Named after its German inventor, Joseph H. Pilates, a boxer and dancer who also studied yoga and Zen meditation, the technique encompasses more than 500 controlled, precise movements designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles without adding bulk. The exercises require concentration - working the body and mind.
They focus on "core" muscles - the abdomen, back and buttocks - together with deep, coordinated breathing. Correct posture and lower risk of injury are two benefits of the regimen.
The Pilates system emphasizes musculo-skeletal balance, proper breathing and spinal alignment. This combines control of the abdominal, ease of movement and mental focus, Joseph Pilates' focus was restoring the body to true balance.