but to fire up that core, it takes moving your legs and arms quite a bit. This is astounding for not only stretching, but strengthening as well.
I can clock in a significantly challenging Pilates mat workout in a bit over a half an hour for the mat exercises. If you want even MORE of Pilates’ Contrology in your life, you can look into an apparatus like the Reformer. In his works, Joseph Pilates emphasized consistency, and highly encouraged daily mat workouts.
The breath-centered exercises of Pilates can help center the mind.
Joseph Pilates emphasized the importance of the flow of the breath during the exercises. Many are dictated by the flow of the breath, and would be challenging if you weren’t constantly working with the breath. All of this focus on the breath helps center my mind.
Hopefully these seven reasons help encourage you to discover the work of Joseph Pilates — you can grab a mat and find a good workout routine on Youtube — I hope it brings as much to your life as it has brought to mine!
By Jamie Toth, The Somewhat Cyclops on .
Exported from Medium on December 5, 2021.