Pilates is a powerful method of body conditioning and one of the most popular workout systems in the world. Wonderful to watch and incredibly satisfying to perform, the movements have all the power and precision of a boxing or tennis match and the flow of tai chi or dance.
Pilates exercise produces strong, supple bodies and an active, engaged mind. Every movement has a purpose and the student is encouraged to understand it. Understanding produces alert and coordinated bodies and minds. Pilates sessions, well taught and mindfully performed, can engender a wonderful “high” –the sign of a refreshed and elevated spirit.
The method develops a strong core (the “powerhouse” as Joseph Pilates called it) and a strong and supple spine, trunk and limbs. The body works in a centered, integrated way, improving balance and coordination. The method produces regal posture, an easy gait and a open range of motion that is a great aide in functional activities as well as in specialized sports. Breath is choreographed with movement patterns and improves lung capacity and overall stamina.
Joseph Pilates was interested in exercise regimes of all sorts. In his youth he boxed, performed in a circus, studied eastern philosophies, developed a calisthenics program, all of which worked their way into his mat and equipment work that he continued to evolve when he came to NYC in the 1920's and opened his studio on 8th avenue.
He quickly developed a clientele; socialites, dancers, athletes and others flocked to his studio on the strength of his growing reputation, as well as injured clients seeking rehabilitative techniques.
On Joseph Pilates death in 1967, his students branched out through out the country and opened studios of their own. Five of these original students, the “elders,” are still alive and working today, well into their eighties. One of these elders, Romana Kyrzanowska, has been teaching Pilates for sixty years and has been joined by her daughter and granddaughter in keeping the original method fresh and vital. Romana trained and certified Absolute Pilates owner, Lynne Martens, in 2000 at the Pilates Studio, NYC.
"[Pilates] reawakens thousands of dormant brain cells, thus activating new areas and stimulating further the functioning of the mind. No wonder that so many persons express such surprise following their initial experience with [Pilates] exercises, caused by their realization of the resulting sensation of “up lift.”
- Joe Pilates