5 reasons why you should try a Mat Pilates Class

by Amanda Tolchard

As Young as your Spine is Flexible? Mat Pilates gets to your core, your deep centre.

1. It improves your breathing

Breathing is important in Mat Pilates. Pilates breathing is described as lateral breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing meaning that the practitioner is instructed to breathe deep into the back and sides of their rib cage. When practitioners exhale, they are instructed to connect their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement as they inhale. Pilates attempts to coordinate this breathing practice with movement, including breathing instructions with every exercise. Over time and with practice the connection of these deeper core muscles during breathing becomes automatic.

2. It works your body from the inside out

The centre is the focal point of Pilates, working from the inside out. For practitioners to control their bodies, they must have a starting place: the centre. Once the deep muscles are activated efficiently the outer core can function. In Mat Pilates the physical energy exerted from the centre should coordinate movements of the extremities. Pilates aims for elegant movement that creates flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina, balance in the body and movement of the spine.

3. It improves your yoga practice and other sporting activities

Precision is essential to Mat Pilates. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature and carry over into everyday life and activities as grace and economy of movement.

4. It reduces stress

Pilates can be incredibly powerful in providing a place for the body to relax, rejuvenate and release tension. It also provides a space for the mind to focus on the present moment, leaving worries at the door. The Pilates breath oxygenates the blood which triggers the brain to calm down. The breath creates a physiological response in the body that naturally decreases our stress and anxiety.

5. Improves posture

Using correct alignment while doing Pilates exercises improves posture and safety by correcting muscle imbalances and optimising coordination. This in turn helps to prevent injuries, back pain and can also be modified and used for rehabilitation from an injury.

For more inspiration … click here for a cute short video from Pilates Nerd!

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