1. It’s for women
I do not know why Pilates has earned this reputation, but the idea that it’s a feminine kind of exercise is a complete fallacy.
The creator of Pilates was a man, and in its early days, it was much more practiced by men then women. I am certain that any man who has attended a Pilates class will confirm there is nothing girly about the practice. It’s a highly intelligent system of body conditioning, concentrating on core strength and flexibility, and it’s a challenging workout.
Pilates benefits all people—men, women, the young, the elderly, athletes, the injured, etc. Pilates is ageless, genderless, and colorless.
2. It’s a mind-body exercise, and therefore spiritual like yoga
Pilates requires concentration, control, and great precision. To preform the exercises correctly, the mind must be fully engaged and aligned with the body. Joseph Pilates created his method so that people could move through this world—the here and now—with a strong, supple, and healthy body. There is no spiritual doctrine.
Joseph did, however, believe in developing the relationship between body, mind, and spirit. He saw the physical art of Pilates—the strengthening and stretching of the body—as a practice that could invigorate people mentally and renew their spirit. He believed his method led to true balance in the individual, which encompasses all realms—the physical, mental, and spiritual.
Personally, I believe the breath has a huge role to play in taking the physical practice of Pilates into a deeper mental, and perhaps even spiritual, sphere. When the mind is linked with the body and breath, it becomes possible to be captivated by the present moment. During the practice, there is potential to enter into a flow and discover a kind of zone—this magical state; this one moment in time where there is only your body, only your breath. However, this is not unique to Pilates. Any kind of movement and art form can do this.
3. It’s mostly about flexibility, not strength
Firstly, flexibility is essential to a healthy, balanced body. An ideal body is one that is both strong and flexible. A strong body without any flexibility is limited in what it can do and also more prone to injury; as is a flexible body without strength.
Pilates does indeed work on flexibility, but it works just as much on strength. As cited above, Pilates is challenging—plain and simple. It focuses on building core strength, (the deep muscles of the abdominals and back), and there is no easy way to do this. You must work hard. In fact, if you find the exercises easy, you probably are not doing them properly.