What is Pilates?
Pilates is a method of exercise, developed by Joseph H. Pilates during the First World War, that emphasizes the balance of strength, stretch and control in the entire body. It is not physical therapy, it is not massage, it is not yoga, it is not meditation – just sweaty, hard exercise. Joe understood that the body repairs and strengthens itself through movement. Pilates is a workout that will keep your body functioning as it ages and enables you to do whatever you enjoy doing for longer.
Why is there so much emphasis on the stomach?
The strongest muscles in the body are in the girdle around the middle. All strength and movement originates here. A well-balanced Pilates workout uses all the muscles in the girdle including the abdominals, back and sides of the body. When balanced strength and flexibility is returned to the girdle, a feeling of freedom and well being results.
Who is it good for?
Pilates is good for anyone who is interested in improving his or her fitness, posture, coordination, balance, freedom of movement and overall wellbeing. The Pilates method can be adapted to suit any fitness level, however we do require clients with health issues, injuries or chronic pain to consult their physician before beginning any new exercise program.
I’ve never taken Pilates before. What can I expect for my first lessons at Urban Pilates?
A person who has never taken Pilates before can expect to find muscles they didn’t know they had, move in a new way, and discover things they hadn’t noticed about the way their body moves. A new student will learn the essential principles of Pilates, and with the help of their instructor, will discover how Pilates will help them reach their fitness goals.
I’ve been taking Pilates for many years. What’s different about Urban Pilates?
As the popularity of Pilates grows, health clubs and sports facilities are beginning to offer Pilates-inspired or Pilates-based programs. Authentic Pilates is different, a unique and powerful method that has stood the test of time and delivers long lasting results. At Urban Pilates, we offer only the Authentic Pilates method performed on the originally designed equipment the way Uncle Joe would want it.
Through the guidance of an Urban Pilates instructor, the experienced student will learn to distill each exercise down to its essence, resulting in a challenging yet satisfying workout.
Can Pilates cure me of my pain?
Many painful conditions in the body are caused by simple imbalances or stress. Correcting these imbalances and relieving the stress often can relieve the pain. Pilates is not physical therapy, but it is correct exercise, and as such has many benefits including injury prevention and improved athletic skill. Orthopedic problems need the attention of a medical specialist and anyone under a physician’s care should not engage in Pilates without consent from his/her physician.
How often do I need to take Pilates to maintain good health?
Three times per week is optimal, especially at the beginning. As one gets stronger and develops proper use of the body, as little as once per week is good for maintenance. Combining sessions at the studio with mat work at home is ideal.
What are the age limits for doing Pilates?
Children as young as 5 or 6 years old can do the mat work. The body should be more developed, and the bones hardened, before attempting work on the apparatus. People in their 90’s have started Pilates with surprising results.
I take mat classes. How is a workout with equipment different?
The equipment was developed to help people gain strength and flexibility for the mat work. Doing the mat properly is extremely difficult and takes a strong, well developed body. The various apparatus that Joe invented help to target specific areas that need strengthening or more freedom. Each piece of equipment supports the other and teaches the body the principles of Pilates in different ways.
How is Pilates different than Yoga?
There are many diverse styles of Yoga, some of which teach a philosophy of living that includes meditation, breathing and chanting as well as a physical practice. Pilates is exercise, and one session requires just 50-55 minutes. It is always executed with dynamic flow and few repetitions. With the exception of a few exercises that emphasize a specific breathing pattern, the rest of the workout is done with natural breathing and flow. Pilates requires focus and concentration to retrain the body to move with strength and ease, with the support of the entire torso. Privates and semi-privates allow clients to have a safe and personalized workout.