I hear complaints about lower back pain all the time from friends, family and my students. I always have a simple, one-word answer for them: Pilates.
Let’s talk about it.
Common Reasons For Lower Back Pain
First, it’s important to identify why you are experiencing frequent lower back pain. Here are some of potential (and incredibly common) culprits:
Pilates For Lower Back Pain
The philosophy of Pilates is focused on training and conditioning the entire body. It teaches us to move from our center as well as how to breathe properly to engage and strengthen our core, which leads to better posture and awareness.
The Pilates method, known for rehabilitating injuries, is recognized by orthopedic doctors and physical therapists around the world.
In fact, Pilates can sometimes be more effective than other physical treatments because the practice works your entire body while retraining proper functional movements. However, it’s important to note that if you’ve had surgery or a major injury, physical therapy is always the first step towards rehabilitation. Pilates can begin once your doctor has authorized it as a continuation of your therapy.
Here are some of the many restorative benefits of Pilates:
When we talk about core strength in Pilates, we often use the word “Powerhouse,” which includes more than just abdominal muscles. Your “Powerhouse” encompasses your abdominal muscles, as well as your lower back muscles, pelvic floor, the muscles around your hips and your glutes.
All of these muscles work together to form a supportive corset for your trunk; they stabilize the body.
Read more about the Pilates “Powerhouse” here.
The Transverses Abdominals, specifically—one of the many “Powerhouse” muscles—is a deep abdominal muscle that directly supports your lumbar spine (lower back area).
People who experience chronic lower back pain often have weak Transverses Abdominals. This means they have a lack of support and stability of the spine when completing everyday tasks like sitting, standing, lifting or carrying things.
Consistent Pilates exercises improve the strength, flexibility and suppleness of all of these important muscles and, over time, help to alleviate and prevent lower back pain.
Get Started With Pilates
If you’re experiencing chronic lower back pain, you would benefit most from several one-on-one sessions with a highly qualified Pilates instructor.
Pilates is all about technique. Jumping right in—and moving too fast without proper form—can lead to more injury.
(Please note, it’s always important to consult your doctor before trying a new workout.)
If you’re ready to get started with Pilates, take advantage of our exclusive new student special: 3 private sessions for $225.
Pilates is more than just a workout... it's a lifestyle (in and out of the studio) that raises your vibration and contributes to a happy and healthy life. It makes you feel good from the inside out!
In this series, we’re sitting down with our very own instructors and students. We're asking them why they choose to live the Pilates lifestyle, what their overall fitness routine looks like and what motivates them to stay healthy and fit.
First up... meet Jeffy: one of our amazing instructors who inspires all of us at Studio Be!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am 43 and a mom of two children, Jade (age 12) and Dylan (age 10). My days are filled with driving them and their friends to school and activities in Ventura and Ojai. I live for my time with them! In between driving, I fit in teaching Pilates, my own workouts, walking the dogs, reading, journaling, cooking, trying new restaurants, traveling, spending time with my beautiful friends and husband, Tim, and DANCING.
Q: What does your personal daily or weekly fitness routine look like?
A: My goals every week are to walk the dogs for 4 miles 2 times a week, hike or walk with friends (6 miles) 2 times a week and Pilates 2 times a week. That doesn’t always happen, and if it doesn’t, I give myself grace.
Q: How long have you been doing Pilates & why do you choose Pilates as a part of your fitness repertoire?
A: I started Pilates in 2000 and haven’t stopped since! I have tried every workout you can imagine. I don’t think you should close yourself off to anything. Try it! For me and my body, there is nothing that compares to Pilates. With every year of doing Pilates, I find new ways to move my body, better body awareness, interesting ways to activate my muscles in order to walk and hike better and live better! I also love seeing clients start Pilates and make their own progression. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
What Motivates You?
Q: What motivates you the most to stay healthy & fit?
