It comes as no surprise that Kate Hudson, an avid Pilates practitioner, has a beautiful core. But what about the rest of us without access to Hollywood genes, Hollywood personal trainers or a Hollywood bank account? Does regularly practicing Pilates at home, in group classes or in weekly private sessions deliver the same results? The answer is yes! Pilates is not just one of Hollywood’s fitness secrets or a yoga-like form of exercise. Almost a century ago, the founder of Pilates developed a series of exercises aimed to benefit any body against the perils of modern living…longer work weeks, more sitting at a desk, and less time for daily physical activity. Today, over 8 million people worldwide regularly do Pilates, including Hollywood’s elite, mothers-to-be, and aging bodies seeking to prevent or recuperate from injuries.
In the early 20th century, Joseph Pilates recognized a changing society where emerging technology was taking a toll on physical fitness and overall health. Pilates himself grew from a sickly child intro a gymnast, bodybuilder, and professional boxer with a keen interest in human anatomy. During World War I, he was interned along with other German citizens at a British interment camp where he developed the mat series of Pilates in order to help rehabilitate his fellow citizens. He also turned to resources on hand, like hospital beds with springs, to build equipment that provided assistance and proper alignment for his exercises. This equipment is what we know now as the Universal Reformer and is used in group and private Pilates classes around the globe. Legend has it that during the great flu pandemic of 1918, all of Pilates’ “students” at the interment camp survived. When war ended in Europe, Pilates set sail for the United States and en route he met a nurse, Clara, who would become his teaching partner and wife. Pilates opened his New York City studio in the same building as several dance studios and soon dancers became devoted followers of his methods. For forty years, Pilates taught a wide range of students and continued to invent new exercises and equipment, like the Barrel and Magic Circle, which he fashioned out of beer kegs.
Joseph Pilates on the Universal Reformer
Breath, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow are the six principles that guide a Pilates workout and set it apart in the fitness world. Often compared to yoga, the emphasis in Pilates is on core strength and on spinal alignment. The regular practice of Pilates teaches you to be aware of your body and to move with symmetry and coordination when performing daily tasks off the mat or outside of class. From sitting up tall and straight with your head against the headrest while driving to engaging your core when you lift up a suitcase, the lessons learned in a Pilates session can prevent injuries, improve posture, and minimize aches and pains.
Group Class or Private?
The first question many people ask when trying out a Pilates class is whether to jump into a group class or start with private instruction. Private sessions are tailored to an individual and are also more expensive. It is often best to learn the basics in a few private sessions before transitioning into faster paced group classes. Thankfully as Pilates has gained in popularity, there are more and more affordable options for both private and group classes. If you have a friend who is also interested in learning Pilates or already does some Pilates, taking a Duo Class (two-person private class) can also help mitigate some of the cost at most studios. Group classes have the added benefit of being any opportunity to learn from a variety of instructors, be exposed to learn different styles and types of equipment.
Mat or Equipment?
Both! The equipment used in Pilates classes, including the Universal Reformer, Chair, Cadillac and other apparatuses, were designed to support you while you perform the exercises. If you have limitations or injuries, starting on the equipment is ideal. Both mat and equipment classes can be taught privately or as a group. Many gyms, yoga studios and Pilates studios offer mat classes and mat is a great way to practice at home or while traveling. Pilates himself usually taught a combination of both mat and equipment to his students for optimal results.
In Denver, stop by our Washington Park location for an affordable Private mat or reformer session…Or try a Combo Wellness Consult/Pilates Private session for a full body & mind health boost!
Ask about our Introduction to Pilates Specials, Refer a Friend, Corporate & Student Discounts!