Functional Pilates 

In other words how Pilates can help us improve the quality of our everyday life, reducing aches, pains and discomfort.

 

'Physical fitness is the first requisite to happiness...the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and vigour'

                                                   Joseph Pilates 

 

In our everyday lives, at work and at home, we perform a range of tasks which involve lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling twisting and turning, sitting or standing in restricted positions or confined spaces for long periods of time. We rarely stop to think about how we are using our bodies to perform these tasks.

 

Pilates develops our mental stamina to sustain focus and concentration on how we move. By so doing, it moves us from dysfunctional postures and patterns of movement towards healthy functional dynamic posture and improved muscle recruitment patterns. The improved movement strategies gradually become our new habits of movement and begin to feel natural within our bodies. This process is essentially the development and refinement of our Body Awareness, through which we remodel our own bodies.

 

The main mechanism in the body involved is the neuromuscular proprioceptive feedback loop, or the brain to body communication systems. Receptors close to the bones continually feed information to the brain, monitoting the alignment of the bones against gravity and the degree of muscle tone or engagement. There is also a peripheral fascial network sytem covering the muscles which is rich in sensory receptors and helps us feel how different parts of the body are positioned in relation to one another and in relation to the space around us. 

We don't have to know any of this to improve the function of our bodies and the quality of our life through Pilates, we simply have to take the time to notice how we are moving and learn  how to feed new information into the system.

 

As you practise Pilates, you will develop a range of movement skills. You will become more aware of the flow of movement in the body. You will be more aware of where each movement initiates from. For each movement or sequence of movements you will be aware of which parts of the body you want to stabilise in space and which parts of the body you want to move, so gaining more control and agility in how you move.

If it sounds difficult, compare it to learning to drive.  There is a stage when you feel there are too many things to focus on at the same time, but soon you are performing the tasks smoothly and unconsciously and it becomes second nature.

 

Pilates Classes ShaftesburyDorset

​© 2014 Colette Sykes