The NZS.nz New Zealand pilates article contains information on the pilates exercises, classes, training and studios in NZ.
Learn how you can master pilates exercises for toning, strength, flexibility and good posture. New Zealand pilates classes are available at studios and gyms nationwide. Read about the benefits of pilates, what you’ll need to bring and the basic pilates method.
Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1940’s. The New Zealand pilates method encourages practitioners to control their muscles with their mind, building strength in the body’s core postural muscles which support the spine. Pilates exercise requires awareness of the breath, of the spine and of the torso muscles. Rather than being a high impact, cardiovascular workout, it provides a means by which you can tone and realign the body, improving flexibility, strength and posture.
Pilates classes have benefits for both the mind and body. While strengthening all the body’s muscles, the focus on your own breathing can bring a feeling of overall calm and relaxation. The benefits of pilates include:
- Improved posture
- Rehabilitation of the body
- Injury prevention
- Treatment of chronic pain
- Improved energy levels
- Increased flexibility
- Low impact workout
What You Will Need
For those attending New Zealand pilates classes at a pilates studio or gym, mats and other equipment will be provided. Bring a towel to class to use as support for your lower back or feet. It is also a good idea to bring a water bottle and wear comfortable clothing. A beginners’ course is a good way to get to grips with the basics. While many pilates exercises use equipment or machinery, there are many poses which can be done without any equipment. Iinstructional DVD’s, videos and books are available, which allow you to practice pilates in your own home. Pilates can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or exercise experience. If you suffer from any medical condition or illness, you should check with a doctor before beginning a pilates class.
Most movements are centred around the Powerhouse, the large group of muscles that make up the core of the body, controlling the back and pelvis. First, you will work on gaining strength in the muscles of the back, which will, in turn, pass benefits on to the limbs and the other muscles within the Powerhouse.
When you first begin pilates, keep these things in mind:
- Focus. Pilates combines the natural rhythm of your breath with the body’s movements. Try to stay focused on the harmony between these two elements and on what your muscles are doing. If you do this, you will get the maximum physical benefits, as well as alleviating stress and anxiety.
- Comfort. Wear comfortable clothing, such as stretch leggings and a t-shirt, and remember that pilates exercises are done in bare feet.
- Flow. Try to let your movement flow, and avoid quick or jerky movements. Move with purpose and keep your own strength and flexibility in mind. If you are performing the movements quickly, ensure that your movements are still fluid.
Once you have completed a beginners’ course or an introductory pilates class, you will be familiar with the basic physical language of pilates. Joseph Pilates designed the range of over 500 exercises to be suitable for practice alone, without tuition. Remember, though, pilates classes in New Zealand are a great way to meet new people, progress to more advanced levels of practice and stay motivated!