is a compilation of the works of Joseph H. Pilates. Born a sickly child in
in 1880, he suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. Pilates
dedicated his entire life to become physically stronger. Eventually, he
developed a series of approximately 500 exercises that helped him lead a healthy
life. Pilates taught his fitness program to
's police force and German Army. In 1926, Pilates migrated to the
and open a studio in
. The low-stress method of physical and mental conditioning soon attracted the
. Ballet dancers, actors and actresses were attracted to Pilates exercise
program. The fitness program is able to built strength without adding bulk,
balances strength with flexibility, and creates a perfect harmony between mind
to the Pilates Method
of natural balance:
lifestyles have grown increasingly less active, affecting the condition of our
bodies. Pilates believed that regular mobility would bring back the natural
balance and harmony in our bodies and only a disciplinary program will bring
back the mobility, strength, endurance and purify our bloodstreams.
of Eastern and Western traditions:
Pilates method includes the Eastern exercise philosophy, which involves the
training of the mind to control the body. The Eastern exercises focus on
stretching and limberness. The Western traditions, which emphasize motion and
strength, are also included in the exercise program. Pilates combines both
approaches by involving the mind in each exercise from beginning to end, and by
taking the body in a wide range of motions.
exercises do not involve quickly or jerky movements. The movements are performed
slowly to avoid any strain. This method, contrary to other programs, does not
increase in intensity or frequency, rather it concentrates in efficiency. All
this characteristics makes Pilates safe and easy for anyone.
the mind must be engaged in every movement. One must visualize the
movements. The objective of the program is to have mind and body working as
all motions must be controlled by the mind. One must be aware of every
movement that is part of an exercise, otherwise the exercises will be
Pilates focuses on the creation of a strong center. This center, called by
Joseph H. Pilates, the "Power house" is formed by the abdomen, low
back and the buttocks. It supports the spine, internal organs, and
determines posture. The aim of all exercise is to stabilize the torso and
allow the individual to stretch and lengthen the body with the low back
the exercises include a wide range of movements. These must be performed in
a control, smooth manner. Rush or hurry movements can lead to damage of
muscles and joints.
you must concentrate in each movement you make. After you learn all the
steps of the exercises you must concentrate in the precision of the
it is important to keep the bloodstream pure by oxygenating the blood and
eliminating the noxious gases.
this exercise teaches the stabilization of the lumbar spine which is crucial in
all Pilates movements. The exercises requires the practitioner to make the
distance between the stomach and spine as small as possible.
down on your back on a soft mat.
your knees and relax your arms.
a large weight pressing down on your stomach.
you pull your navel back feel how your lumbar spine lengthens.
breathing without letting your stomach rise, feel how your ribs rise and
Often when someone takes deep breathing, he will use the upper part of the
lungs. He will lift the upper chest, raise the shoulder and arch the back. If he
uses the diaphragm the lower abdomen will expand with air, this leave the low
back unprotected. For these reasons Pilates teaches lateral breathing. You must
use the thoracic and back muscles to breathe. To get an idea of the movement,
one can practice this exercise.
a towel around your ribs, cross it over at the front.
in and feel the towel expanding.
squeeze the towel as you breath out.
can be practiced without the towel.
in a relax position.
the stomach in.
your arms on the sides of your lower ribcage and breath in and out.
is a technique to reorganize all segments of the body (head, shoulders, thorax,
pelvis, and legs) closer to the vertical alignment. Rolfing lengthens the body,
allows the weight of the trunk to fall over the pelvis, and creates a more
horizontal balance between left and right.
was develop by Dr. Ida P. Rolf, born in
New York City
, she earned a PhD in Biochemistry. Motivated to improve her own health, she
studied osteopathy, yoga, homeopathy. Though her studies she develop Rolfing. In
1973 she established the Rolf Institute.
