What is Pilates?
Pilates is an innovative and relatively safe method of exercise that evolved from the principles developed by Joseph Pilates and was made popular in recent years by the dance and performing arts community. Using a variety of mat and equipment techniques, Pilates can not only transform the way your body feels and functions, but can also help strengthen without adding bulk.
According to the Pilates Method Alliance®, Pilates yields numerous benefits. Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep, healthy breathing is a primary focus. Strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles, coordination - both muscular and mental, are key components in an effective Pilates program. Posture, balance, and core strength are all heartily increased. Bone density and joint health improve, and many experience positive body awareness for the first time. Pilates teaches balance and control of the body, and that capacity spills over into other areas of one's life.
Many people find Pilates as they seek to improve their flexibility or rehabilitate their bodies from injury, but the benefits go far beyond this:
Improved range of motion
Lower blood pressure
Improved physical conditioning
Enhanced sports performance
A stronger, more powerful core
Calmed mind, reduced stress and anxiety
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Should I try Pilates?
No matter your age or physical abilities, Pilates can help improve strength, mobility and flexibility. Pilates exercises focus on developing a strong “core” while integrating the whole body and mind, thereby improving overall body awareness, posture, and coordination.
Among the many benefits of Pilates are that it increases your strength and flexibility without “bulking” you up. Most Pilates classes don’t typically increase your heart rate to an aerobic level (although Jumpboard classes definitely will get your heart pumping!!!), but you may find that strength training with Pilates does help improve your posture and whittle your waistline.
While many who suffer from injuries or weaknesses find “traditional” exercise methods difficult, most Pilates exercises are typically low or no-impact, and many are performed in seated or reclined positions. Pilates is so safe, it is often used in conjunction with physical therapy to rehabilitate injuries, and most exercises can be easily modified to suit the client's needs. At the same time, Pilates techniques are challenging for even the most well-conditioned athletes.
Photo courtesy of Balanced Body®
Pilates Mat Classes
Participants use padded mats and often incorporate additional props such as the Magic Circle, resistance bands, foam roller, hand weights, or a mini-ball. Pilates mat work builds strength, improves flexibility and enhances coordination.
Via Pilates mat classes are appropriate for all fitness levels, for those new to Pilates, as well as those with more extensive Pilates backgrounds. Classes are tailored to suit all participants, whether a beginner or an advanced Pilates student. Most exercises can be modified for those dealing with injuries or physical limitations.
Because of current social distancing measures and precautions required due to COVID-19, all of our Pilates mat or barre-based class offerings (Mat, Mat 2, Barre Blast, Mat-Barre Blend and Stability Ball) are offered in an online-only format. Classes are small-group, interactive, and offer the same quality instruction clients are used to in their in-person studio sessions...but from the comfort and convenience of their own home.
We have a variety of props available for pick-up or shipping to help make your home Pilates "mini studio" an ideal personal practice space.
Pilates Equipment Classes
The Pilates reformer is the most commonly used piece of Pilates equipment. Invented by Joseph Pilates, the reformer is a bed-like frame with a platform which rolls back and forth. Springs, a footbar, and long straps provide resistance or support which makes the carriage more or less difficult to move. The reformer is a very versatile machine which adds many new challenges to a Pilates workout.
Designed by Master teacher Ellie Herman, the springboard uses wall mounted springs to challenge core stability and add resistance to a Pilates workout.
The Wunda Chair and various barrels/arcs may also be incorporated into Equipment Circuit classes.
Pilates is well-known for using spring-based resistance, but did you know that springs are used in two primary ways: as assistance and as resistance. Some exercises use the springs as resistance to challenge and strengthen the muscles of the body, while other exercises depend on the springs to assist the body in performing a movement. Determining which springs to use will often be based on the intent of the exercise, and whether the spring would be providing resistance or assistance.
Photos courtesy of Balanced Body®