A: I ultimately want to feel good inside. I am very conscious of how my center feels, how my body is aligned, how clear my head is and when those things are misaligned, I don’t feel strong or healthy. I take probiotics every day, am religious about my face regimen and eat as clean as I can. I am creature of habit, so I don’t change my meals too much! Every night I have 2 squares of my favorite dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s and once a week I will get a big ice cream! My favorite spot is La Frutileta Michoacana. I meal plan every Sunday and grocery shop for the entire week. I cook at home Sunday through Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays we spend with our friends cooking and eating at each other’s homes or trying a new restaurant!
In recent years, you’ve probably heard of intermittent fasting. It’s one of the most popular health trends out there. You may be an advocate of intermittent fasting already. Or maybe you have questions…
Is it good for you? Is it a diet? A lifestyle? A myth?
In this blog, I explain how intermittent fasting works and give you some ways to approach this way of eating—including my own daily routine as a Pilates instructor.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Simply put, intermittent fasting is an eating pattern. It’s about when you eat, not necessarily what you eat. It’s more of a lifestyle than a diet.
According to Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson, our bodies have evolved to go without food for many hours—or even several days or longer. Back when humans were mainly hunters and gatherers, they went long periods without eating, as it often took time and lots of energy to obtain food.
After a certain number of hours without food, your body exhausts its sugar stores and starts to burn fat (this is also known as metabolic switching). Intermittent fasting works by prolonging this period with the goal of burning more fat.
Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have positive effects on your body and brain. And it may even elongate life.
Ways To Approach Intermittent Fasting
These are the top three most popular methods of intermittent fasting according to Healthline:
There are many ways to go about intermittent fasting. Below, I give you an example of how I usually eat in a day with a 18/6 schedule—a slightly stricter version of the 16/8 method.
My Ideal Intermittent Fasting Schedule
With a 18/6 schedule, my eating period falls between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and creates a 5-to-6-hour window. Here's a typical day of eating for me as a Pilates instructor:
Please note, I’m not perfect. There are times when I go out and splurge—and you should, too! I try to do my best to get as many days in as possible. When I stick to this schedule is when I feel my healthiest.
If you’re looking to lose weight and trim fat, intermittent fasting is proven to be successful. Pilates alone is not enough to lose weight, so pairing your workouts with a healthy eating program is vital if losing weight is your goal.
The key to success? Liquids, liquids, liquids. I swear by them. Invest in a good, clean protein powder (meaning as little ingredients as possible) and bone broth (or try making your own). These will help you get through your fasting periods and help keep you nourished.
“Nature is an important need for many and vital in keeping us emotionally, psychologically, and physically healthy” – Mental Health Foundation.
There’s so much to be said about being outside in nature and how it impacts our overall health and well-being. When we spend time moving outdoors, or even just sitting still—breathing in fresh air and truly being present—it can have magical effects on both body and mind.
I often think of sunrays as downloads. The beams give our body updates—upgrades if you will, to our physical and mental health.
Simply getting out and spending time in nature has the following science-backed benefits.
Strengthens The Nervous System
The nervous system’s natural state is called the parasympathetic state (AKA “relaxed”). This is when it does its best work, helping all the parts of the body communicate with each other.
In today’s world, many of us spend a lot of time in a stressed state, where the nervous system goes into “fight or flight” mode and stays there longer than it should.
With chronic stress sometimes taking a toll on our daily lives, it’s important to make a conscious effort to bring the body back into a state of calmness, so the nervous system can go back into its parasympathetic state.
Spending time in nature has been shown to bring calmness and reduce stress, allowing the nervous system to relax, as well.
Boosts The Immune System
A healthy immune system reduces risk of illness and infection, lessens fatigue and helps the body heal faster.
There have been many studies associating low vitamin D levels with increased infection. Vitamin D is referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient, and it just so happens to be critical for your immune health. Being out in nature, and thus consistently exposed to sunlight, helps strengthen your immune system.
Another way to understand the relationship between nature, health and the immune system, according to Science Daily, is that exposure to nature shifts the body into "rest and digest" mode, which is the opposite of the "fight or flight" mode we discussed above.
