Posts Tagged ‘Classes’:

kristen4pilates-resized-251“I AM a purist. I swear.” I’m quoting my good friend Michelle Fama, co-owner of Core Pilates NYC, as those were pretty much the exact words I was thinking of using to start this post. I swear! Great minds think alike I guess.

While I can’t speak for Michelle, my reason for swearing I’m a purist is because when it comes to Pilates, that’s how I’ve always seen myself. So when Michelle recently asked me to consult with her on the topic of a new class they offer at their studio, Core 30/30 (similar to a class I teach, Combo Class), I started thinking about the evolution of my teaching and the future of Pilates.

Someone once told me when you are learning something new you first memorize, then imitate those you admire, and finally come into your own. I think I stayed in the imitating world for a while doing everything exactly how I learned it and not really critically thinking. I was worried the Pilates Police (not real in case you were wondering) would come after me if I left out an exercise, or started with leg springs instead of footwork on the reformer.

In time, I began to loosen up a bit. I tend to live in such a black and white world but learned over the years that Pilates is far from black and white. I realized that the Pilates Police weren’t coming after me, and that it’s okay to step out of the box while staying true to the Pilates principles. In reality, in order to survive in this industry, stepping out of the box has become necessary. It’s still something I fight. But we live in a society with lots of choices, constant change, and innovation.

One change I’ve noticed since getting certified in 2003, is the growing number of group apparatus classes being offered. One contribution to this was most likely the economy taking a nose dive in 2007. People needed to come up with creative ways to get and maintain business . There are so many types of classes to choose from whether they be pure Pilates classes or a hybrid of some kind. They range from more classical reformer and tower classes, to jump-board classes that offer cardio, to Pilates Plus type classes.

Is this just a phase or the beginning of something new? Most likely these classes are here to stay. And in another 10 years, I’m sure there will be new trends to talk about in the Pilates world. My guess is even then I’ll still consider myself a purist. While I’m all for making Pilates accessible to people, because at the end of the day I want everyone exercising, I will never compromise myself as a teacher just to be competitive. A bold statement I know, especially considering what I’ve been talking about. But at my core I believe in the classical method.

Trends come and go, but solid teachers are hard to find. So I will continue to do what I can to make my classes fresh and fun, just don’t expect to be jumping from a trampoline onto the reformer and back.



The Pilates Cadillac is one of Joseph Pilates many inventions. I often hear from new clients that it looks like something that would be in a torture chamber, and I have to admit I thought that the first time I saw one. It’s a bed shaped apparatus surrounded by a metal frame, with springs, a trapeze, and leg straps hanging from it. Some of my most favorite Pilates exercises like monkey, leg springs, and airplane to name a few, are done on the Cadillac. There are over 500 exercises in the Pilates repertoire, which makes the workouts always fun and exciting. And many of those 500 can be done on the Cadillac.

Now let me explain how Volkswagens came into this conversation. At some point someone realized they could take the Cadillac, minus the top, bottom, and one side of the frame, and put it up against the wall (the tower is also known as a wall unit). It takes up less space, which allows studio owners to line a bunch up and offer a tower class. In turn the studio is able to offer a more affordable option besides privates. The trapeze and leg straps are the two things missing from the tower as they were attached to the top part of the frame that was removed. You may not be able to hang, do the flying monkey, or the candlestick in a class, but there is no lack of challenging and fun exercises. Wondering what those exercises are? Stop in a studio and maybe you’ll see one of the teachers or advanced clients playing around.

So what exactly is a Tower class and why would you want to go to one? A class incorporates Pilates mat work and Cadillac exercises on the tower apparatus. Mat work as far as I’m concerned is the hardest of the Pilates work. The apparatus helps you find your muscles and support your body so that you are able to get the greatest benefit from the Pilates Method. Tower class was not something that Joe did, so there is no specific order. A class could start with mat work and move on to the tower work, or a teacher might choose to mix them together. Either way a workout includes strengthening the core, increasing strength and flexibility, while also working on balance and control. You will utilize leg springs, arm springs, the push through bar, and the roll back bar to work all parts of your body, most importantly the powerhouse. This is great for anyone. For those of you who have taken a mat class but found it boring or found it hard to “feel” you muscles, this is a great option. Try one class and you’ll be hooked!

UpRise Classical Pilates, located at 929 Montana Ave in Santa Monica, CA, has a number of tower classes each week, as well as reformer/tower combo classes. Each teacher has his/her own style, and there is something to learn from everyone. I personally teach a tower class on Mondays at 1:30, a combo class on Wednesdays at noon as well as Fridays at 11:00 am. Stay tuned for a possible Saturday 10:00 am class starting mid-June. I hope to see you soon at a class so you can experience this exciting workout!