What is Pilates

What is Pilates, and how can it help you?

Pilates is a complete method of exercise developed by its founder Joseph Pilates over the course of a lifetime dedicated to improving physical and mental health. At Bälans Pilates Studio & Treatment Rooms, the only space dedicated to Pilates in Perth, you will find senior instructors giving you some of the best training to be found in Scotland

Pilates rebuilds your body through a series of low repetition, low impact stretching and conditioning exercises.

Through practising Pilates you will grow stronger in your back and core muscles. Your balance and flexibility will improve, as will your posture and energy levels. You will feel more relaxed, more supple, more aware of your body, and you will improve your general state of well-being, both mentally and physically.

You will be able to achieve more with your body, whether you ask of it to perform high level sports, or common daily tasks.

There are two main forms of Pilates – Matwork and Apparatus. The difference is that in Matwork you are working against the force of gravity and using a Mat on the floor. In the Apparatus Studio classes, you are taught on large, specialised pieces of equipment, which guide and train the body. The adjustable spring loading of the various Apparatus combine with gravity to make a very effective combination of forces which both challenge and support the body in new ways.

Joseph Pilates laid out a complete set of exercises, which is known as ‘Classical Pilates’. Very few Pilates Instructors in Scotland can trace their training back to Joseph Pilates through one of his protégés in fewer than six or seven steps. Joakim is one of only a handful of Pilates Teachers who can claim to be 2nd Generation Pilates Instructor, having attended an advanced two year training course the Pilates Master Mentor Programme with Lolita San Miguel in Florida. Lolita was certified by and worked with Joseph Pilates in the 1960s and is a living embodiment of health, still teaching and inspiring people in her 80’s!

It is vital for your Instructor to know where the Method has come from, but at Bälans, rather than expecting all clients to fit into a rigid programme of set exercises, we believe that it is your individual journey towards your end goal which is important. We encourage everyone to continue practising Pilates at home. Clients who come to us for individual 1:1 training are provided with a personalised list of home training exercises which is updated at every session. This means you can continue your Pilates training wherever you find yourself training Pilates in Scotland.

You will be working muscles you didn’t even know you had, but also helps you develop an awareness of how your body works, helping your mind and body to work in harmony.

Every session you do with us is different, yet the theme is always the same, and you will recognise exercises in their different forms as you advance through the levels. Sometimes we use small equipment such as stability balls, resistance rings and stretchy rubber bands to emphasize the focus of an exercise and to challenge your muscular stability.

Benefits of Matwork Pilates:

  • Full Body workout without complicated machines
  • Improved Posture
  • Stronger Body, without bulking up
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Better body awareness
  • Relief from Back Pain
  • Injury Prevention
  • You will look and feel younger

History of Pilates

History of PilatesJoseph Hubertus Pilates, born on 9 December 1880 near Düsseldorf, Germany, overcame frailty and illness in childhood through concerted physical fitness programmes. He took inspiration from gymnastics, diving, boxing and martial arts, developing and improving his body to an impressive, extremely functional level.

Joseph Pilates spent time in London, training officers at Scotland Yard in self-defence and Physical training. When WW1 broke out he was interned for his nationality and used this time to refine his fitness programme. His fellow internees maintained their health and fitness levels whilst being held in confinement thanks to his routine. Joseph Pilates always claimed that his regime was the reason why not one of these internees died from the influenza epidemic that killed thousands in 1918!

Returning to Germany after the war, he came into contact with the world of dance, which was to have a big influence on his method. At the same time Joseph Pilates was also instructing the Hamburg police force in self-defence! When asked to train the rebuilding German army, he declined and decided to emigrate to the United States of America. On the boat trip he met his future wife, Clara, with whom he set up his first fitness studio in New York, at an address he shared with the New York City Ballet.

His studio soon began to attract the ‘elite’ of New York with leading ballet dancers coming to him because his exercises perfected and complemented their traditional exercise programme. Actors and actresses, sportspeople, the rich and the famous were all attracted to the workout that built strength without adding bulk, balancing that strength with flexibility, and achieving the perfect harmony between muscle and mind.

Until the late 1990’s, Pilates remained essentially unknown to the general public, and in that short space of time it’s popularity has grown through Celebrity endorsement and the dedicated awareness work up people like Lynne Robinson. Today an estimated 25 million people take regular Pilates classes in the USA and some one million in the UK.

Pilates today is taught in several forms, directly reflecting the legacy of Joseph Pilates, who developed the Method over 80 years ago. He did not lay down a formal training programme, with the result that, on his death, his ‘disciples’ continued teaching by adding their own individual variations to the core philosophy and exercises. This flexibility in approach is one of the reasons why the Pilates Method has become so successful.