When we are out in nature, in a relaxed state, our body can invest resources toward the immune system—making it stronger and making us healthier.
Enhances Mental Health & Well-being
Being in nature generates many positive emotions, such as calmness, joy and creativity. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature, since our ancestors evolved in wild settings and relied on the environment for survival.
The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that exposure to nature is linked to a host of benefits, including:
The APA also reports that human contact with nature is associated with increases in overall happiness, subjective well-being and a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
Practical Ways To Spend More Time In Nature
Since spending time in nature can mean many things, the benefits are available to each and every one of us, no matter where we live—whether it be green spaces such as parks or forests or blue spaces like rivers, beaches or canals. Nature also means trees on an urban street or private backyard gardens.
Looking for more practical ways to spend time in nature? Here are some ideas:
The “Powerhouse” is one of the most important concepts in the classical Pilates method, as Joe Pilates wrote about in his book Return To Life in the 1930s.
In recent years, the ideas of “core strength” and “core training” have become very popular and are used somewhat interchangeably with “Powerhouse,” but they’re not the same.
Let’s dive deeper into the anatomy of the Pilates “Powerhouse” and why it’s so important to the practice of Pilates.
New to the Pilates world? Here are 15 Pilates terms to familiarize yourself with before taking your first class.
The Anatomy of The Pilates Powerhouse
Joe Pilates’ “Powerhouse” is an area of the body that includes the following muscle groups and subgroups.
The Abdominal Muscles
The Deep Back Muscles
Three big words and a lot of information to get caught up on here. So, in brief, together these deep back muscles create a chevron-like shaped musculature. They attach to the back bones and side bones of the body. These muscles are responsible for extension, rotation and side-bending.
When back muscles are weak, the spine can become compromised and cause back pain and various other issues. The semispinalis, multifidus and rotatores muscles help stabilize the verbal column, aid in balance and help maintain posture.
The Hip Flexor Muscles
- Psoas major
- Psoas minor
These three hip flexor muscles are what attach the thigh bone to the pelvis. The psoas attaches to the spine and crosses the hip flexor, supporting the body’s upper extremities and lifting the legs in conjunction with the abdominals.
Modern life puts a lot of stress on the hip flexor muscles and consequentially pulls the spine into forward flexion if they are weak, causing back issues.
Why Is The Powerhouse Important?
The muscles that make up the “Powerhouse” work together to form a supportive corset for your trunk. Joe Pilates’ method teaches that all movement starts in the “Powerhouse.” Not only do these core muscles help stabilize and balance, but they also help us create the bigger and more explosive moves we make.
A strong and pliable “Powerhouse” promotes better posture and improves spinal health. It leads to noticeable improvements in one’s strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, plus a greater overall feeling of wellness.
The Pilates method teaches students how to activate their “Powerhouse” in various exercises while stabilizing and engaging specific muscles. It is taught along with proper breathing and focus to retrain the body to “power-up,” breathe and engage from the center (including your hips and glutes—we will talk more about the gluteal muscles soon).
Activate Your Pilates Powerhouse
Discovering, building and strengthening your Pilates “Powerhouse” is a huge part of our practice at Studio Be. We believe it’s never too late to retrain and learn how your use your body for stronger, healthier results.
Ready to start engaging your “Powerhouse”? Come take a class with us! If you’re new to the Pilates world, the best way to get started is taking a private class to learn the proper movements.
For a limited time, we’re offering 3 private sessions for only $225—click here to get started!
Understanding Pilates terminology before you take your first class can help make the experience more enjoyable—and less confusing.
Below, we give you a glossary of some of the most commonly used Pilates terms (that you might hear your instructor use) to prepare you for class.
We promise there’s no quiz at the end, but there may be a special offer…
The c-curve refers to the shape your body takes and maintains during certain Pilates exercises on the Mat and Reformer. The c-curve position should be initiated by your abdominals. It sets the stage for a flexible spine and a strong core.
