What is imprinting in Pilates?

Pilates is a great way of exercise for people of all ages. Not only is it a great set of workouts for the body, but it does great to add to the psychological development of the mind as well. Pilates is appropriate for people of all ages, from all walks of life, and can be greatly beneficial for the mind and the body. Pilates uses a number of poses and techniques to realize its goals, and imprinting is one of them.

History of Pilates

The history of Pilates is not that ancient. It was developed only about a century ago, when Joseph Pilates from Germany thought about a set of movements and exercises that are capable of rehabilitating injured and wounded people. Surprisingly, the workouts turned out to be greatly useful for developing the body as well, making it more limber and less prone to injuries, while instilling a certain sense of peace in the mind. Due to these added effectiveness on the body, it was soon picked up by trainers and physical therapists from around the world, and generally turned into one of the world’s most popular workout regimes.

Pilates work on a number of levels on the body, for example, on the joints, bones, tissues, nerves and more. This is done through certain designated exercises that help with developing your body into a more enduring, fit, flexible yet muscular unit. There are a number of poses and exercises to realize this goal, ranging from basic to medium to difficult ones, and imprinting is one of the very basic of Pilates exercises.

The term imprinting generally refers to a certain exercise where the body’s main goal is to relax and visualize a calming scenario. To perform imprinting, you will need very little instruments. An exercise outfit and an exercise mat will suffice for you, with a neck roll as optional equipment.

To start with the imprinting exercise, first lie on your back, with the shoulder blades touching the floor evenly, the spine in its original position with a slight bent at the tailbone area and the knees bent to the ceiling. Thus, you will achieve a total neutral position for your exercise to begin.

Then, take deep breaths- both inhales and exhales, and let your shoulders and abdomen area loose. Push your shoulder downward, along with your abdominal muscles and the sternum. Relax your jaws and face. Do not force them to relax, just in between breathing intervals, relax your body. Relax your hip and legs as well, and keep repeating this process until your body feels a certain sense of relaxation throughout it.

Then comes the visualization part of the exercise- the imprinting itself. Close your eyes and imagine yourself lying on the floor. Now visualize a print left by your position on the floor from the exercise. Imagine the print from your position to be completely even, and based on your ideas, try to get into position in places where there needs to be adjustment to help you with achieving an even posture. Keep visualizing till you get to a position where you yourself are completely satisfied with your imprint. Stay in that position for as long as you want- this is a position that instills a certain sense of feel-good experience in yourself.

 So how long do you need to do imprint exercises? The common consensus is that about 3 to 5 breaths at one length is enough to help you with the imprints, though it can be tailored to your own personal needs if you want. Also, another important thing to consider is that whether or not you are using imprinting as a complete exercise or just a warm up. If it is a complete exercise, then you can stay at the last step, the position of complete balance for as long as you want. But if it is used  as a warm up routine, then it should be given lesser time, and you should be prepared physically and mentally to break free of the trance at will.

In all, it can said without doubt that imprinting is a great way to start of your Pilates exercise or to simply relax your body and bring your mind at peace in a short span of time.

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