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What are the 6 Principles of Pilates?

The mind controls the body; one must have the mind under complete mental control before beginning an exercise. Momentum and jerky movements indicate lack of control and often lead to injuries.

Mind and body work together to execute deliberate and precise movement to maximize results.

The powerhouse is the source of all movement; maintaining a stable core is needed to stretch and lengthen the muscles. A strong powerhouse improves posture and supports the spine and internal organs.

Exercises are executed in order and flow from one to another. There is minimal motion wasted, and each motion flows into the next.

The body is properly aligned and moves with control thus achieving maximum benefits.

Correct breathing reduces stress on organs, purifies the blood and develops the lungs. Inhalation pulls oxygen into the bloodstream and stimulates muscle activity.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a holistic method of exercise that works the body, mind and spirit. Originally known as ‘Contrology’, it is a discipline that works on strength, control and flexibility.

Who is Joseph Pilates?

Joseph Pilates is the creator of Pilates. Born in Germany, he was a sickly child. He devoted his life to improving his physical condition. He was a gymnast, bodybuilder, boxer, circus performer, and martial athlete. During World War I, he interned in war camps where he worked with wounded soldiers on recovery. Since many of his patients were bed-ridden, Joseph worked with them in their beds; this is credited to the way original rough-looking Pilates equipment looks to this day.

What is Romana Pilates?

Romana Kryzanowska was a protégé of Joseph and Clara Pilates. After their death, she took on the torch of carrying the Pilates legacy. ‘Romana Pilates’ is also known as ‘Classical Pilates’ due to its links to the original method developed by Joseph.

What is the Difference between Yoga and Pilates?

Pilates and Yoga share commonality in that both stretch and strengthen the body through mind-body connection and integrating breath. The difference in the two approaches is that Pilates traditionally uses specialized equipment. The equipment works on body alignment, utilizes resistance to challenge the muscles, and requires muscle control to create fluid movement. Lack of control of the equipment signals lack of muscle control.

Is Pilates Good for Men?

Yes, Pilates is great for men! There is a joke that Pilates is a great way to humble men. Men tend to have strong upper bodies and power through exercises. Most men, and for that matter the general population, also lack flexibility. Pilates is a fantastic way to make any body stronger and flexible.

Why Pilates?

Joseph Pilates was a true genius. The Pilates method requires full concentration, hence the body-mind connection, and full control through the powerhouse. All body movements originate from the powerhouse, thus creating a challenging workout that creates a strong torso.

Pilates starts slowly and develops through repetitious movements. It is not unusual to leave the first few sessions thinking there is not much to Pilates or doubting its effectiveness. The workout in Pilates comes from the depth of the muscles. In order to get into the muscles, one needs to gain awareness how to utilize the muscles. A tiny correction can result in tremendous improvement in the feel and effect of an exercise, which is why starting out with private sessions is strongly encouraged.

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In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 you’ll see the difference, and in 30 you’ll have a new body.”

Joseph Pilates

If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.

Joseph Pilates

Contrology (Pilates) is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.

Joseph Pilates



This is the basic piece of Pilates equipment and is where the Pilates magic starts. The reformer resembles a bed frame and is a gliding platform that has springs, straps and pulleys that offer resistance. Because one starts lying down on the reformer, the equipment offers support for everyone but especially for those with limited range of motion or injuries. The rectangular shape of the apparatus helps point out alignment issues and weak spots. The carriage moves on wheels and adjusting the springs regulates tension and resistance thus challenging strength and endurance.


The first reaction to the Cadillac is usually a mischievous smile with a comment referencing ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. The Cadillac has many elements – arms springs, leg springs, roll back bar, push through bar, and trapeze thus offering a wide variety of options working the entire body. Because it is elevated, it is great for elderly or those injured as they do not have to bend down to get to the floor. In contrast to the Reformer, the Cadillac base does not move. The Cadillac is probably the most versatile apparatus but because of its size, it is not available in large numbers in Pilates studios.

Electric/ High Chair:

The Electric chair has a high back and side handles for support. It has the heaviest (most resistance) springs from all the Pilates equipment. It is not for Pilates beginners. It is usually used for exercises to strengthen and balance the hips, glutes, legs, ankles. It is also suitable for a couple of fantastic advanced upper body exercises.

Wunda Chair:

The Wunda chair was originally designed for those who wanted to exercise at home, and it can also turn into a chair. It is the most advanced Pilates apparatus as it offers least support thus requiring most control. It has springs that can be adjusted to change resistance level thus altering difficulty of exercises.

Baby Chair:

The Baby Chair resembles a low chair that has a moving back. The equipment has light springs and is fantastic for gaining upper body strength and/ or rehabilitation from injuries. It is usually used for women and elderly but can also challenge the powerhouse in surprising ways.

Big Barrel:

The Big Barrel and Spine Correctors are supplemental equipment great for strength, endurance and flexibility. Their curved shape provides great back support and allows for a wonderful stretch. Simultaneously, the lack of additional support challenges the powerhouse and requires control of execution.


The Guillotine is one of the more advanced apparatus. It has a very basic build and it is for more advanced exercises as it offers minimum support and requires balance.  As a fun fact, it was originally created to fit a door frame of a New York city apartment.

Pedi Pole:

The Pedi Pole is a challenging piece of equipment. It has light springs and a delicate base thus requiring a lot of control and precise movement. It does offer a subset of exercises for regular folk but is frequently used for dancers, acrobats and population with finer skillset.


Mat classes are a fantastic way to complement a Pilates routine. Mat classes do require knowledge of muscle engagement and proper exercise execution and thus usually have private instruction as a prerequisite. Many Pilates studios offer Tower exercises as part of mat class. The Tower has some of the bells and whistles of the Cadillac and does require familiarity with set up and knowledge to prevent injuries.

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