Your Best Body

We aren't doctors.  We aren't healers.  We're just instructors, standing in front of clients, asking them to love us.   We can't promise you "his" six-pack or "her" tush, but we will do OUR best to bring out YOUR best. Body that is.  Whether you have pain or balance issues, want to stand taller or breathe better or be able to lift your grandkids, or you just want to tame some jiggly bits Pilates can help.

Pilates is not just a series of exercises but also a movement method connecting the mind, body and spirit. It can be used to challenge the most advanced athlete and with minor modifications help restore another from injury. It is a testament to the Method that practitioners across all levels of fitness, health, occupation and recreational interests turn to Pilates for its wide-ranging benefits.

Key benefits for special populations are listed below. It is always recommended to address your needs with an Instructor and in cases of injury, illness or pregnancy with the approval of your doctor.

  • PILATES
    FOR ALL AGES
  • PILATES
    FOR PLAY
  • PILATES FOR
    MEDICAL CONDITIONS
  • PILATES
    FOR THE SPINE

PILATES FOR ALL AGES

Pilates is for everyday activites

Youth

We were children, weren't we?  And so was Joe.  In fact, a lot of the Mat Work harkens back to his youth, our youth, when we would roll around in the grass and dive into a lake with wild abandon.  Joe was passionate about taking his Method to everybody, including children.  For children, Pilates helps maintain the positive aspects of a youthful body – flexibility, balance, natural movement – and guides the growing body as it changes in skeletal development and muscular density.

Young Adult / Varsity

Remember doing jumping jacks in gym class?  Or maybe you climbed the rope?  Today, training for Junior Varsity and Varsity sports has become an industry on its own.  The level of competition requires training above and beyond the rudimentary calisthenics of last century.  Professional athletes use Pilates to help give them an edge in their performance and recovery and the same can be said for Junior Varsity and Varsity sports. Pilates can improve balance, coordination, strength and flexibility but, more importantly for this group, it helps enhance body awareness which is crucial in the ever changing young adult body that can literally change overnight.  This body awareness can help prevent injury and improve mental toughness.

Adult 

We are adults.  We have jobs and commutes and we take work home.  As a consequence, we have taken the shape of these devices – heads craned forward to screens, shoulders up by our ears supporting our endlessly tying and texting arms and butts curled under us in the shape of our car seat or desk chair.  Pilates helps you recognize your current alignment and guides you to your former posture.  The greatest benefit is how you can transfer the teachings into your daily life and self-correct your body to maintain the alignment all the while building muscle strength and improving joint flexibility.

Older Adults

Gone are the days when "Grandma" was solely defined as a comely woman that played bingo and baked all those delicious pies.  We know and appreciate that today's seniors are more active than ever.  As a result, we have included classes and programs that address senior's concerns such as flexibility, balance and strength which serve as functional training for daily tasks such as climbing the stairs, lifting heavier objects and getting in and out of the car.  Also, the sheer mind body nature of Pilates helps mental clarity and cognition.  If they say 40 is the new 30 then it only stands to reason that 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50. We did the math. After all, Joe was still working out up until he passed in his 80's. What a blessed life.


PILATES FOR PLAY

Pilates can greatly enhance athletic performance

Endurance Sports

Let's face it.  Pilates isn't known for its cardio training, but it is known for is its emphasis on breathing.  Improving breathing mechanics can enhance focus and endurance in running and cycling.  Pilates also heightens body awareness which produces better form and, in turn, makes for a more efficiently moving body.  This increased efficiency allows you to go farther and longer, while the attention to precise movement prevents injury and reduces recovery time.  Additionally, by developing an understanding and strengthening of the shoulder girdle, Pilates releases  the spine which is generally held in static positions when pounding the pavement or riding a bike.

