Welcome to Dance Fits beginners Pilates page.  We are so excited to be teaching these courses and feel really passionate about the benefits you can achieve through attending. 

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates to develop the complete co-ordination of mind, body and spirit to promote suppleness, muscular power, endurance and posture.  If the correct training is applied the benefits of Pilates include; improved: posture, balance, kinaesthetic awareness, flexibility, joint stability, coordination, muscular strength and endurance.  Greater: joint mobility, core strength/ stability.  Flatter stomach, reduced stress levels, stronger pelvic floor.  Increased efficiency in respiratory and circulatory systems.  Reduced: lower back pain and risk of injury.  Stronger immune system and improved lymphatic drainage.

The Pilates Principle are:
•    Breathing
•    Core Centering
•    Concentration
•    Control
•    Precision
•    Flow

In Pilates we adopt lateral breathing.  This involves inhaling into the lateral (side) area of the rib cage and lower back.  This allows you to engage your abdominals while performing exercises.  Lateral breathing is also thought to reduce tension in the neck and shoulder areas.

•    Adopt correct posture
•    Place the hands on the ribs
•    Take a deep breath in through the nose
•    Keep shoulders relaxed and down
•    Feel the breath fill the rib cage pushing it out to the side then feel the breath fill the lower ribcage in the back.  Imagine a balloon expanding when blown up.

Core Centering in Pilates occurs as each exercise begins when concentration focuses the movement from the core allowing the movement to flow outwards to the limbs and joints.  Movements should be precise and controlled to ensure the correct muscles are being used for the exercise being performed.
Pilates focuses on controlology.  Control of the mind is necessary for control of the body.  The emphasis is on the quality of the movement rather than the quantity or load.  We focus on working the small stabilising muscles in the body which means movements have to be controlled and precise.  So at times you may think you are not doing very much, however once you focus your mind and control the movement you will realise you are in fact working very hard.
In the class we will be working on developing your motor skills; this works the neuromuscular system.  The more relaxed you are in class the more benefit you will have on developing these skills.  If you can practice the exercises at home this will help them become subconscious and later automated.  It is really important however that the exercises are done correctly as it takes longer to unlearn incorrect methods then retrain correctly.  
It is really important to understand we are all different.  We will have different ranges of movement, areas of strength and weakness.  It is really important not to compare yourself to anyone else in the class or compete with your neighbour.  This is your journey and if you focus on your own development you will progress at a rate that is right for you.

Core Engagement
This involves engaging the deep stabilising muscles of the core which provides a stable platform from which Pilates exercises can be performed.

•    Keeping the ribs and shoulders stable draw in the navel towards the spine.  The whole of the stomach should draw back together as far as possible.  Imagine you have a flag lying flat on your stomach and you are drawing it in while keeping it flat.  It is important not to keep the core too far as it increases muscle tension and therefore reduces spinal stability.
•    Release the stomach out to 50% then a further 20%.  The stomach should be drawn in to 30% to achieve the correct level of engagement.
•    Draw up the pelvic floor.  Imagine another flag between the pubic bone and coccyx.  Pull this up as far as possible without engaging the glutes.  Release the pelvic floor again by 50% then another 20%.  You can also imagine the pelvic floor to be an elevator going to the 10th floor then back down to the 3rd floor.  The pelvic floor should be drawn up 30% to achieve the correct level of engagement.
•    The core is engaged when 30% in and 30% up.  Please remember to engage your core when completing all of the exercises.

Pilates initially will be like learning to drive.  You have to consciously think about core engagement and lateral breathing before considering and performing the movement.  Over time these movements will become automatic and you will be able to perform more complex exercises.  The more you can practice your breathing and core engagement between classes the sooner these skills will become automatic.

1:1 Postural Assessments and Exercise Plans
In addition to the pilates classes We offer 1:1 postural assessments and an exercise plan designed to meet the your individual needs based on the assessment, your lifestyle and goals.  Please enquire if this is something you are interested in.


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