Posts Tagged ‘reformer’:

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.


Swan on LB version 2

When I was 22 years old a massage therapist told me that if I didn’t do something about my posture I would be hunched over by the time I was 30. Now at 34 people think I am two inches taller than I am and I owe it all to my Pilates practice. It’s one of the reasons I chose to become an instructor. We live in a society where most of our days are spent in flexion. Because of this so many people struggle with poor posture, neck pain, and back problems. I’m sure everyone who sits at a desk all day knows exactly what I am talking about. No one needs to look like the hunch back of Notre Dame, thanks to Pilates.

I spend my days using the phrase “open your heart” in order to counteract all the flexion in my clients lives. Think of your body as a box with your hip next to your hip and your shoulder next to your shoulder from the front view. From the side view you want your ear over your shoulder, your shoulder over your hip, and your hip over your ankle. This applies whether you are standing, on your side, or lying down. One of my jobs as an instructor is to help clients get their symmetry back. What I love about Pilates is that there is no lack of extension exercises in the repertoire. I get to teach them and have fun. From pulling straps or chest expansion on the reformer, to swan or swimming on the mat, to teaser on the wunda chair, you are constantly working on opening your heart.

In extension exercises you need to work your shoulder blades towards one another while widening your collarbone and engaging your core. Once you are able to put them all together effortlessly it’s such a freeing feeling. Strengthening the muscles in the upper part of your back is an important step in standing taller, along with stretching the muscles in your chest. Being able stand tall and look life in the face is a great accomplishment. Pilates can be so much more than just a workout when you are able to enjoy life more because you’ve gotten rid of aches and pains. So open your heart and let Pilates in.