Recreational

Because of our temperate weather, Southern California is a Mecca for outdoor sports such as tennis and golf.  Who doesn't enjoy a good volley or a challenging back nine?  The specific mechanics of these sports as well as others like soccer, volleyball, bowling and baseball/softball require the repeated use of one side of the body.  This can cause an imbalance in the body's structure which may lead to pain.  Pilates helps to balance out the body's dominant and weak sides and teaches you how to identify when you are falling out of this balance and how to maintain it.

Specialty

Being an equestrian isn't just horseplay.  It takes an incredible amount of balance and control to competently ride a horse.  Think about the athleticism it takes to ride a bike, now imagine that bike is a living, breathing being with a mind of its own.  Just as in cycling, you have to maintain a static postural alignment during movement.  Pilates releases the muscles that create this specific posture and it helps realign the body when not in the saddle.

Team Sports

There is no "I" in Team, but there is one in "Injury". Team sports at any level put a lot of demands on your body. Players need to be able to start, stop and change directions on a dime which may put strain on your joints, ligaments and tendons. Pilates helps you stay mobile and agile as well as strong and powerful.

Water Sports

Whether you like to swim with the dolphins or hang ten, Pilates can enhance your water sports performance. Pilates improves upper body strength and flexibility as well as core strength, all components that are needed to stabilize and react in an aquatic environment.

Enhance current fitness training / cross-training

Because Pilates is a Method and not just a series of exercises, you can take your Pilates awareness into other forms of your training. For example, you can use the body awareness you have formed by practicing Pilates to correct your alignment when lifting weights. You can use the Pilates breathing techniques to help harvest more oxygen during your cardio. You can recognize when you are, in fact, "using your core" and when you aren't when performing your abdominal work. After all, Joe didn't just practice "Contrology". He was a boxer and a gymnast.


PILATES FOR HEALTH MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Practicing Pilates can relieve or aid a variety of medical issuesBack and/or Joint Pain

It may seem counter-intuitive but moving your painful back or joint can help redistribute cells that cause inflammation and relieve overworking or "spastic" muscles. Pilates addresses four specific conditions that help relieve pain: it corrects posture, strengthens the core, promotes flexibility and increases body awareness. Pilates also helps heighten your body awareness so you can self-correct in situations where you may restrain a previously injured area. By strengthening your core, you are more likely to integrate it into strenuous activities and less likely to rely on localized "parts" or "muscles".

Hip / Knee Replacement

Resuming exercise after a joint replacement can be tricky. Even after dedicated physical therapy, the body continues to heal and adjust to the new part. The specialized apparatus helps assist in finding the proper distribution during weight bearing and brings a sense of awareness that can prevent injury. After all, Joe first created his exercises as a way to help wounded soldiers exercise when bedridden.

Incontinence

While this condition is most often associated with women, it can also be present in men. Pilates works on strengthening the pelvic floor which supports the urinary system.

Osteoporosis / Scoliosis

With these and other specific conditions of the spine come structural imbalances. The unique spring support of the Reformer, Cadillac and Tower help reduce the effects of gravity so that you can move your spine more freely.

Rheumatoid Arthritis / Fibromyalgia

Conditions such as these can make exercise painful and frustrating. Because of the customization of machinery and the wide range of exercise modifications included in the Pilates Method, you have a variety of options available to you to help you move comfortably and for longer periods of time.

Pregnancy

Because of the versatility of the Method as well as the apparatus, Pilates is perfectly suited to address your constantly changing pregnant body. The equipment provides much needed support as your mobility starts to diminish and joints shift. The awareness of breathing helps capacity as lung space becomes crowded due to the growing baby. Read more about Pilates for Pregnancy.

Post–Partum

Pilates addresses the restoration of your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles that have been disrupted by giving birth and hormonal shift. It also helps to address the demands placed upon you as a new Mom such as holding and feeding your baby (repetitive motions that can wear and tear specific muscle and joints) and bending to pick up and change the little angle (can potentially aggravate your spine, tendons and ligaments that are healing from the months of gestation and the 'trauma' of birth.) The Post Partum period is where some Moms may experience depression and, while not a remedy on its own a healthy exercise program may also help in restoring an emotional sense of well-being. Read more about Pilates for Post-Natal Recovery.

