I have been teaching Pilates at all levels now for 20 years. My focus is on creating core stability and improved movement patterns, which can improve strength, range of motion and balance. I take particular care to check each person is engaging the targeted muscles in each class.
In the therapeutic setting, Pilates is excellent for creating stability, improving balance, readjusting muscle imbalances resulting in improved physical functioning. It focuses on such principles as concentration and alignment in conjunction with the breath. The specific low impact exercises in Pilates are progressive and individualized to ensure effective muscle firing and safety for each individual.
With a focus on the areas of the body that require stabilization such as the pelvis, trunk and shoulder it re-creates good posture and good postural awareness which also carries over to how people move in their daily life. Elite athletes find it improves their performance, whilst people with back pain find it gradually reduces the pain. It can be adapted and helpful for people with osteoporosis or reduced strength or range of motion from surgery or injury.
Sometimes different equipment such as balls and stretchy straps are used to enhance the practice. Generally most people will find an improvement in their day-to-day movement patterns and balance and many comment that they feel refreshed and renewed after a session.
I have been committed to yoga therapy in Australia since my initial training in 1994 in Great Britain and in taking on the role of the President of the Australasian Yoga Therapists Association to bring in Standards of qualification in this field.
Yoga Therapy aims to enable an individual to improve their own health using Yoga practices. Yoga Therapy can be in groups, for example, Yoga for Breast Cancer; or given in a one-to-one consultation. An accredited Yoga Therapist is an experienced Yoga Teacher with qualifications, specialised skills and knowledge in the application of Yoga within a therapeutic setting.
If you have a yoga therapy session you will fill in a client information form, and be given an individualised practice using any or many of the tools of yoga such as postures (asana), breathing (pranayama), relaxation and meditation (dharana and dhyana). You may also be given hand gestures known as mudra or a mantra. Practices will be tailored especially for your circumstance and your practice will be monitored and changed when necessary.
There is an increasing body of sound scientific evidence for the benefits of yoga therapy whether for physical or mental conditions, for healthy or ill populations. Yoga therapy is now incorporated in medical and wellbeing centres around Australia and abroad and will continue to grow as its benefits become more well known.