By Keith Wise
If you’ve checked Razz’s schedule recently, you may have noticed that this month, we are offering a couple new classes. Apart from a biweekly beginners yoga series, we are starting mat Pilates! Lauren O’Brien will begin teaching this six week series on Tuesday, March 6th at 4pm. Mat Pilates will also be offered Thursdays at 4pm and Fridays at 1pm, beginning March 8th and 9th, respectively.
What is mat Pilates?
Pilates can be described as “a low-impact exercise that builds strength, tones the muscles, and creates a long, lean body frame.” Borrowing tenants from dance, yoga, and classic calisthenics, the exercise has roots dating to 1920s New York City. The name comes from German physical trainer, Joseph Pilates (1883-1967), who developed the exercise specifically for injured World War I veterans so that they could maintain their strength while bedridden. During the 1990s, teachers in western countries adjusted and widely popularized the method that is most commonly practiced today. In Razz’s class, Lauren will have practitioners use rings, also known as “magic circles,” which provide gentle to moderate resistance during exercise. The magic circles give the body feedback and let practitioners know which muscles are being utilized.
Who should practice mat Pilates?
Everybody! Whether you’re in tip-top athletic shape, a regular yogi, a beginner, or someone suffering from back pain and/or recovering from an injury, Pilates is perfect for you. Because this fitness method is low-impact, it’s great for those trying to strengthen and tone their core, while avoiding too much stress on the joints. Let’s face it: a strong core means a sturdy center of balance for the rest of the body.
What are the physical benefits of mat Pilates?
Mat Pilates specifically targets the body’s core, which includes the abdominals, lower back muscles, pelvis, hips, and glutes. Combined with the occasional utilization of props, floor exercises help build, sculpt, and tone these muscles. Additionally, Pilates increases flexibility and improves posture. Despite its low-impact approach, Pilates helps the body burn fat during and after class as a result of continuous muscle contractions.
What are the mental benefits of mat Pilates?
Breathing is strongly connected to proper Pilates practice. Because you are encouraged to breathe from the stomach rather than the chest, the deepness of breath makes practitioners more adept at completing each movement. Deep breathing requires focus, which in turn has been linked to increased mindfulness, relaxation, and stress reduction. Therefore, the long-term benefits of Pilates are exponential, including decreased feelings of anger, anxiety, and depression.