Menopause / Peri & Post Menopausal

They call it "the change" for a reason. As the body transitions into Menopause, there are a lot of physiological, emotional and hormonal changes that come with it. Pilates as an exercise regimen can address the weight gain associated with the hormonal changes of Menopause and can also help sculpt the body. More importantly, it helps maintain body awareness in the ever changing menopausal body. Just as in pregnancy, the specialized support of the machinery can compensate for tendons, joints and ligaments that are affected by hormonal changes. And as in post-partum, exercise itself can provide a feeling of well-being for those that are experiencing hormonally driven depression.


PILATES FOR THE SPINE

A young boy crouching down effortlessly at the beachJoe Pilates said "You're as young as your spine is flexible." He wrote that 'the art of Contrology proves that the only real guide to your true age lies not in years or how you THINK you feel but as you ACTUALLY are as infallibly indicated by the degree of natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by your spine throughout life.' It was Joe's goal to restore the spine to its more youthful origins. How did he intend to do this?

The Short Answer

Pilates focuses on building your Powerhouse. Your Powerhouse supports your back. Therefore it stands to reason that as you strengthen your Powerhouse you increase the support to your back lessening any pain. Further, the controlled movement of the spine helps reduce inflammation and relieve spastic muscles which enhance flexibility.

The Long Answer

Pilates addresses four specific conditions to help maintain/build a strong supple spine.

  • Strengthens the Powerhouse
  • Corrects posture
  • Promotes flexibility
  • Increases body awareness

How does Pilates strengthen the Powerhouse?

Joseph believed that the start of all movement originates in what he called the 'Powerhouse' and which includes the Core abdominal muscles plus four more muscle groups.

  1. Anterior abdominals also known as the spinal flexors and what most of us mean when we say 'core muscles' include the rectus abdominis (a.k.a. the six pack), the external and internal abdominal oblique and the transversus abdominis.
  2. Posterior abdominals also known as spinal extensors or low back muscles include the erector spinae group and the transversospinalis group and the quadratus lumborum.
  3. Hip Extensors include the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and the posterior head of the adductor magnus.
  4. Hip Flexors include the iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius, tensor fasciae latae and the more anterior adductors of the thigh at the hip joint.
  5. Pelvic floor musculature, also known as the perineal muscles include the levator ani, coccygeus, superficial and deep transverse perineals.

Pilates workouts promote the proper recruitment of these Powerhouse muscles no matter what the exercise.

How does Pilates correct your posture?

The key to correcting posture is the ability to identify imbalances in your body. For example, if you work in an office you are probably stuck in traffic most days only to arrive and spend the next eight hours sitting at your desk with your head craned forward, your shoulders hunched over and your tush curled underneath. Sound familiar? Pilates affects the posture of the pelvis which results in postural changes to the lumbar spine. It works directly upon the musculoskeletal structure of the spine by strengthening, stretching and lengthening the spine through controlled movement and it tones the abdominopelvic cavity as a whole.

How does Pilates promote flexibility?

Pilates works the muscles "eccentrically". It loads the muscle when it is elongating. Additionally, the unique resistance of the Reformer, Cadillac, Tower System and Chair provides support for your body weight so you can concentrate on increasing your range of motion.

How does Pilates increase body awareness?

Pilates is about moving with control and precision. The result is that you are present in both your mind and body. This conscious movement promotes kinetic awareness. Additionally, as you feel your body going through postural changes, you become aware of what feels "natural" and what feels "off". As you grow confident in your body awareness, this allows you to self-correct in real life situations where you may have otherwise injured yourself (strain your back for example); thereby, providing an added benefit of preventative behavioral modifications.

The spine is like a tree trunk that has been misshapen by the wind and the branches become improperly distributed. Pilates works to balance and align the body from within, with the spine being of utmost importance.

Pilates for the Spine