While it may have millions of avid followers, there are many more people who have yet to understand how Pilates can transform their lives and return them to fitness if they have let their routine and and environment lead them to a less than healthy state. In essence, Pilates is about reclaiming your life, and taking control of it through Contrology.
Wellness and health are priceless, and Pilates is based on the idea that physical fitness bring happiness. Being able to go about your everyday life and function fully is at the heart of Pilates, and to achieve this you need to follow Contrology. But what is this, how can it benefit you and how do you bring this principle into your practice and your life?
What is Contrology?
In his 1945 book Return to Life Through Contrology, describing his practice techniques, Joseph Pilates describes what he means by this guiding principle of Pilates practice: “Contrology is the complete coordination of the body, mind and spirit.” What this amounts to is not letting your body take control of you but you taking control of your muscles. Thus, exercises are about controlling muscles and movement through focus and proper exercises that allow you to retrain the body.
The primary focus of Pilates is to lift the body against gravity by using its own weight and thus add an element of resistance to build flexibility and strengthen core postural muscles that support alignment of the spine. It not about a cardiovascular workout but about controlled movements repeated over and over again.
Control of the mind and its impact on physical wellbeing is also part and parcel of Contrology. Repetitive, correct and controlled movements spark a response from cells throughout the body, as muscles learn to ‘behave’ as they naturally should do. The same effect is believed to happen to the mind, with the brain being activated just as dormant muscle cells are revived.
How can Contrology benefit you?
Because Contrology concentrates on strengthening postural muscles, one of the major pulls of Pilates is its use in alleviating back pain and as part of a rehabilitative process. By aligning the spine, the body is given an opportunity to rebalance and this creates stability both physically and mentally. By combating the ill effects of modern life, which lead to the body developing in an imbalanced, non-centered way, Pilates resets this development path, reinvigorates your mind and together this has a beneficial impact on your whole being and inner sense of self.
Joseph Pilates expresses in Return to Fitness Through Contrology, what this exercise principle is about. “Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, play and work. You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games, to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain.”
Bringing Contrology into your life
Contrology is about quality not quantity and a few correct movements are worth more in Pilates than going for it in a haphazard fashion. It is also an exercise that requires mental focus rather than simply going through the motions. However, it isn’t is a repetitive drag. Through recharging the whole body through correct posture and movement, Pilates is actually dynamic and can become a way of life or a philosophy on life, health and fitness.
Joseph Pilates recommended regular exercise as it is only through practice and commitment that you can achieve physical realignment. By practicing four times a week for just three months, he was convinced that you could transform every aspect of your life and be in a healthy position of taking control over your own physical and mental condition.
Take control of your health and fitness and join in with our Pilates classes.