Written by Ellen Raftery Henderson
International Pilates Day is an annual, international community event celebrated on the first Saturday of May. The mission is to promote Pilates to the public, spreading awareness of the Pilates method and its benefits to the body. Many studios offer complimentary classes and sessions, and with the current health pandemic, many will be turning to digital classes to celebrate this year on May 2!
The warmer weather and desire for a change of scenery is an incentive to get outside and move for the cardio portion of our workouts, but it is equally important and beneficial to add a strengthening and toning workout to achieve overall fitness and an injury-free physique. Pilates provides the perfect balance. Pilates offers a multitude of formats, or apparatus, but with the classic mat work you need no equipment and can easily do it from home with a yoga mat or towel. The mat is where the work began with Joseph Pilates and is the truest form of the modality. The apparatus, including the Reformer, Chair, Cadillac and Ladder Barrel, all came AFTER the mat work was developed. These later inventions were a means to work with the general population who were not as flexible as the ballet dancers Joe typically worked with.
Pilates will make you better at whatever physical activity you enjoy most. Whether you are a beginner to exercise or an elite athlete, Pilates, when added to your routines, will enhance all other activities you do and help to provide injury-free enjoyment in your day-to-day life. Like most of us in our youth, I concentrated only on physical regimens that were cardio based…if I wasn’t sweating a river and pushing myself to nausea, why bother? After repeated running injuries, a fellow runner recommended Pilates. I began taking lessons and have never suffered another injury since. The physical and mental benefits of a Pilates practice are undeniable when done two to three times a week.
As we navigate isolation and social distancing during this current health crisis, staying mindful is key to surviving the challenges we all face over the coming weeks and months. My desire to stay mindful of my own wellness has led me to prioritize physical activity as a crucial means to staying strong and releasing stress. I luckily have a home studio for my own personal practice but decided to join my isolating clients and forego the equipment for mat work to see the most exponential results in my own personal practice over this period. I can honestly say that I am grateful for my decision and know you will be too if you decide to add a little Joseph Pilates mat work to your routine.
Many studios, including ours, are offering pre-recorded and live classes online to make Pilates, for beginners to advanced, available to the public to help keep moving ahead of studios opening up again.
Consider Pilates to enhance your everyday life or to improve your running form, golf swing or tennis shot. Stay healthy!