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overview of pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise that focuses on balance, posture, strength and flexibility. It's suitable for people, male and female, of all ages and fitness levels.

What is STOTT Pilates?

STOTT Pilates ® is a contemporary adaptation of the original exercise method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates.


STOTT Pilates ® has earned an international reputation as the world’s most respected brand for the qualitiy of it’s instructor training and professional equipment.


STOTT Pilates ® is based on the scientific principles of biomechanics. The exercises are graded into essential, intermediate, and advanced levels to allow for progression.


By targeting the deep abdominal and spinal muscles Pilates can improve overall core stability, therefore helping to improve muscular strength and correcting postural imbalances. Pilates is a total mind and body conditioning method that can relieve stress and tension and promote a feeling of well-being.

Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born in 1883, he was a sickly child suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. During his teens Joseph spent hours studying anatomy. He also worked as a boxer, gymnast and circus performer.


During WWI Joseph was a nurse in various camps. This is where he refined his exercise techniques in order to keep himself and his patients physically fit. 

His belief was that mental and physical health are inter-related. This belief is also one of the founding principles of Osteopathy. 


After the war he settled in NEW York City with his wife Clara. They developed and taught his Contrology fitness (Pilates as we know today) based on six principles:


Centering, Control, Concentration, Precision, Breath and Flow

Benefits of Pilates
  • A stronger back and core

  • Improved strength, tone, mobility and flexibility of muscles, joints and spine

  • Improved posture

  • Reduced risk of injury

  • Stress relief

  • Pre and post natal support


Pilates The Eight Basic Principles

(All Basic Principles Are Taught During The Induction)

  1. Breathing

    • ​​​​Breath pattern encourages engagement of deep stabilizers. The breath pattern encourages the engagement of TA first then oblique’s later. Simultaneous engagement of pelvic floor and multifidus with TA is encouraged during the breath pattern. Providing a more complete stabilization through the pelvis and spine.

  2. Pelvic Placement / Alignment

    • Neutral placement (in sagital plane) is the most stable and shock absorbing position to be in. ASIS & pubic symphsis should lie parallel. While breathing and engaging abdominals in this position no strain should be felt through the spinal extensors in the lumbar area. If muscular tension occurs shift the pelvis slightly towards imprinted position.This ensures stability of pelvis if neutral; alignment cannot be stabilized.When there is weakness in the oblique’s placing them in a slightly shortened position can help maintain engagement.

  3. Rib Cage Placement / Alignment

    • Utilizing the breath pattern and maintaining abdominal engagement can help stabilize the rib cage and indirectly the thoracic spine in good alignment.

  4. Scapular Movement & Stabilization

    • Stabilizing scapulae on rib cage is as important as contracting the abdominals during the initiation of every exercise. When this is not done there is a tendency to overwork the upper trapezius and other muscles around the neck and shoulders. Focus on serratus anterior, middle & lower fibres of trapezius, rhomboids and synergistically latissimus dorsi.

  5. Head & Cervical Placement / Alignment

    • Cervical flexion should come from lengthening the back of the neck away from the shoulders and flexing the cranium on the first two vertebrae of the Csp, referred to as cranio-vertebral flexion. (Not from jamming the chin into the chest). Once cranio-vertebral flexion and scapular stabilization are established, the upper torso can be flexed by contracting the abdominals to slide the rib cage towards the pelvis

  6.  Concentration

    • Clear your mind, and focus on your body as you exercise. Concentrate on each and every movement so that you are 'in' the movement itself, totally aware of the movement, your body and breath.

  7. Co-ordination

    • Co-ordinate your alignment, your breathing, your muscular engagement, with your movements. Simple movements first, slowly building up to more advanced complex sequences. 

  8.  Flowing Movements

    • Control all your movements, lengthening away from your strong centre / core move without compensation patterns, stress or strain, keeping the rhythm of the particular exercise.

    • Challenge your stability to improve endurance and stamina.

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