What exactly is Pilates and why is it beneficial?

Pilates is an exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates, who opened his studio in NYC after he arrived from Germany around 1926. He called his system Contrology because he believed that your muscles can be controlled by your mind with special emphasis on the muscles of the core. There is also focus on using postural muscles, awareness and breath to improve and strengthen the alignment of the spine.

All of these aspects of Pilates are important for full body health. Pilates helps you with everything you do every day.

What’s your personal experience with Pilates? How has it benefited you?

I love Pilates and it always feel like the best thing I can do for my body. Even a little bit of the Pilates method can help everything feel so much better. 

When I first started doing Pilates, it was the hardest thing I had ever done. I was very strong but I was not very stable in my movement and I was somewhat imbalanced in my body. I have scoliosis so Pilates is critical for me. I must do it to feel good, to feel balanced.

How many styles are there, and which one do you teach?

This is an interesting question and if you ask another Pilates teacher they may have a completely different answer. There are those devotees of The Pilates Studio who will say their Pilates is the only real Pilates. I disagree.

I would break this down into Classical Pilates, Fletcher Pilates and Contemporary Pilates.

Classical Pilates follows the concepts and exercise system as Joseph Pilates taught it. 

Fletcher Pilates was founded by Ron Fletcher, one of the original Pilates teachers. He does follow much of the Pilates system but he has a specific percussive breath pattern that is unique to Fletcher Pilates. He also has added some exercises that are more dance based.

Contemporary Pilates teachers take some of the Pilates concepts and integrate them in a different way into movement. 

I teach Classical Pilates!

How many years have you been teaching Pilates?

I have been teaching Pilates for more than 20 years. I first became certified to teach mat which I did for several years and then became certified to teach on the apparatus in 1999.

Which Pilates teachers inspire you?

I have been privileged to work with many wonderful teachers. I love the teaching of Peter Roel, Phoebe Higgins, David Brown, they gave me a fabulous foundation and continue to inspire me. I love the work of Michele Larsen, Lolita San Miguel, Kathy Corey, Kelly Kane and Jillian Hessel to mention just a few. All of these teachers are in different parts of the country and have studied with the Elders, the original Pilates teachers. 

I look forward to taking workshops with them anytime I can.

How has your teaching changed since you started teaching and why?

 I certainly hope it has gotten better! 

What I think that has changed for me is that I have more experience that gives me confidence to work with anyone with injuries. I think my teaching has become more concise , I talk less but am very specific to the exercise and person.

For anyone who has never tried Pilates but want to give it a go, what would you be your advice?

I think that for anyone coming to Pilates the first time should not expect to do everything perfectly or be able to do everything. It is important to communicate to your teacher any physical issues you may have or if any of the exercises are causing discomfort. Exercises can be modified or it may even not be appropriate for you at this time. I think everyone should do Pilates and communication is key.