The term “box” was coined by Joe Pilates, the creator of Pilates, and refers to the line across your collarbone (from shoulder to shoulder) and the two lines that go down the sides of your torso, and then crossing your hip bones. The Pilates “box” is meant to bring awareness to your posture. It’s a way to keep your shoulders and hips level and even, like a box.
In Pilates, it’s important to learn to move from your center. In class you will hear this a lot—return to your center, be always in your center—whether you are standing, sitting, or lying down.
Imprinting is the action of rolling down your spine and articulating it to improve your spinal alignment during certain Pilates movements. Imprinting correctly should release tightness, improve your posture and help align your “box.”
You use your inner eye to become more aware of your surroundings, alignment and posture.
Simply put, these are the muscles located between your ribs.
This type of conscious breathing emphasizes the lateral expansion of your rib cage and expands the intercostal muscles. It’s done while maintaining a consistent inward pull of the deep abdominal muscles as you breath in and out.
Read more about the importance of breathing in Pilates.
In Pilates, your “midline” refers to the (imaginary) straight line that runs from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.
This stance, thought of as a neutral position in Pilates, is used to set up and prepare for an exercise. When in Pilates stance, your legs are together, straight and rotated outward from the top of the thigh, bringing your heels together with the toes pointing slightly out (into a V-shape). You can think of this position like “first” position in ballet, but not quite as extreme.
This is your upper shoulder girdle, including your entire core from your upper ribcage to your lower pelvic area, pelvic-floor muscles, hips and glutes.
This piece of equipment—one of the most widely known Pilates apparatus—is made up of a unique combination of springs, pulleys, straps and a sliding carriage.
Learn more about the Reformer and other common types of Pilates equipment.
When you perform an abdominal scoop, you engage the pelvic floor and pull your abs inward and, at the same time, draw your belly button down towards your spine.
Tabletop is the starting position for many Pilates exercises performed on the Mat. When in “tabletop” position, you lay flat on your back with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your legs should gently squeeze together and engage the inner thighs.
The motion of drawing your abdominals in and up, like you’re zipping up a vest.
To “button-up” means to draw your ribs in and down—like you’re buttoning up a vest that is too small and drawing your ribs inward to fit.
New to Pilates and looking for a place to start? Now that you know all of the essential Pilates terms, you’re ready to crush your first class.
Click here to sign up for one of our new student special offers!
Work deadlines, relationships, busy schedules, finances, life-changing medical diagnoses, world pandemics, the list goes on…
Stress: we’ve all felt it. It’s all around us and it can come and go—and sometimes consume—our daily lives.
Some stress is okay. In fact, it’s a perfectly normal and expected part of life. It’s the body’s natural reaction that kicks in to protect us from threats. According to the American Psychological Association, stress floods the body with hormones that elevate your heart rate, increase your blood pressure and boost your energy—all to help you deal with the problem at hand.
Long-term stress, also known as chronic stress, occurs when your body gets “stuck” in this position, and this is when it can have some seriously negative impacts on your body including:
It’s important to manage stress so that it is only brief, occasional and a positive motivating force—instead of long-term and all-consuming to a point that it is detrimental to one’s health.
Pilates is a tool that can be used to actively manage stress through movement, mindfulness, breathing and routine.
4 Ways Pilates Helps Manage Stress
The physical movement that takes place during a Pilates workout helps fight stress like any other form of physical activity. Getting your body moving releases “mood elevating” endorphins in the brain as well as relaxes your muscles and relieves tension. The body and mind are closely linked, so when your body feels better, your mind should, too.
When your body and mind are in the present moment with your breath, it’s like an active meditation and your nervous system relaxes in a beautiful, harmonious way.
The very foundation of the Pilates method is centered around both body and mind. Exercise itself is a mood-elevating activity, thanks to the release of those endorphins mentioned above, but Pilates takes things a step further.
