You really don’t want to know.  So the question I get asked most often is….How often do YOU do Pilates?  My answer, every day.  I do two formal 50 minute session weekly , do 15 minutes of Pilates daily every morning, and jump on a piece whenever I feel a little stiff in between clients if I can for a couple minutes.  So what happens when I don’t do Pilates?  I am cranky, stiff, agitated and my body doesn’t cooperate.

I am on my feet for up to 12 hours most days of the week and I am pain free most days of the week.  Pilates allows me to feel this way and function at my best for my clients and for myself.

BUT……I have clients whom I see once a week who get so many benefits from Pilates!  So how can that be?  Well let me explain.  Consistency, Let me tell you again, consistency.  All of my clients, whether they come in one time a week or four, if they use the principles daily in every day like while driving, on the golf course, at their desks, in the cars, while running, their bodies will thank them for it and they will feel the difference.

So I love to be able to say this.  All that matters is that to me is that you do Pilates consistently.

The very first time I met Amy she said to me: “Hi, I’ve done Pilates but if you ask me to pretend I am a bowl I am going to walk out.”  I laughed until I cried. Seven years later, she is still a client that comes twice a week, once for a private lesson and once for a duet. Now, check this out. Her duet partner, Pam, looooooooves when I say “Pretend you’re a bowl.” 

Okay. So …… lets get back to tthe question. Why does a Pilates teacher need a Pilates lesson? There are many reasons, but here is one good one.

When I ask my clients to feel something, I HAVE to know how it actually feels. How on earth will I be able to explain it to them otherwise. Then, on top of that, I need to be able to explain it in various ways to reach the Amys and Pams of this world.

Listening and teaching are both key Pilates skills. Believe it or not, spending 600 hours learning Pilates movements is the easy part. How to teach these moves to students is the fun challenge. Everyone has a different learning style. This keeps me on my toes every day. Taking lessons from other teachers is one way to learn other cues, but taking lessons also keeps me engaged in my own body to learn what cues may or may not work for me, which helps me to come up with cues for others.

So when I ask you to pretend you’re a bowl, I know it sounds weird but I also know what it feels like and how to cue you to feel it too. I promise, the weird turns to fun, wild, cool and awesome really quickly.

During my Pilates training, it was imperative that I understood THE 6 principles before I even learned how to teach one exercise.  

  1. Centering
  2. Control
  3. Concentration
  4. Precision
  5. Breath
  6. Flow

Pretty self explanatory, right? Well, not so fast. Ten years later, as a teacher AND a student of the discipline, I am amazed that I am STILL learning more and more about each of these principles. 

Centering is the main focus of the Pilates method. All the work starts from and is sustained through the Center, or better known as the Pilates Powerhouse. Your Powerhouse includes all of your musculature within the area of shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, front to back of the body.  This is also called your Pilates Box.  Think of this as redefining your Core.

Concentration is required to execute the exercises with full benefit. The mind guides the body. 

After centering and concentration comes control over the exercises . We never let gravity take over. We control gravity.  

Precision. Each exercise is designed with a precise goal in mind. To reach this goal, you are encouraged to pay attention to form, structure and quality – not quantity. In other words, you can fatigue a muscle with very few repetitions

Then we look at Breath. Pilates breathing is about increasing lung capacity, inhaling to increase oxygenation to the muscles and exhaling to rid the body of stale air. As a result, the muscles of the Pilates powerhouse get stronger and more flexible.

Finally, there is Flow. As a student progresses, theres a continuous movement from exercise to exercise. My first instructor used to tell me “Erica, transitions are exercise too!” and she was so right! 

Twelve years ago, I suffered from severe Sacroiliac (SI) joint disfunction because of weak glute activation. Basically, this meant I could not pick up my newborn daughter, cough, sneeze or sit down without extreme pain. Now, when I say extreme, I mean extreme. I am tough.

That’s when I found Pilates. At the time, I had received dual Masters degrees in nutrition and exercise physiology so I worked in the wellness industry (and lived and breathed fitness and nutrition). I knew about Pilates and thought that this was the perfect time to try it. The practice quickly taught me to engage my deepest muscles, the transverse abdominus of my powerhouse or the area that includes abdomen, low back and hips. Immediately, I felt protection. I learned how to engage my gluts, stabilize my joints and strengthen my entire body, all while maintaining flexibility.

There are two types of Pilates practices, on the mat through a series of movements and exercises done on specifically-designed apparatus. The most well-known machines are the Reformer, the Cadillac, the Ladder Barrel, the Spine Corrector, the Half Barrel, the Wunda Chair and the High Chair. You may have also heard of the Baby Chair, the Pedi-Pole or the Foot Corrector. When consistently practiced, Pilates can improve strength, flexibility, stability and balance through proper body alignment.

Fast forward, I was hooked and started to feel better…so much so I could pick up my baby girl. I had private lessons twice a week and soon developed concentration, control and centering (the famous three Cs of Pilates that help in the studio but also in every day life). I vowed one day to open a studio that provided the same experiences for my clients.