The great Joseph Pilates once said, ‘Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness’. Today, we wanted to know how we ‘get there’ with the help of Pilates, so we interviewed one of the best Pilates Instructors out there, Mariam Amer.
Can you introduce the concept of ‘Pilates’ to those who are not familiar with it?
I want to start with a very interesting fact. Pilates is not a ‘trend’ like most people think, it’s a very ancient concept in the fitness field.
What are the different types of Pilates?
There are two types of Pilates, the classical and the contemporary.
Classical Pilates: sticks as closely as possible to Joseph Pilate’s original work. This means his original exercises and the order in which they were performed. al version. Another key feature of classical Pilates is the position of the pelvis in the mat work. Classical Pilates will generally teach abdominal exercises in a “posterior tilt” meaning that when laying on one’s back the lower spine is completely pressed into the floor, creating a tuck in the pelvis.
Contemporary pilates: is based on the work of Mr. Pilates but has been modernized by adjusting the exercises to fit with modern research and has a heavy influence on physical therapy and biomechanics. Many exercises remain the same, but a whole new slew of exercises have been added, or variations have been added allowing for injury rehabilitation and creativity by the instructor. Contemporary Pilates will generally teach exercises in a “neutral pelvis” or the position one’s spine is in when standing upright in a healthy posture. When lying on one’s back the lower spine will have some space between the back and the floor, and the hip points and the pubic bone will all be on one plane.
There is no one right approach to doing Pilates. Every client is different. The instructor is the one who decides which approach to follow for each case.
What are some benefits of Pilates?
The benefits of Pilates are COUNTLESS. Some of them are
- Improved flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
- Balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
- Enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
- Improved stabilization of your spine
- Improved posture
- Rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
- Improved physical coordination and balance
- Relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
- Safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
- Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
- Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- Improved concentration
- Increased body awareness
- Stress management and relaxation.
Can a pregnant woman do Pilates?
Definitely yes! A pregnant woman can do Pilates from day one until the last day of pregnancy. Pilates is extremely useful for each trimester; It makes a world of a difference to a woman’s body during and after pregnancy.
Personally, I am a mum of a two years old baby girl and I used to teach Pilates when I was pregnant and it has helped me so much. Of course, you need to get your gynecologist’s permission first because not every pregnancy is similar or as stable.
Pilates plays a very important role in the recovery phase as well, whether a woman had a natural delivery or a c-section. Basically, it restores the strength to the muscles that deteriorate throughout pregnancy and delivery especially to those who had c-sections.
What’s the most common myth that people believe about Pilates?
A lot of people nowadays seem to think that Pilates is a feminine sport and it’s just about stretching, which is absolutely wrong. Pilates is a sport for the vast majority of people; whether you’re an athlete or someone with no fitness background, a male or a female, old or young, Pilates is for you. Pilates is for everyone.