Joe Pilates designed his practice to take the individual out of their “head” and into their body through breath, control, precision, centering, concentration and flow (also known as the 6 guiding principles of Pilates). Practicing Pilates regularly will sharpen your mental focus and exercise your brain for optimal awareness, in and out of the studio—which is why we call Pilates a lifestyle.
According to The American Institute of Stress, daily abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes is proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. Deep, intentional breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting a state of calmness.
Joe Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, knew the importance of breathing. He believed that inhaling fresh air and exhaling stale air promotes a path towards “total health.” Each Pilates workout—whether on the mat or apparatus—is centered around breathing, which reduces stress and improves mental clarity.
Having a normal routine is a great way to manage stress since not having one can often lead to feelings of, “when will I get it all done?” Routines also help carve out more time to truly relax and take time for yourself.
Regularly attending Pilates classes can become a part of your daily or weekly routine, making sure you always take a little bit of time to be active. I’ve also found that having a routine and committing to a daily workout can help encourage healthier choices throughout the day. For example, knowing you have a scheduled workout class later in the day might make you opt for the healthier lunch option that leaves you feeling lighter and properly nourished for exercise.
Living The Pilates Way
If you find yourself consumed by chronic stress or anxiety, Pilates is a great outlet. This is because the Pilates method is more than just a workout—it’s a way of life. Through movement, mindfulness, intentional breathing and routine, you can live the Pilates way in and out of the studio.
We invite you to come try it out for yourself! If you’re new to the Pilates world, the best way to get started is taking a private class to learn the proper movements.
For a limited time, we’re offering 3 private sessions for only $225.
To build muscle and lean out, most of us know we should be getting a certain amount of protein in our bodies daily. But did you know that protein is also vital for many other bodily functions?
Protein is the building blocks of life. The macronutrient is found all throughout the body—in the muscles, bones, ligaments, skin, hair, blood and virtually every tissue and cell. It plays a role in:
Clients always tell me they need to get more protein in their diet but don’t know where to start—I completely agree and can relate. There’s so much information and so many different types of proteins out there that it can be confusing at times to decide what is the best type to fuel our bodies. Is it plant-based or animal-based? A mix of both? And then there are the millions of protein powders and bar options.
I’m not a certified nutritionist by any means, but as a Pilates instructor and overall health and wellness advocate, I know what has worked for me over the years. And I know what I would recommend to my clients to help them make the best decision for their bodies. So here are my top recommendations when it comes to three different categories of proteins—plant, animal and powder-based.
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or just trying limit your animal intake, plant-based protein is a great way to fuel your body for Pilates or any exercise activity. Some of my favorites include:
If you’re interested in learning more about each of these plant-based protein options, I highly recommend this Healthline article.
Of all of the animal proteins, I usually recommend seafood. My go-to’s being salmon (wild-caught), shrimp and scallops.
Of course, not everyone loves seafood, so I always suggest listening to your body and, if possible, try to eat a mix of both animal and plant-based proteins.
In addition to these seafood proteins, I love a good grass-fed steak occasionally, to enrich my red blood cells. There are mixed reviews on whether red meat is healthy, but my rule of thumb is that once a week can be highly beneficial if it’s the “healthy stuff” (think grass fed and free of harmful hormones).
I always say, if you’re craving it, eat a steak or have a good quality burger. Your body probably needs it!
Through the years I have always been advised to use a protein powder to supplement the daily recommendations. It’s an easy way get leaner or lose weight. And for me, it’s become a staple in my diet.
As a simple, quick meal replacement, you can put a clean protein powder in a shaker-bottle with water or nut milk. I try to get one or two in daily when I’m trying to lean out. (Chicken bone broth is another one of my favorites on-the-go as it’s highly nutritious with minerals and vitamins.)
Next time you’re at the studio, check out Premium Protein. It’s one of the few powder protein supplements that I recommend since it’s super clean with just 3 ingredients. Plus, it has 19 grams of collagen peptide proteins and only 80 calories. I also love it because it tastes great.
