Pilates is now all over the place. I recently read an article from a psychologist advertising emotional Pilates! She was working the "core" of your emotions and calling it Pilates! So, what the heck is Pilates and why are some so expensive and some so cheap? Is Pilates for rehab? Or is Pilates for fitness? Do I need to be strong and fit to do Pilates? I heard Pilates can hurt your back! I heard Pilates is good for your back! These are just some of the questions and comments we hear every day!
We opened our studio 12 years ago when Pilates was first becoming "mainstream". We had many many new clients in the door every week as everyone wanted to try it and the economy was booming! As a physical therapist I decided that we should expand and begin taking insurance so that more people could have access to our Pilates based physical therapy. So we became a Pilates studio with 6 Pilates trainers and a PT clinic with three Pilates trained physical therapists. We are in network with all of the major PPO groups and Medicare and Tricare.
In the meantime Pilates became more and more popular. Little studios were popping up everywhere. Then all sorts of takeoffs on Pilates began popping up. The classes with the ballet barre which are heavily influenced by Pilates and the "boot camp" Pilates classes where there are up to 10 or more students on reformers exercising to loud music with very high repetition work. I went to one of these classes and was blown away that they would call this Pilates! It was fun, and it was on an apparatus that somewhat resembled a reformer, but Pilates it was NOT. Then came the other franchise that packs 10-12 people into reformer classes with no prior experience! WOW!! I have been appalled by all of it. How do we compete with this? How do we communicate that what we do is different? The quality and experience at Pilates People are absolutely different. We cannot compete with the $15 reformer classes and the $29 10 class groupons! No, we have never hired an instructor that would work for almost free! We hire only the highest quality Pilates instructors. We have talked about doing groupon or the like many times, but the bottom line continues to be that no one who works here, including myself is willing to practice in a way that would require us to put brand new Pilates clients into group situations where they will have no chance to properly learn and integrate the basics.
The essence of Pilates is concentration, centering, control, breath, precision and flow. At Pilates People we do not recommend that clients enter into group Pilates sessions until they have a firm grasp on the basic principles as well as a good body awareness and ability to safely execute the basic beginner repertoire. This can usually be achieved in 3 to 5 private sessions. The experience of Pilates done with concentration, centering, control, breath, precision and flow is a much much different experience than can be had in a large group setting where what they may be doing are the Pilates "moves" but without the mind-body connections achieved when Pilates is taught to a client with a strong basis of the principles and the awareness of their deep core muscles. So bottom line is that we must invest in ourselves and our bodies. Cheaper is definitely not better...and in the long run performing Pilates poorly WILL catch up with you and cause injury. Contrary to a widely believed notion that "Pilates is good for your back" , Pilates performed poorly could be very bad for your back! I am afraid that in San Diego these days there is a large proportion of Pilates being taught poorly!!
So, to sum up the answers to some of the frequent questions we get:
1. What the heck is Pilates and why are some so expensive and some so cheap?Pilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility, and awareness in order to support efficient, graceful movement. It is only cheap when performed in a large group setting, which is usually with inexperienced instructors J
2. Is Pilates for rehab? Or is Pilates for fitness? Pilates is inherently rehabilitative. The pace at which you progress in your Pilates practice is individual. Pilates is absolutely fabulous as a rehab tool...which is mostly what I do as physical therapist , but Pilates is also an incredibly effective fitness tool as well.
3. Do I need to be strong and fit to do Pilates? NO! That's what we do! Make you strong. You can be 90 years old and frail, 50 years old with a bad back or a 20 year old fitness queen...or anywhere in between. There are even Pilates programs designed for kids.
4. I heard Pilates can hurt your back! I heard Pilates is good for your back! Pilates performed with the proper form and sequence is GOOD for your back. Pilates performed poorly without emphasis on concentration, centering, control, breath, precision and flow may be detrimental.