What Is Pilates?

Pilates is not just exercise.  Pilates is not just a random choice of particular movements.  Pilates is a system of physical and mental conditioning that can enhance your physical strength, flexibility, and coordination as well as reduce stress, improve mental focus, and foster an improved sense of well-being.  Pilates can be for anyone and everyone.

Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by German-born Joseph Pilates. In Pilates, the specific sequencing of precise movements emphasizes the balanced development of the whole body. Pilates movements begin from the deep core, working to optimize both strength and flexibility of all muscles in order to support efficient, pain-free movement in all joints. The system emphasizes breath and optimal oxygen flow to muscles, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates movement decompresses the body from daily stresses, allowing you to participate fully in your daily life to a ripe old age. The system accommodates a wide range of abilities and body limitations, allowing for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginner to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

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What are the benefits of Pilates?

Pilates uses precise movement sequences to develop stability and mobility throughout the body. The simultaneous physical and mental challenges help to improve the following:

  • Strength - gradual weight loading allows for strength building without compromising joint function
  • Flexibility - lengthening muscle to improve range of motion
  • Alignment - structural imbalances are corrected with proper muscle function and joint alignment
  • Mobility - joint compression is reduced, alleviating stress on joint structures, providing ease of movement
  • Awareness - balance, control and coordination improve while you build body/mind integration

The key to getting the maximum benefit from Pilates exercise lies in the proper execution of the exercises, under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher. Consistent Pilates practice develops healthy movement habits for life, improving the quality of life through a dynamic relationship with the body and mind.

Principles of Pilates

The original six principles were concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing.


Pilates demands intense focus: "You have to concentrate on what you're doing all the time. And you must concentrate on your entire body for smooth movements." This is not easy, but in Pilates the way that exercises are done is more important than the exercises themselves. In 2006 at the Parkinson Center of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, the concentration factor of the Pilates method was being studied in providing relief from the degenerative symptoms of Parkinson's disease.


In order for the practitioner to attain control of their body they must have a starting place: the center. The center is the focal point of the Pilates Method. It refers to the group of muscles in the center of the body—encompassing the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs—as the "powerhouse". According to Joseph Pilates, the powerhouse is the centre of the body and if strengthened, it offers a solid foundation for any movement. All movement in Pilates should begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs.

Flow or efficiency of movement

Pilates aims for elegant sufficiency of movement, creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina. In other words, the Pilates technique asserts that physical energy exerted from the center should coordinate movements of the extremities: Pilates is flowing movement outward from a strong core.


Precision is essential to correct Pilates: "concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value". The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Pilates is here reflecting common physical culture wisdom: "You will gain more strength from a few energetic, concentrated efforts than from a thousand listless, sluggish movements". The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature, and carry over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.


Breathing is important in the Pilates method. In Return to Life, Pilates devotes a section of his introduction specifically to breathing "bodily house-cleaning with blood circulation". He saw considerable value in increasing the intake of oxygen and the circulation of this oxygenated blood to every part of the body. This he saw as cleansing and invigorating. Studies have shown that Pilates breathing can help expand lung capacity Pilates attempts to properly coordinate this breathing practice with movement, including breathing instructions with every exercise. "Above all, learn to breathe correctly."

The repertoire of Pilates exercises includes:

  • Mat Work - on a Pilates floor mat, you move your body through a full range of motion, in all planes of movement. Progressions of floor exercises build core stabilization and endurance while balancing strength and flexibility.
  • Equipment Work - employs a full range of specially designed Pilates equipment, using resistance to strengthen muscle systems and improve joint alignment.

Who can do Pilates? Athletes and dancers love the balance Pilates brings, along with recovery from the demands of their rigorous training. Seniors, pre and post-pregnant women, people recovering from injuries and anyone else who wants to remain able-bodied all their lives. You increase the intensity as your body responds to the effects of practice and fitness improves. Pilates has something for everyone.



  • How do I register for group classes? - you can register online by selecting the Register for Classes tab at the top of this page. This is where you will find our class listings and schedule.
  • What class should I register in? - if you are new to our studio, it is strongly recommended that you select the “Intro To Pilates” class. This is 3, one hour private/semi-private classes where you will receive a postural analysis, (this is where we learn where muscle imbalances are in your body and how to recognize them, also what exercises will be most beneficial for you). You will be taken through the basic principles of Pilates and how they relate to your individual body. You will then be instructed through Essential level exercises for both the mat and equipment. At the completion of this class, your instructor will recommend specific group classes to help you reach your goals based on the information you have provided us as well as what we have learned from your postural analysis. Please indicate in the notes section which days and times are best suited for us to book your intro classes. You will be contacted by our office to confirm times.
  • What if I need to miss or reschedule a group class? - if you must miss your class, simply call in to the office and let us know one hour prior to class start time. We will credit your account and as long as you are registered in that class, you can make arrangements to make it up at a later date. Unfortunately we cannot credit your class if you fail to inform us of your absence, that spot was held for you in a class of limited size.
  • When can I start? - classes run on a monthly basis, and ideally the best time to start is at the beginning of the month. You can however begin at any time. If we receive your registration mid-month, we will pro-rate the class fee for you once we have received your registration.
  • Can I take group classes if I have an injury or restrictive condition? - it is always advisable to consult with your physician or health care professional before attempting any form of physical activity, especially when injured. If you receive consent, you must also make aware your instructor as there may be certain modifications or exercises that would either help/hinder your specific situation. Our goal is to help you achieve increased well-being and fitness, not aggravate an injury that needs time to heal.
  • Can I do Pilates while pregnant? - there are actual Pilates workouts for the pre-natal mother. Again, you must receive consent from your health care provider. Your safety is always our main concern. Pre-natal classes are only advisable until a certain point in your pregnancy as some exercises will become difficult if not impossible during pregnancy, this is determined by the instructor on an individual basis.
  • What do I wear? - clothing that you can move freely in that isn’t too loose so the instructor can see your body. It’s impossible to correct what we can’t see. No jeans! Socks are a must within the studio.