What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that can prepare you for anything you want to do in life! It can be gentle, yet challenging, and it teaches you to move from your center. Being conscious of how you move, the alignment of your body, and how use your breathing are all important components of Pilates. Through the method of Pilates you will learn how to engage your core, also known as your “powerhouse” in Pilates terms, which includes all of the deep abdominal muscles that help support your spine and pelvis.
Pilates is named after the man who developed it- Joseph Pilates, back in the 1920’s. It quickly caught on with dancers, (Martha Graham and George Balanchine where among those who attended Pilates classes at his NYC Studio). They recognized how the method helped them train to be better dancers, with its focus on balance, strength and flexibility. In more recent years it has been adapted and used by Athletes who train with it to keep themselves at the top of their game. The benefits of Pilates has now become mainstream, with more people discovering the benefits to improving how they move and feel in their everyday life.
Who Can Benefit From Pilates?
Pilates is for everyone! It seems everyone is either doing Pilates or is interested in starting a Pilates exercise program, and with good reason- Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise because it works so well for a wide range of people. Everyone can do it, from athletes and dancers to seniors and women regaining their body after pregnancy. It is used by people who are working on physical rehabilitation because of its focus on form, stability, and proper alignment.
Why Choose Pilates?
There are 6 Pilates principals as developed by Joseph Pilates. They are: centering, control, flow, breath, precision, and concentration.
Each of these principals is an essential ingredient in a high-quality Pilates workout. Pilates is about quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike many systems of exercise, Pilates exercises do not include a lot of repetitions for each move. Instead, doing each exercise fully - with precision, focus and concentration - will bring significant results in a shorter time than one would ever imagine. Joseph Pilates' famous quote, “In 10 days you will feel different, in 20 days you will look different, in 30 days you will have a whole new body!” can be very true of those who practice Pilates regularly.
The top benefits of doing Pilates exercise include becoming stronger, longer, leaner, and going through life with more with grace and ease.
Alleviate Back Pain and Improve Posture
Pilates can help alleviate back pain because of its focus on deep core strength and fluid movement of the spine. Often back pain can result from issues like lack of core support, pelvic instability, muscular imbalances, poor posture, and lack of body awareness. Pilates addresses all of these issues, focusing on body and spine alignment in all of its movements. It is often used in rehabilitation after injury because it addresses so well the structural imbalances in the body that may have lead to the pain. I often have students tell me how much more aware they are of their posture and body alignment once they start doing Pilates!
How to do Pilates
Some of the exercises are done on a mat and some are done on special equipment that has springs to create resistance for our muscles. You are using your own body weight, so the benefits of weight bearing exercise (for bone density) are always there. Using the Pilates equipment, such as the Reformer, Cadillac, chairs, or barrels, will add another component of challenge with the addition of springs and pulleys, working as resistance training. Each repetition is very precise, with our focus on the body’s alignment, and resistance continues throughout the movement, so that your muscles get the full benefit while they lengthen and strengthen. The movements are always fluid and controlled, leaving you feeling strong, stretched out, and amazing after every Pilates session!
Mat Work and Equipment
There are many ways to try Pilates!
Virtual Group Reformer
Pilates done on the Reformer in a virtual group setting is one of our most popular classes. The fluid choreography of the exercises is designed to improve core, strengthen stability, enhance body awareness and develop lean and toned muscles. These classes are taught in a virtual group setting with the students working in unison on the equipment, guided by one of our certified teachers. The classes are kept small to ensure each student gets the assistance with form they need. The repertoire taught in these classes will challenge your muscles in a full body workout! All levels welcome!
Virtual Pilates Mat
This is the classic origin of Pilates. Using only a mat on the floor, we go through a series of exercises that focus on core strength, moving the spine and breathing. We offer virtual classes that are appropriate for beginners, with our All Levels Pilates classes, as well as more intermediate Mat with Props classes for more experienced students. We often use small props to add variety and challenge to our mat repertoire. Pilates mat is something that is always beneficial, can be challenging on any level, and a workout you can take with you wherever you go!
Private Instruction Pilates
This is the perfect way to learn the foundations of Pilates and receive one on one instruction tailored to your specific needs. You will work with an instructor who first starts by learning your health history and your specific goals. Each session will be geared to teach you a solid understanding of Pilates, along with fine tuning your form and alignment in each movement. You will have an opportunity to try all of the various Pilates equipment in addition to the Reformer, you will use the Cadillac, Chair and Barrels. Each unique piece of Pilates equipment offers something to enhance your experience and allows you to progress at your own pace under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Many of our students take one or two private sessions a week, to continue to focus on fine-tuning their practice, along with taking our group classes. They find with the added benefit of the private instruction, they get much more out of all the other workouts they do.
Semi-Private Pilates Instruction
This is a great way to share Pilates with a friend and benefit with savings! These are one on one sessions shared by two people in a semi-private setting. Sharing a session with another person can enhance the experience so that you both benefit. There is a cost savings for both of you from the price of a private session, and you get to experience Pilates in a smaller group setting allowing you both to get the benefit of the experienced eye of a trained teacher to guide you. We will always start with the basics, teaching the principals of Pilates. You will progress together as you try out all of the specialized equipment Pilates has to offer.