Joseph Pilates, a German gymnast and boxer, began developing his method to improve physical health through specific exercises after determining that “modern” lifestyle, bad posture and inefficient breathing lay at the root of poor health. During World War I while at an internment camp, he taught self defense and wrestling, claiming his students would leave the camp stronger than they were than before their internment. It was here that he began refining and teaching a series of mat exercises that would later be called “Controlology”. Upon moving to America around 1925, he and his new wife Clara took this comprehensive system of physical exercise to New York where they founded a studio where they taught and supervised their students well into the 1960s.
Controlology is related to encouraging the mind to control muscles. It focuses attention on core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine. In particular, Pilates’s exercises teach awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, as well as strengthen the deep abdominal muscles to support this alignment.
We now simply call this system Pilates, but the principles are still the same: Concentration, Control, Centering, Efficiency of Movement, Precision, and Breathing. Pilates has gone through many developments over the years as we have developed a deeper understand of human anatomy and function. I combine Joe Pilates’s traditional approach as well as later contemporary techniques in my teaching. I also incorporate exercises and ideas from the teachings of Feldenkrais and Irene Dowd, as well as drawing from other movement forms such as Yoga and classical ballet. I was trained by Kim Kuznitz of Bent Pilates utilizing the teachings of Kelly Kane, Ron Fletcher and Kathy Grant, as well as her own discoveries that drew from her experience in dance, surfing and martial arts. I completed my training in both mat and equipment Pilates in 2009.
I love Pilates because it is functional exercise. The goal is not to get six pack abs or perform a series of complicated movements to impress your friends, its to help you move throughout your daily life without pain or discomfort and with complete awareness and appreciation of how your body moves that is unique to you. While using this practice, I have never felt more connected to my body and in control of my physical health. I used to suffer from debilitating back pain and thought my dance career would suffer forever because of it; but once I introduced the Pilates method into my routine, I was able re-pattern my body and strengthen the areas where I required more support and have been pain-free ever since.
My love for movement and my enthusiasm for kinesthetic awareness and proper alignment influence my teaching in a way that is challenging, energetic and fun. If you are interested in either private, duet or group sessions with me, email me today.