For a limited time, we’re offering 3 private sessions for only $225. You don’t want to miss this—click here to learn more and claim your offer.
“Above all learn to breathe” – Joe Pilates.
For those who are just beginning to explore and practice the Pilates method, it often comes as a surprise how much emphasis is put on the act of breathing. We all breathe, all day long, every second… so we typically don’t give it much thought.
Joe Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, stressed the importance of inhaling fresh air and exhaling stale air. He believed proper breathing promotes a path towards “total health.”
The History Behind Pilates Breath
Joe Pilates was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1883. He was a small, weak child who suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, a disease that affects the heart, joints, brain and skin.
His father was a prize-winning gymnast and his mother was a naturopath, so when a family physician gave him an old anatomy book, his fascination with the human body came quite naturally. He memorized every page and every muscle, learning how each one functioned and moved. Later he studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise, including yoga. By the time he was 14, he had worked so hard developing his body that he was modeling for anatomy charts.
The Pilates method sprang from Joe Pilates’ determination to strengthen his own frail and sickly body. And he learned at a young age the importance of proper breathing, which is why it’s part of the very foundation of his practice.
What Is Pilates Breathing?
The human body needs ample amounts of oxygen to function at optimal performance, and the lungs are responsible for feeding that oxygen to the body’s cells through the bloodstream. By employing full inhalations and full exhalations, you expel stale air and noxious gases from the depths of your lungs, replenishing your body with fresh air to energize and revitalize your system. The Pilates method is built around cleansing the bloodstream through oxygenation.
Joe Pilates believed that proper breathing helps control your movements both during the Pilates exercises and in daily life. It gives you more stamina, allows for better concentration and makes you feel more alive and alert.
When we talk about breathing in Pilates, we mean effective, conscious breathing that expands your lungs fully with each inhalation. Over time, ineffective or “lazy” breathing can overwork the more flexible parts of your lungs and allow other areas to grow continually stiffer and tighter.
On the contrary, deep and uniform breathing leads to uniform development, allowing you to find the unexpanded areas of your lungs and teach them to stretch to full capacity.
Pilates “Rolling” Technique
Many Pilates exercises involve an action known as “rolling”. According to Joe Pilates, “It is this very action of rolling and unrolling that cleanses your lungs so effectively by driving out the impure air and forcing in the pure air.” (Return to Life Through Contrology).
Joe Pilates believed the concept of cleansing the lungs by rolling the spine so important that he created a multitude of exercises incorporating this spinal massage movement.
When you roll forward your body’s action helps push all the air out of your lungs, and when you roll backward, your lungs naturally expand to fill again with fresh, pure air.
How To Practice Pilates Breathing At Home
Ready to practice Pilates breathing in your daily life? Try this exercise anywhere!
This book is also a great resource for learning about the importance of breathing and how to do it correctly in order to jump-start athletic performance, rejuvenate internal organs, halt snoring, asthma and autoimmune disease—the health benefits are endless.
New to Pilates or Studio Be? Come take a class with us and experience the benefits of Pilates breathing. Click here to check out our special offers!
If you’ve been to a Pilates studio, you’ve likely been introduced to a wide range of equipment, also known as the Pilates apparatus. Or maybe you’ve peaked into your local studio or seen Pilates performed on TV and have been wondering about all of those “crazy-looking” contraptions.
Pilates is a system of exercise that combines both Mat-work and apparatus-based exercises. These pieces of apparatus can seem intimidating at first, but once you understand the purpose and proper technique, they can be life-changing.
Below, I explain the three main types of Pilates apparatus, as well as Mat Pilates and why we still need it to complete the Pilates practice.
Aside from the Mat, the Reformer is probably the most widely known piece of Pilates apparatus. The Reformer’s unique combination of springs, pulleys, straps and sliding carriage make it an incredibly versatile piece of equipment. Joe Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method, was way ahead of his time when he invented this apparatus we still use today.
