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It would be difficult to find a disease or health related condition that does not benefit from exercise. Likewise, it would be hard to find a form of exercise that would not benefit from Pilates training.

Ask a studio full of Pilates enthusiasts what they feel the greatest benefit has been from their Pilates practice; and you might wonder if they have all been taking the same class. “I feel so relaxed.” “This has cured my back problems.” “I love feeling so challenged and at the same time so refreshed by the end of the session.” “My yoga practice has grown exponentially with my Pilates practice.” “My husband says his golf swing is so much more efficient.”

Pilates is a mind-body conditioning regimen that asks the participant to focus on their breathing, pay attention to postural and alignment basics, and then perform a series of exercises in slow and controlled motions that work to strengthen the core. Each participant is able to work at their own level and gain a mastery appropriate to their abilities, level and injury status.

Think about each activity that you participate in on a daily basis: getting ready for work, commuting to work, lifting laptops or babies or groceries. What if it became almost automatic to do all of these in the best posture and in the strongest positions? What if you stopped injuring your neck, shoulders, lower back? What if you had more energy for your daily activities? What if simple breathing activities could help you refocus your energies for whatever you needed to accomplish at that moment; whether mental or physical?

Sounds like a big claim, doesn’t it? But, think about it. You already do all of these things and have been doing them for years. You’ve stopped thinking about how you are doing them. Developing better awareness of how you use your body, no matter what the method, can make a huge difference in injury prevention and general well-being. Pilates is a fun, easy to get started, challenging system. Like other disciplines such as yoga, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. The harder you work, the stronger you become.

As Marion puts it; “Pilates has made me so aware of my core muscles. I walk ‘taller’ with awareness and even grace. I am aware of how I use my core in all sorts of movements. And, I relax my shoulders!”

Jenny L. Briggs, M.Ed.

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