body and its relation with gravity:
bodies cannot escape the influence of gravity. To make our movements more
efficient with the least energy required, humans have align the body closer to
the vertical line. The closer a weight is to its vertical axis the less energy
requires to move. When the body loses this vertical alignment the pull of the
gravity is asymmetrical. The end result of the unequal pull of gravity is a
progressive deterioration of the structures. Dr. Rolf believed that,
"structure determines function." Therefore, a deterioration of the
structures will influence the body's function. Gravity becomes a destructive
force that can lead to compressions and strains of the human body.
is the main tissue of support and shape.
is a tough connective tissue which forms a three dimensional web from head to
foot without interruption. It surrounds every muscle, nerve, bone, vessel and
organ of the body down to the cellular level. The fascia's tendency is to remold
by the forces applied to it. This tendency explains why the imbalances are
created and maintain. Forces that can produce such imbalances in the human body
are: repetitive movements or habitual patterns, accidents which can cause
shifting of our weight to protect the injured part, and emotional states. The
imbalances cause the tissue to tighten and lose its flexibility. Fascial
restriction does not remain localized, soon it affects other areas away from the
restriction because of its strong connections. The binding down of fascia
results in abnormal pressure on nerves, muscles, bones, organs, and may lead to
poor cellular efficiency.
is a soft tissue manipulation. It takes advantage of the tendency of fascia to
hold the shapes induced by applied forces. Rolfing is administered independent
of specific pathologies, it does not treat the client's disease or symptoms. The
goal is to assist the client in setting up a vertical relationship to gravity.
This is done by working the entire fascia structure, starting by the superficial
and work toward the deeper layers.
technique involves 10 one-hour sessions, each session is spaced one week or more
apart. All work is performed in the fascia tissue.
to free the rib cage.
under the body: to improve foot, ankle and knee.
line: to balance front and back.
line: to balance left and right sides of the body.
of Pelvis: to lengthen psoas and rectus abdominis for pelvic balance.
of Pelvis/sacrum: weight transfer from head to feet.
head, neck and shoulder.
and lower half of the body.
and lower half of the body (part 2).
the entire body.
technique was created by F. Matthias Alexander an Australian actor. He was
concerned with a habitual loss of voice when he worked. Alexander believed that
something he was doing was the cause of the probem. He began to observe himself
in a mirror and analyze his posture when he spoke. He noticed that when he was
speaking he would liift his chin, pull his head back, down and tighten his
throat. By studying his posture, movement and balance. He discovered that his
usual poor posture felt normal and the new posture, which reduced stress on his
throat felt strange. Over time, Alexander was able to avoid the poor posture of
the head and neck, and he soon felt healthier, more clear-headed, and more
self-confident. His hoarseness disappeared and never return. The Alexander
thechnique encourages people to use their bodies and mind more effectively in
the day-to day activities to avoid stress. The focus of the AT treatment is the
proper positon of the head, neck and back.
technique is based in the idea that most people have lost the ability to
determine whether their bodies are being properly used. The prolong contraction
of the muscles causes the muscle spindle to send the wrong information to the
brain. The kinesthetic sense has become so distorted that the bad postures feel
more right than the correct ones.
teacher using verbal, manual and visual cues, guides the student to the correct
posture, which minimizes the mechanical stress of the muscles and structures of
the spine. The teacher encourages spinal lengthening with the head balanced over
the neck. The goal of AT is to make the student aware of the habitual pattern of
misuse, eventually the student will learn to inhibit those patterns. Alexander
technique does not include exercise training. Instead, it involves the
inhibition of the poor and the arranging of the body into the best alignment.
of Alexander Technique
primary control or the head, neck and back relationship:
position of the head with respect to the neck and back is the focus of AT. The
primary control coordinates movements throughout the entire body. The student
must learn to activate the primary control in any day-to-day activity.
a quick reaction to a stimulus. Alexander believed one must inhibit this
expontaneous reactions and learn to concentrate in our bodies and movements.
believed we are able to inhibit patterns of misuse and learn new ones. The
student will learn to assume the optimal posture in every motion.
postures of the spines can be observed in all our daily activities. With
practice the student can learn to control the poor postures.
Incorrect posture eating
Correct posture eating