It’s not exactly the newest fitness fad and in fact, Pilates has been around for decades since first developed by Joe Pilates in the 1920s. But over time, instructors have refined the practice and developed a style that works with our modern lifestyles. Pilates Corps in Scottsdale is among several Pilates-centric studios and we sent Spa Girl in the field Carolyn to check out what sets them apart. Here’s what she found.
As a yoga junkie, I was psyched to try Pilates for the first time. One the day of my mat class, I arrived a few minutes early wearing snugly-fitted workout gear (so instructors can see alignment) and flip flops as classes are taken barefoot. I was greeted warmly by one of the studio’s instructors who gave me a short health form to complete. After filling it out, I sat down on a comfy chair in their lobby lounge area and flipped through the latest Shape magazine. A few minutes later my instructor introduced herself and led me to the back area of the facility that holds variety of Pilates machines, equipment and mats. She started class by explaining the basics of Pilates and showed us how establish proper body alignment and our core-activated powerhouse. Next, she instructed us through beginner moves paying special attention to one student during each exercise. She also did many of the moves herself and when someone was out of alignment or having trouble with an exercise, she quickly adjusted their movement without drawing extra attention to them in front of the rest of the class. Her teaching style was enthusiastic throughout the entire 45-minute session and I liked that she was laid back and didn’t take things too seriously. She also taught many of the exercises with descriptive analogies and explained how to perform sequences by relating them to ordinary objects and movements. To keep safe neck alignment for one exercise, we pretended to have paintbrushes attached to our eyes and were instructed to paint the ceiling as we went through each sequence. With her analogies and hands-on adjustment, I felt like I really understood the basics of Pilates and liked the one-on-one instruction I received throughout the entire class. I left feeling like I could stand up taller and any minor aches, pains and soreness were gone. Also while we were going through exercises my instructor gave tips on how to use objects like a wall at home to practice what we learned. As a newbee to Pilates, the staff and made me feel completely comfortable from the minute I walked in the door, gave me a fun, challenging workout and I can’t wait to go back for another session.