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What are the benefits of pilates?

There are entire books written on the benefits of pilates, but to mention just a few:  overall strength and toned muscles, correction of muscle imbalances, injury prevention, increased energy and endurance, improved flexibility, posture and balance, reduced or eliminated pain, joint mobility.  Pilates greatly improves any sport and daily activities.


How is pilates different from other forms of exercise?

Some forms of exercise such as weight lifting, focus on individual body parts.  Pilates in unique in that it is a safe exercise that works the entire body, training our body parts to work together, systematically exercising all the muscle groups, the weak as well as the strong.  In addition, in many forms of exercise, we try to "get through it" and may listen to music or even watch tv to get our mind anywhere else than what we are doing!  In pilates, there is complete focus and concentration on what our bodies are doing and the exercises must be done with control and precision.


How long before I see/feel results?


Joseph Pilates said, "You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions."  However, after just one class you will feel rejuvenated, more limber and more aware of your body in space.  Oftentimes you and others will see a difference right away by becoming more aware of your posture, standing taller, engaging your core and relaxing your shoulders. To obtain good posture without thinking about it, gain muscle tone and correct muscle imbalances, it will take 3-6 months of regular practice.  

Will I lose weight?

Although pilates will burn some calories and will improve your metabolism because of increased muscle mass, Pilates should not be your sole exercise for losing weight.  A cardio program 3-4 times a week, such as walking, running, swimming or dancing, along with a good nutritional program, is recommended to lose weight and maintain a healthy heart.


I am a physically fit person, why should I begin with the modified techniques?

It is very important to begin your pilates training with the modified versions.  You will obtain much faster results in the long run by going slowly in the beginning.  It will also be safer for you.  Although you may look physically fit, lift weights, run 5 miles a day, etc., you may be only working your larger mobilizing muscles (arms, legs, outer abs).  Pilates works from the inside out by strengthening and lengthening our deeper postural muscles first.  Theses muscles work to stabilize and have more endurance, helping with posture, alignment, balance and injury prevention.  It is by strengthening these muscle first that trains our bodies to correctly assist the larger mobilizing muscles.


modified versions of the "Hundred"

Why the emphasis on breathing?


Correct, controlled breathing is one of the main pilates principles.  It oxygenates our cells, giving us energy and helps us focus and concentrate.  In addition, to strengthen the abdominals, they must contract.  This means abdominal breathing is not possible to maintain correct muscle recruitment.  Instead, we us thoracic, lateral breathing, breathing into the lower back sides of the ribs.

Is it better to work on Pilates machines or do matwork?


Matwork is the foundation of the pilates method and if you can master the mat exercises prior to using the machines, you will have gained exceptional physical and mental skill of the pilates principles that will be of great benefit to using the machines.  On the other hand, with a good teacher, it is still possible to learn the pilates principles through work solely on the equipment.  Is one harder than the other?  Not necessarily.  On the mat, you must use your own body to support your weight through the movements.  To do so with control can be very challenging.  The equipment gives you a supporting base to work on, however, adding springs for resistance will make some of the mat exercises more challenging on the equipment.  The best scenario for pilates training is to do both mat and equipment if possible.

Joseph Pilates working with a student on the Reformer

What is the Pilates Reformer?


The reformer's basic components include a frame, headrest, foot bar and a sliding platform with attached springs that glides back and forth on rollers. An assortment of adjustable accessories--springs, cables, bars and pulleys--is used to create resistance and allow the body to perform a number of exercises while standing, kneeling, sitting or lying down. Leather straps, or ropes, facilitate correct positioning of arms and legs, and an adjustable headrest helps to insure stability and proper breathing patterns. The standard studio reformer is elevated on four legs.  Studies conducted by Michele Olson, PhD, confirmed that regular use of the Pilates reformer results in "significant improvements" in flexibility, strength and muscular endurance.  Once the basics of proper breathing and focused movement are mastered, the reformer helps to increase core strength and improve flexibility, while encouraging the smooth flow of movement that is necessary to maintain correct form and alignment of the body.


In a private class, you have the teacher’s complete attention.  Not only will you learn correct technique but individual posture needs, muscle imbalances and injuries can be addressed.  Private classes will be tailored just for you and over time your teacher will be build upon each session to challenge you to the next level.  


While there is a mind-body connection in both pilates and yoga, they are actually much different and there are great benefits in both. In yoga, emphasis is placed more on meditation and relaxation techniques and believed to help the functions of the internal organs. The stretches are held for a period of time at the end range of joint motion and muscle strength.  Pilates is a continuous flow of precise movements that begin at a small range of motion and progresses to the end range.  It is very seldom a pilates exercise is held stationary as in yoga.


Not at all, although that is one of the many benefits.  The focus of pilates is indeed our “core” or “powerhouse” (the entire area, front & back, between the lower ribs and pubic bone), but the entire body is working in all the exercises.  You will have an entirely new body with regular practice.

By gaining strength, flexibility, balance, core control, correcting muscle imbalances, improving posture, increasing endurance, rehabilitating existing injuries and preventing future ones, improving focus and awareness with the mind-body connection, improving coordination.  Whether you are playing tennis, basketball, dancing or even bowling, pilates will surely improve your sport.


Joseph Pilates began his teaching methods in Europe during World War I to help rehabilitate injured soldiers.  When he came to American in the 1920's, he was an immediate success among the dancing community when he opened his New York studio.  Dancers quickly discovered the countless benefits of his teachings and the perfect partnership of dance and pilates.  The pilates principles …Breath, Flow, Precision, Control, Concentration & Centering are essential to dancers.  Compared to other forms of strength training, pilates is the exercise choice among dancers because it improves and restores dancer’s muscles and movements adding strength and agility without injury.


No exercise program should be started without prior approval from your doctor.  Please inform your instructor of any issues or injuries that you may have.  We will help guide you and may have you modify or abstain from certain movements, however, we are not physicians and all exercises are at your own risk.  Although there may be some normal discomfort while strengthening and stretching muscles, there should absolutely be no sudden or severe pain.  Stop the exercise immediately and inform your instructor if you feel any pain.  Please use your own best judgment while performing the exercises.


Form fitting clothes is recommended over too loose clothing so your instructor can better see that you are using proper form to avoid injury and to also to avoid unwanted exposure in various positions.  For good hygiene, some type of foot covering such as grip socks or flip flops is recommended for use inside the studio but bare feet or grip socks are recommended for the exercises.  If you wish to purchase grip socks, we do sell Toesox® at the studio which are special socks used in pilates that separate the toes and have grip on the bottom and also Tavi Noir® that also have grip but do not separate the toes.

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