What Is Pilates?

In The Words Of The Founder
“You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions.” ~ Joseph Pilates

Pilates is a form of exercise and movement which concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core strength which helps to improve general fitness and overall wellbeing. 

The method was founded by Joseph Pilates who presented his method as the art of controlled movement which should look and feel like a workout when properly manifested.  If practised with consistency Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body.  It places emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance.

The core consists of the muscles of the abdomen, low back and hips, is often called the “powerhouse” and is thought to be the key to a person’s stability.

The Pilates system allows the different exercises to be modified in a range of difficulty from beginner to advanced or to any other level.

Intensity can be increased over time as the body adapts itself to the exercises. 

Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.

With body, mind and spirit functioning perfectly as a coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person?” (Joseph Pilates 1945) 


Pilates is also perfect for older adults because it does not have the impact on the body that other forms of exercise do, and is not nearly as severe on the joints as most workouts are. If you’re an older adult and haven’t exercised in a while, Pilates is a safe way to restart a workout program.


Because Pilates promotes the connection between building strength & flexibility on the one hand and developing a conscious awareness of the body on the other. It is an important tool in helping children to deal with stress & anxiety while instilling a positive sense of self, thus preparing them for success later in life.

At the Hermanus Pilates Studio careful consideration is given to the age & physical developmental level of each child.

Programs are based on sound principles of childhood physiology & development to create an opportunity for young people to learn about how their minds & bodies function as an integrated whole.


Whether our lifestyles are active or sedentary we all lose flexibility as we age. This, in turn, causes stiffness which increases our chances of injury. Practised faithfully, Pilates yields numerous benefits. 

Gentle, assisted movement to build core stability after major surgery helps recovery and prevention of future problems, particularly in the back. Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep, healthy breathing is a primary focus. 

Strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles, co-ordination – both muscular and mental, are key components in an effective Pilates program. Posture, balance, and core strength are all heartily increased. Bone density and joint health improve, and many experiences positive body awareness for the first time. Pilates teaches balance and control of the body, and that capacity spills over into other areas of one’s life.