"You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions.” – Joseph H. Pilates
History & Background of Pilates
The Pilates method, begun by Joseph Pilates more than 100 years ago, is a truly effective way of changing the structure of your physique through proper use of your muscles. Pilates developed his method through a lifetime of practice, observation, and study of the body and how it functions.
“Contrology,” as Joseph Pilates called it, “is the science and art of coordinated body-mind-spirit development through natural movements under strict control of the will.” Joseph Pilates believed that we could control the body through the mind to improve our structure as well as strengthen the mind and improve focus. This allows you to take control of your body issues and no longer feel powerless to improve your body shape.
The Pilates method is a combination of the best of Western and Eastern traditions, bringing together the mind and the body. Western elements emphasize movement and strengthening of the muscles, whereas Eastern aspects encourage a calm, centered, whole individual, emphasizing flexibility and limberness. Through this process, students develop long, lean muscles, resulting in a more svelte physique.
Pilates does not encourage the locking or hyperextension of joints, thus allowing the muscles to complete the movement. This develops the muscles fully and trains the body to rely upon them to move, stand, lift, etc., and it prevents the joints from being overworked and strained.
An easy way to describe the Pilates method is that it makes you feel comfortable in your body. You become stronger and more flexible throughout, and your body starts to understand the most efficient way of working – working from your core, and using the whole body for a task, rather than just an arm or leg. The practice may seem strange and uncomfortable at first, yet the principles begin to sync with your body even when using the method only twice a week. Eventually, you come to enjoy the movement and flow, along with the limber, freshly massaged feeling that you get after a workout. Romana Kryzanowska, Master Teacher and the protégée of Joseph Pilates, describes it as a “massage you give yourself.”
Who benefits from Pilates?
No matter what your body type, you will find yourself standing straighter and holding in your stomach to look tall, lean and elegant. A once clumsy and tight individual will gradually become more graceful and limber, with purposeful movements and natural ease. An already flexible person will find new strength working from their center to hold up that supple frame. Pilates is applicable to every body, whether you are a couch potato or professional athlete, old or young, healthy or injured, and it will change the way you connect with your body and how you carry yourself.
How does Pilates work?
Private – A private Pilates session lasts 50-55 minutes. For new clients the session is intended to train the individual in the correct order of exercises along with proper form and alignment. A private session for a more advanced client allows them to improve their technique or focus on a specific issue. Usually including reformer and mat work, this is a workout tailored to the individual’s goals, in a one-on-one experience with the instructor.
Semi-Private –Under the supervision and guidance of an instructor, two to three clients lead themselves through their own workout routine in a semi-private session. Also lasting 50-55 minutes, this ideal Pilates workout allows the clients to draw motivation from each other, but still do what is appropriate for their own body’s needs. After a proper introduction to the Pilates method, clients enjoy these inspiring, group workouts.
Mat Class – Mat classes are lively, 45-minute group workouts that generally include a full intermediate mat routine along with various extras chosen by the instructor. These are fun and energetic workouts designed to compliment regular private or semi-private sessions. Beginner mat classes are an easy introduction to the Pilates method and are excellent to improve even an advanced client’s form and technique.
Not all Pilates are equal
While many athletic clubs and gyms are starting to provide Pilates-inspired mat classes, Pilates on Mercer offers you the genuine Pilates experience with instructors who are rigorously trained and tested. They are certified in Romana’s Pilates and/or Authentic Pilates, which remain true to Joseph Pilates’ techniques. Our instructors develop a workout for each client and their specific goals and needs. All of our equipment is the best of its kind, built to the exacting standards and mechanics of Joseph Pilates’ original apparatus.