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Pilates Mat Work

The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates called the method The Art of Contrology, which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. It is an exercise program that focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of neutral alignment of the spine and strengthening the deep postural muscles that support this alignment, which are important to help alleviate and prevent back pain.
As the technique has grown in popularity through the 1990s, many fitness trainers have begun teaching Pilates without any form of certification or formal training in the technique. Obtaining certification can be confusing, as there are numerous organizations who offer certification in exchange for a fee or at the end of a course they offer. Some practitioners believe the explosion in popularity has thus led to a dilution of the technique as taught by Joseph Pilates and fear it can cause poor results or injury.
An excellent source for information on the Pilates method is the Pilates Method Alliance. This international, not-for-profit organization focuses on preserving the legacy of Joseph H. and Clara Pilates. It is an inclusive organization that embraces the many disciples of Joseph Pilates, who have taken his work and spread it with their own take on it, while adhering to the original Pilates principles. It offers details on the method, news, and annual conference information, as well as serving as a marketing channel for the members listed in the international member databases.