In essence, Pilates is a strengthening technique. Through controlled movements, you will learn to engage the deeper muscle layers to support the spine and pelvis, which allows you to move more efficiently and without unnecessary strain and tension. This is also what develops a leaner body shape, as you are not over-working the larger, bulkier muscles but will start to feel new areas of your body starting to wake up and tone up. It is more about quality than quantity, and you will usually perform no more than 10 repetitions of each exercise which may not sound a lot, but is challenging when maintaining good control and alignment. Although Pilates entails a lot of abdominal work, it is a full body work-out and will also improve flexibility, balance and posture. But much more than that, with good practise it gives you a body awareness that you can apply to anything else you do. It is about being aware and in control of what your body is doing rather than just going through the motions of an exercise. From there, we can keep it as gentle or make it as challenging as we choose.
For me, that’s the difference of Pilates.