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Flow to core strength with Pilates

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 21, 2023 5:00 am

Grammy winner and international pop star Harry Styles will be in Manila soon for his Love On Tour 2023 concert series. While most of the things posted about him go viral, one of those recently noticed was a video of him doing Pilates in Exhale Pilates London. He was featured as one of the “Men of Exhale” in their Instagram video post last Jan. 12.

Way back in 2012, when he was still with One Direction, he was told by an osteopath to get into Pilates to correct his bad posture. In 2016, after the famous boy band went on hiatus, photos of him attending weekly classes emerged. Aside from posture, Styles revealed on Howard Stern’s show that he does Pilates to open his very tight hamstrings. 

Aside from Styles, many celebrities swear to the benefits of Pilates, as you can also see from their social media posts. Pilates also consistently makes it to the annual fitness trends just like yoga. Locally, these celebrities include Janine Gutierrez, LovIe Poe, Bea Alonzo, Bianca Gonzales, Katrina Halili, Pauleen Luna and Jennylyn Mercado.

A little over a week after the video post of Styles, Exhale Pilates, which regularly posts general information about Pilates, revealed the six essential principles to bear in mind when practicing Pilates. 

“These principles are what make Pilates so much more than a physical workout. They help strengthen the mind and infuse each movement with intention, allowing us to completely focus on integrating mind, body and spirit. This is where the Pilates magic really happens,” the caption said.

Harry Styles in Exhale Fitness’ “Men of Fitness” video. Styles will be in Manila soon for his Love On Tour 2023 concert.

“Save this post, so that next time you’re working out, you can try to incorporate them. You’ll take your practice to a deeper and stronger level. These principles are incredibly powerful, not just for Pilates, but to incorporate in any workout and in life,” Exhale Pilates said.

Pilates can also help the healing and recovery process post delivery.

These are the six principles they identified:

  • Centering. To understand the importance of initiating movement from a stable source and center.
  • Concentration. Perform exercises with the correct mindful intent and focus on the process of deepening awareness into the movement. It takes a disciplined mind to focus directly.
  • Control. The overarching word that plays the biggest part in Joseph Pilates method is why he called his method “Contrology.” To control both the mind and the body through movement, positioning, and sequencing.
  • Precision. It’s better to do a few repetitions of an exercise than many badly. Bring awareness to your practice in order to work imbalances and maintain the true integrity of an exercise.
  • Breath. Deepen your understanding of the importance of breathing, especially on exhalation to deepen the connection to the core, intensify and support movement and calm the mind. “Above all learn to breathe correctly as breathing is the first act of life and the last,” says Joseph Pilates.
  • Flow. It is built from an understanding of an exercise, and the body and the mind obtaining all the other principles correctly. Flow is built through transitions within each exercise and through the fluidity of movement, and stamina where stronger lungs and body are built. Flow is what keeps a workout lively.

As for Jennylyn Mercado, she posted on Instagram that Pilates is her go-to exercise after giving birth to a baby girl on April 25. Experts say that Pilates is a safe way to regain strength and improve posture after having a baby because it focuses on strengthening the core muscles. 

Jennylyn Mercado has been an advocate of Pilates as a workout routine of choice. It is not surprising then for her to choose Pilates to get back her strength, posture and fitness after her April delivery to a baby girl.

While some Pilates exercises can be done as soon as a day or two after delivery, it is best to ask your doctor for clearance. Pilates can also help the healing and recovery process post delivery. Through the gentle activation of the pelvic area, blood flow to the area is improved, which aids in healing and recovery.

Last Oct. 26, Jennylyn Mercado showed her postpartum Pilates fitness progress on her Stability Chair. This is her strong and lean body only six months after giving birth.

Last June 8, Jennylyn posted a photo of her on a Reformer equipment with the caption, “Postpartum fitness isn’t easy but we’ll make it through!” That was her first Instagram fitness-related post after giving birth. This was followed by an Oct. 26 Pilates post of Jennylyn on a Stability Chair. Both have almost 70,000 likes each. She had Pilates posts before her pregnancy but they only fetched a third of the likes from her posts postpartum. Maybe because more people appreciate a pretty mom getting her pre-pregnancy body and strength back.