At a time when the fitness industry is tripping over itself to create new, innovative trends in exercise technology, the Pilates method, with more than nine decades of success, stands out as a tried-and-true formula of wisdom and unwavering results.

In today’s modern world, people are realising the important role that physical and mental fitness plays in leading a happy, healthy and pain-free life. There has been a recent surge in the mind-body focus movement. Our lifestyles have grown increasingly less active and our work, mind and bodies have suffered greatly. Some go to great lengths to correct this, but these efforts are met with little of no success, some people end up damaging their bodies even more.

Enter Pilates…

Pilates, pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates (1880-1967), is a mind-body exercise system to strengthen the weak and challenge the strong. Joseph Pilates was a German expat who developed a series of exercises and innovative equipment to help prisoners of war regain strength and mobility. He discovered, upon immigration to the US from Germany, that his conditioning techniques could help dancers from the New York Ballet prevent injury and improve strength while maintaining long, even muscle tone.

Contemporary Stott Pilates, the method we promote in our studio, is an anatomically based approach to the original exercise method. It incorporates modern exercise science and rehabilitation principles, eliminates contra-indicated movements and emphasises neutral alignment, core stability and peripheral mobility.

Pilates is a fitness program for a lifetime. It is ideal for everyone from young adults to ageing baby boomers, post-rehab patients to elite athletes and is the perfect compliment to cardiovascular exercise, athletic training or rehabilitation!

The benefits of Pilates include

  • Developing optimal strength, flexibility, endurance and posture, without building bulk or stressing your joints
  • Longer leaner muscles
  • Improving postural problems whilst increasing core strength and stability
  • Balancing strength and flexibility
  • Improving balance, co-ordination and circulation
  • Rehabilitation of back and neck injuries
  • Post-operative rehabilitation and sports injuries
  • Preventing recurrence of injuries

Pilates for back rehabilitation

Pilates for back rehabilitationThe Pilates method is a comprehensive body-conditioning method that is directed towards the development of the body and the mind of the individual. It teaches you to focus your mind on individual muscles in your body so as to strengthen and lengthen them.

Living on earth means welcome to gravity. As humans we walk upright; requiring gravitational forces to be transferred through the lower back and pelvis to the legs. Transferring load effectively requires proper function of bones, joints, muscles and nerves.

Think of an upside-down Y (two legs, the pelvis and the lower back). Now imagine water flowing through a Y joint in your sprinkler system, a dysfunction in load transfer is like a leak, with force being directed in the wrong direction which causes “pain/stress”. A common example relates to sacroiliac joint pain the centre of the upside-down Y in the human pelvis.

Gravity tries to push us into the ground and this force is called compression. Compression forces the bones of our backs together and buckling is, in part, prevented by the structure of the joints and the intervertebral discs. When your back is under more compression than it can handle, that is, when your muscle system is not providing the required support, the discs begin to bulge and the joints begin to wear out.

How does the muscle system resist gravity? Think of an axle in the centre of a bicycle wheel. The core muscles are like the spokes in the bicycle wheel, if the tension forces of the spokes are not balanced, the wheel has problems and the same applies with the core muscles of the back.

In Pilates we strive to perfect and fine-tune the engagement of the core muscles. This is done through consciously engaging the core before moving any limb, in other words preparing the lower back and pelvis for movement and load transfer.

The lumbo-pelvic core is made up of four muscles that are effective at stabilising the lower back and pelvis: transversus abdominis, pelvic floor, multifidus and diaphragm. So the significance of Pilates for back rehabilitation is stability; the ability to control the amount of movement of your joints during load.

Benefits for posture

Sore back, tight neck, stiffness, recurrent sporting injuries … sound familiar? Tired of these complaints? Pilates is the answer for you! Let us consider our life today.

We live in a fast-paced world where we are challenged with physical, emotional and mental stresses which are dangerous to our bodies and general well-being. The poor physical condition many of us are in comes from spending countless hours sitting in front of computers, bent over our desks, sitting in cars or running around lifting, lugging and creating havoc in our bodies.

If you think about how you sit and stand, you will probably find that you sink most of your weight into your lower torso. This causes undue stress onto muscles of the lower back resulting in soreness and promoting poor posture. (Did you know? Poor posture also creates the “beer belly” and “love handles” which we spend most of our lives trying to combat!)

