Pilates is a system of exercise that follows 8 basic principles. The goal is to get optimum flexibility and strength to balance the body's energies. It includes good control of the body's functions and culminates in physical and mental relaxation.

Traditionally, Pilates involves the use of a machine, the Pilates reformer, to produce exercise resistance to result in body increase in strength, facilitate proper alignment and posture, and become more flexible.

Presently, however, Pilates, using a mat as the only apparatus, is getting more popular. A person's core strength is used as resistance to develop better flexibility and the core muscles.

Pilates can be taught one-on-one or in a class environment. Comfortable attire is required for both apparatus and floor.

Pilates believed blood circulation was the key, so that it could arouse all the cells in the body to "wake up" and carry away wastes related to fatigue.

For blood to function efficiently, it has to be richly oxygenated and purged of expired gases through correct breathing. If you cease breathing during exercise, you have made a mistake since complete and alternate thorough inhalation and exhalation are components of every Pilates exercise.

Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation. “Squeeze out the lungs as you would wring a wet towel dry,” he said.

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