Like most Pilates equipment, the Reformer differs from traditional fitness equipment in very fundamental ways. Rather than using an isolated set of muscles to move an external force, such as how weight training machines work, you use your “Powerhouse” (core muscles) to lift and pull your body’s weight along with the Reformer’s spring-loaded carriage. This action automatically centers you and helps develop balance, coordination, as well as body and space awareness. At the same time, it strengthens and stretches your entire body, not just any one isolated set of muscles.
When Joe Pilates developed a series of exercises for the Reformer, he intended for them to be performed in a specific sequence and manner, resulting in a series of constant, flowing movements. This is done while inhaling and exhaling for 30 to 60 minutes during the nonstop workout.
Each Reformer exercise prepares your mind and body for the next one—warming your muscles, awakening your mind and body, stimulating your organs, coordinating your breathing and training your muscles to “fire” in the correct sequence to give you the maximum fitness benefits from the exercise movements. I love this workout and how it feels.
The Tower is an adaptation of The Cadillac (also known as a Trapeze Table). It is a Pilates apparatus that is attached to the Reformer, but offers a more stable surface to work from.
Unlike the Reformer, which slides back and forth, the Tower remains stationary and is positioned on an integrated Mat. The client can hold on to the handles or the grab bar that is attached to springs of varying tension. To work the lower body, they can put their feet inside of the loops that attach to the springs.
For some, the stable base of the Tower can make it less intimidating than the Reformer with all of its moving parts. That’s why this apparatus is ideal for beginning clients, or those recovering from injuries. Additionally, there is very little pressure on the joints because your body weight is supported by the Mat portion of the apparatus.
Ultimately, there’s an unlimited number of possibilities with the Tower that incorporate basic Mat exercises, ranging from gentle to the most extreme depending upon your needs and abilities. At Studio Be, the Tower Class is a signature class because it’s one of the best ways to utilize springs for a deeper stretch with resistance training, allowing for a full-body workout.
The Wunda Chair
In the Pilates system there are two main types of chairs: the Wunda Chair (also known as the “Low” chair) and the High chair. The main difference between the two is the High Chair has a back and two handles that rise on either side and the Wunda chair does not. The Wunda chair has simplistic design, consisting of a box with a padded top and a pedal on one side that moves against the resistance of springs anchored to the opposite side of the chair. We typically use the Wunda Chair for group classes at Studio Be.
Joe Pilates would perform over 50 exercises on the Wunda Chair. You can sit, kneel, lie or stand on, in front of or behind the chair, face toward or away from it—even sideways—as you move the spring-loaded bar.
The chair’s versatile design enables users to get amazing results, from beginners and injured clients to the most advanced students challenging themselves with pushups, backbends and pull-ups.
Pilates Mat work is a system of exercises that happen in a very specific order, performed on—you guessed it—a Mat. Joe Pilates created the Mat-based exercises before he created the Pilates apparatus. His Mat work complements the apparatus exercises, and vice versa.
Although born in a different era, Joe Pilates understood the physical and mental pressures of a busy schedule. He believed his Pilates method would propel people to become more productive both physically and mentally. For this reason, Pilates Mat work is designed to fit into the time constraints of each individual without diminishing its comprehensive elements—Mat exercises can be performed anytime, anywhere.
Getting Started With Pilates
Ultimately, Joe Pilates taught the importance to train on all types of Pilates apparatus to gain a deeper understanding of the Pilates method. He taught that practicing Pilates is a balancing act between body and mind, therefore he coined his method “Contrology”—meaning pure control of the mind and body.
Are you ready to take back control? The best way to get started is taking a private class to learn the proper movements and techniques. For a limited time, we’re offering a series of three private sessions for only $225 to help you get started.
Learn how to book your private sessions here.
About The Author
Fitness has always been a guiding force for Kathy Lopez, owner of Studio Be. Her inherent drive for health has naturally translated into helping others achieve strength, balance and wellness. Kathy has been voted Ventura's best Pilates instructor nine years in a row. Learn more...