Joseph Pilates was a disciplined man, and his teaching and physical condition and performance shows the influence of yoga, gymnastics, boxing, martial arts, and Eastern and Western philosophies. The Pilates system of physical and mental conditioning blend well with the holistic health and fitness regime I advocate with living with the Warrior’s Edge. Pilates work can complement any martial art and physical fitness program. I am incorporating more Pilates work into my weekly routines, and I recommend this type of exercise, along with yoga, various other types of stretching, resistance training with both weights and body weight exercises, aerobic exercise and high intensity interval type training. I believe they all have a place in s person’s training. I have a number of Pilates resources, and this book is the most comprehensive and complete.
The second edition of Pilates: Your Complete Guide To Mat Work And Apparatus Exercises by Rael Isacowitz is an extremely comprehensive guide on the exercise method, or really a system of physical and mental conditioning, created by Joseph Pilates. Isacowitz presents the information in a clear, detailed, and comprehensive manner that allows beginners and seasoned practitioners to learn and improve with their practice. The detailed instruction not only covers mat work, which most Pilates books focus on, but also the different Pilates apparatus that includes the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Step and Ladder Barrels, Ped-a-pul, Arm Chair, and Magic Circle. This really is one of the most complete Pilates resources you’ll find.
After the introduction that shares a brief history of Pilates, the first chapter focuses on enhancing the mind and body, and explains the benefits of the program that trains body and mind as one. It really is a holistic approach to coordinate the body, mind and spirit. A good description of the ten movement principles is included.
The second chapter, Alignment, Posture, and Movement, explains why these are so important and how these are goals of training. The third chapter then discusses training. Chapters four through eleven contain descriptions (with pictures) of over 200 exercises and more than 50 variations. The first, Chapter 4, covers mat work, and then each of the other chapters shows how to exercise with each of different apparatus listed above.
The final chapter, twelve, provides some sample exercise routines for beginners, intermediate, and more advanced practitioners. The book does not contain the most advanced and master level work, which would warrant a separate book, but what it does include will be sufficient for almost all practitioners of any level.
The goal of Pilates is to offer a bridge between mind and body, between everyday life and optimal performance, between rehabilitation and healthy movement, and the way Isacowitz presents and teaches in this book, it does just that. It has something to offer those with restricted mobility as well as elite athletes. It can be practiced by people of any age. Pilates will help improve your balance, concentration, coordination, posture, muscle tone, core strength, and flexibility. And with the breathing and mental components, the benefits go beyond just the physical to the mental and spiritual as well.
Recommended for anyone wanting to add Pilates to their health and fitness routine. Regardless if you are already doing Pilates or want to start, this book really is your complete guide to Pilates mat work and apparatus exercises.
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