Sunday, May 9, 2010


I like to dabble in all forms of exercise. I find it fun and challenging (both physically and mentally) to try new workouts. Although I admit I don’t do enough of it myself, I recommend you give Pilates a whirl, if you haven't already.

Before you try Pilates in a mat class or on the reformer (that’s the reformer below…maybe you’ve seen it at your gym or in a studio…it’s a crazy contraption but believe you me, it works!), you should know a little history.

pilates_elizabeth  pilates_elizabeth

It was developed in Germany during the early 20th century by a gymnast named Joseph Pilates, who designed it as a rehabilitation program for soldiers returning from World War I. The idea was to aid injured veterans by reconditioning core musculature through stretching, strengthening and stabilizing the muscles.

Today, millions of people practice Pilates around the world. It’s a unique form of exercise, and you will definitely feel the effects the next day! I used to take Pilates from a private instructor, using the reformer a few times a week, when I lived in Las Vegas. Since private sessions can get pretty expensive here in NYC, I choose to take mat classes at my gym, from my friend Cheryl Dowling who is a Pilates instructor (she’s awesome!). Or, when I’m crunched for time, I do this DVD:

100_1242  100_1242

It’s the Winsor Pilates Sculpting Circle Advanced Workout. It’s only about 35 or 40 minutes long and it’s great. Mari Winsor is the person behind the Winsor name, and she’s become a celebrity Pilates Instructor and quite the Pilates guru. That sculpting circle you see in the picture can be used to make your Pilates workouts more challenging.

If you are interested in starting your own Pilates workout, I recommend taking at least one session with a private instructor so you can properly grasp what it is you’re supposed to be doing and feeling. Because the workout is greatly dependent on breathing and proper positioning of the spine, it’s important you initially have someone correcting you as you do the movement. If you can’t participate in a private session due to budget concerns or other reason, you should at least take a class, instead of starting with a DVD. Before the class starts, speak with the instructor and tell her/him that you are new and ask them to please correct you so you can really learn how it’s supposed to feel. I would also check out studios in your area for discounts or free first-time sessions. Often, studios will give free or discounted sessions to get you in the door. Still, even if you have to purchase a few sessions, believe me, it’s worth it! You will feel taller and more connected to your body when you’re done. It’s always fun to try new ways to challenge your body. Be well!

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