What Are We Doing Here
“Breathing is the first act of life and the last.” -Joseph Pilates
As a child in Germany, Joseph Pilates was not a picture of fine health. He suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. You are probably aware of asthma and it’s symptoms and variability. We see commercials, digital ads, and billboards reminding us that the respiratory issue is faced by a large portion of people in our country, more than 3 million cases are diagnosed per year. However, you may not be as familiar with his other ailments, how the symptoms present, or the effect on a body. Rickets is a softening and weakening in the bones, currently fewer than 1,000 cases are diagnosed per year in our country. Some of the additional side effects of rickets can be an abnormally curved spine and muscle spasms. Rheumatic fever has fewer than 20,000 cases reported per year, usually resulting from untreated strep throat or scarlet fever. Some of the side effects of the fever can be joint inflammation, fatigue, inability to exercise, and chest pain. All in all, it does not appear as though Joe was destined to develop a method of exercise that could improve his health so drastically… yet he did.
Joe studied many forms of movement to help him battle his various ailments. When he was no longer at the mercy of his various illnesses he enjoyed athletics such as skiing, boxing, gymnastics and diving. In all of his movement and athletic studies he was fixated on the idea of a man (or woman) balanced mind, body, and soul. Breathing was integral to his practice, and helped in connecting the 3 planes through this exercises. He started to perfect his methods in a German internment camp in England during World War 1. He began working with a group of men in the camp, teaching them his method, and took it as proof of his regimen’s efficacy when none of his trainees died during the influenza epidemic of 1918. This was the time period Joe developed a lot of his equipment, rigging the hospital beds up with springs and helping the bedridden patients participate in the movement.
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the differences, in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body” -Joseph Pilates
When Joe says “whole new body” I don’t take it to mean a perfect body, or a slim body, or a muscularly built body. As an instructor and devotee of Mr.Pilates work, I take it to be addressing the function of your body, saying it will be completely reformed.
Have you come into your Pilates practice with asthma? Let’s focus on his breathing techniques, see how we can help the asthma and build from there. Do you experience low back pain consistently? Let’s look at where in your core needs strengthening to help take some pressure off! Or maybe you just need some stretching and to learn better functionality of some muscles.
The method has only expanded and grown since Pilates first developed it. Using Joe’s exercises and principals as the foundation and building functional movements that increase range of motion or decrease excess muscle usage Pilates practitioners have been helping develop and teach ways to combat common ailments and functional issues. Pilates as a fitness niche has gotten more refined to specific problems such as pelvic floor dysfunction, scoliosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, kyphosis (forward rolled shoulders), and so many more. Which makes it beneficial to a very broad audience.
When Joe and his wife Clara were training the first students in their method, it was mostly accessible to dancers, elite athletes, or the higher echelon of society. But, Joe himself said he was 50 years ahead of his time, and he could not have been more correct! As Pilates practitioners have helped hone and evolve the method, staying true to Joe’s foundation, it has become much more accessible. It still has a lot to offer trained athletes, but it is beneficial to moms, gardeners, desk jockeys, waitresses, nurses, EVERYONE!
“You are only as young as your spinal column feels” -Joseph Pilates
Breath, concentration, control, centering, precision, balanced muscle development, rhythm and flow, whole body movement, and relaxation; this is what Joe’s foundation is built on. It’s a lot, and it is not achieved in one session, maybe not in one YEAR of sessions, but it is my desire to pass on the movements, techniques, and awareness to help you attain your goals of body reformation.
We are helping you breath.
We are helping you be present in your body.
We are helping you gain control over your movement.
We are helping you find and deepen your center.
We are helping you only use the muscles necessary for any given action, thus help you work easier.
We are helping balance your muscles.
We are helping develop your muscles with functional movement.
We are helping you release unnecessary tension in your body.
“The mind, when housed in a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power” -Joseph Pilates
We are becoming powerful mentally, functional physically, and beautiful souls.
Pilates / Ballet Instructor