by Jillian Hessel
Excerpt from the Introduction
"Pilates: The Road to a New You"
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So you've heard about the Pilates (pih-LAH-teez) method of exercise, and you're intrigued. Perhaps you're attracted by some of its reported benefits, such as a long, lean, and supple body that moves with grace and style. But you wonder, Is Pilates really for me?
The answer, quite simply, is that Pilates is for everyone. In the following pages, you'll learn how to harness and develop your physical and mental abilities so that you'll find yourself moving better not only when you exercise, but during every task you perform throughout your day.
All of us are born with the potential for an endless variety of movement. And we all possess the inborn ability to move with natural grace as we go about our daily activities. The problem is that for most of us, exercise has become a necessary evil that we have to sandwich into our busy lives. We don't make time for it because we're too exhausted and stressed out after a day of work.
If you think you don't have time to exercise, then this is the book for you. It's also the book for you if you do exercise but are bored with your current program — or if you find you've reached a plateau and aren't getting the results you're looking for.
Whatever your reasons for buying this book and whatever your fitness level, get ready for a unique workout. Pilates builds from the ground up and gives you a whole new perspective on the how's and why's of the way your body moves. If you stick with it, Pilates will probably redefine your concept of what it means to be fit. It will uniformly strengthen muscles you never knew existed or mattered, and it will lengthen and smooth muscles you've given up hope on. It can realign your spine, flatten your stomach, improve your posture, and make you look and feel 10 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. In short, with regular practice, Pilates will make you feel as if you have a whole new body.
What is Pilates Basics?
Just as the Pilates method of exercise is entirely unique, this book is different from all the other Pilates books you may find on the bookshelf. That's because it's for the Pilates novice — the person who has never practiced Pilates before.
In the first two chapters of Pilates Basics, you'll learn about the fundamentals of Pilates and how Joseph Pilates developed his method. You'll also learn how to assess your own posture and identify the all-important area of the body that Pilates called the Powerhouse.
In Chapter 3, you'll begin your workout with my B.E.A.M. Fundamentals (Breathe, Energize, Align, and Move). The Fundamentals prepare you for the classic Pilates matwork to come — sort of like learning to walk before you run. Chapter 4 presents you with new challenges as you integrate all you've learned in the Fundamentals section into a more difficult routine based on Joseph Pilates's classic matwork series. I've rounded out the book with a bonus chapter of auxiliary exercises that will help you integrate your Pilates practice into your everyday activities. These exercises are great because you can do them in five minutes or less.
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A Word to the Wise
As anyone can tell you, it takes time to master a new skill, and Pilates is no exception. Be patient with yourself, and don't become discouraged. It takes time to change your breathing and your posture, but the long-term benefits are well worth the effort. If you haven't been exercising regularly, make sure to check with your physician first, and start this program slowly.
Your Future Begins Now
The Pilates method may provide you with your first glimpse of your body's true potential for graceful movement, flexibility, and power. If you are committed, consistent, and patient, your hard work will pay off — and you'll be rewarded with a sense of calm that comes from living in a harmonious body, mind, and spirit. And now, as my teacher and mentor Carola Trier used to say, it's time to get going!
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Read more of the book here!
- Pilates: The Road to a New You
- The Mind-Body Connection »
- Setting the Foundation: B.E.A.M. Fundamentals »