Movement of the spine is the key to health. The basic foundation of the body’s function starts from the spinal cord. It is therefore imperative that the spine maintains its flexibility and function in order to prevent injuries.

So how exactly will Pilates help you? Pilates works to strengthen those core stabilizers of the trunk which counteract the gravitational forces acting on the intervertebral joints. The core muscles work on increasing the spaces between the discs thereby allowing the spine to lengthen and improve posture.

By strengthening the core muscles, not only are you increasing stability in the spine, but you are also improving your flexibility and strength. Recurring injuries are a sign that the stabilizers responsible are not adequately strengthened.

Pilates for dancers

Pilates exercises offer the perfect compliment to dance training. The “principles” of Pilates are what make it a unique exercise form. These include aspects like concentration, alignment, co-ordination, breathing, control, precision and balance. All these are extremely important in improving your dance technique as well as reducing the risk of injury.

Dancers often spend most of their time on the immediate demands of their dance training, by spending time separately concentrating on areas that need additional strength, the dancer can improve and stretch specific areas and muscles and increase their range to give them that extra edge in the studio.

Pilates is an excellent way to rehabilitate an injury as well as keep the rest of the body in shape while waiting to heal. With specialised equipment, it is possible to gently work the injured areas and strengthen without risk or further injury.

It is also of the utmost importance to build strength at the centre or core and to work from this rather than only concentrating on peripheral strength. The pilates method of strengthening the core stabilisers – specifically the transversus abdominis – is an excellent way to achieve this!

It is interesting to remember that Joseph Pilates himself, worked intensely with the New York City Ballet and dance icons such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham to train and shape one of the best-known ballet companies in the world… What more can we say?

Pilates for whiplash

The head, neck and shoulder girdle muscle system is a complex system to fulfill its functions of generating appropriate head movements, maintaining stability of the head-neck system in any orientation for work, vision and hearing as well as distributing the forces inherent in upper limb function.

The neck muscles are rich in proprioceptors and make important contributions to balance and general postural control. It’s known that with cervical joint injury and pain, there will be reactions in the neuromuscular system as occur with injury to any other joint in the body.

With Pilates we can identify, detect and correct the relevant dysfunctions in the neuromuscular system. Most commonly known injuries currently treated are acceleration/deceleration injury “whiplash”; “cervical postural syndrome” and patients who present with insidious onset of symptoms associated with nerve root compression often as a result of local or general degenerative processes.

Pilates for preggies

Using the Pilates principles and including a small amount of cardio vascular workout is the ultimate and the way to go for your pregnancy. Pilates teaches you proper breathing and therefore transfers oxygen through the blood to the baby.

The workout stabilizes, tones, and strengthens all muscle groups, which promotes a strong, healthy pregnancy. Pilates concentrates on the pelvic positioning and promotes a good posture. We make use of fitness balls, flex bands and other various and exciting equipment which only Pilates can provide.

The benefits and research that various institutions have found:

  • A significant stretching of muscles
  • Decreased maternal weight gain
  • Better than average growth – improving supply of oxygen to the baby
  • Less complicated labour

Pilates classes offered

Beginners | Principles

For those new to Pilates! This class covers off the fundamental principles of Pilates and familiarizes the Client with what to expect, think about and be aware of during any workout.


For those familiar with Pilates and for those who are ready to challenge themselves by taking the core stability emphasis to a whole new level. Speak to any/your instructor before doing this class if you are unsure about whether you are ready or not.


This class challenges the Clients stability, co-ordination and control all the way. This class should not be attempted unless an/your instructor suggests you should do so!

Flex-Band | Fitness Circle and Swiss Ball

This is a class of beginner / intermediate level Pilates made more challenging and interesting by the inclusion of various bits of Pilates equipment whilst still working firmly on the Matwork*. Suitable for all levels once an initial individual / principle class lesson has been attended!


Class involves working on the Reformer (Pilates machine). This class is both interesting and challenging. It requires that all participants ensure they are familiar with the workings of the machine, and that stability and control has been reached on the Matwork* work sessions, before it is attempted in a group format.


This class helps to maintain stability of the pelvic area whilst gently and safely toning and stretching the whole body. This class helps new mums maintain optimum health during pregnancy!

Find out more about Stott Pilates