“It’s hard to say enough good things about the benefit of taking Pilates. The muscle and mental discipline. It touches every aspect of your life in a positive and meaningful way.”
– Barbara M., Attorney, age 63, Pilates student since 2004
WHAT IS PILATES?
The Pilates Method is a method of body conditioning like no other. You look forward to your sessions as they are engaging, and empowering and leave you rejuvenated with a new sense of physical and mental well-being. Pilates is a sound method of body conditioning that is rich with detail and powerful with results. It is a method that is applicable to all bodies.
Developed by the legendary physical trainer Joseph H. Pilates, The Pilates Method is an exercise system designed to uniformly develop the body focusing on increasing flexibility and strength to build more defined, longer, leaner muscles. Read more about the history of Pilates, and about our commitment to the original Pilates Method of Body Conditioning.
The Pilates Method consists of over 500 specific exercises using five major pieces of unique apparatus to develop the body with balance. Each exercise, performed with few repetitions, emphasizes precise movement, requiring proper control and form.
Because your mind is engaged with your body to perform the movement correctly, you experience a new awareness of muscle function and control. Through the work, the abdomen, gluteals, and lower back are supported and strengthened, enabling the body to move more efficiently and freely. The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is the simultaneous integration of control, flexibility, strength, precision, breath, the flow of movement, and body awareness.
[The Pilates Method] “develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”Joseph H. Pilates, Return to Life
Who does Pilates?
The Pilates Method is so diverse it is utilized by fitness enthusiasts seeking to engage in a refreshing form of exercise, as well as by individuals getting into shape. It is also used by professional athletes to gain a competitive edge, improve technique, and prevent injury. The low-impact nature of this method allows people who have chronic pain or certain injuries to use Pilates. It integrates into existing rehabilitative exercise programs to speed recovery from soft tissue injuries and to help aid in relief from chronic pain. The Pilates Method can be safely used by anyone regardless of his or her current fitness level. Pilates is a method of exercise for everybody. Because conditioning sessions are closely supervised, working one on one with an instructor, sessions are designed to an individual’s specific needs.
“I could say a lot about the technical aspects of Pilates, its variety, and how much I like what it does for my strength and flexibility, but what I like best about Excel Pilates Annapolis is that I’ve hardly ever had a session where I didn’t find both challenge and a sense of accomplishment. The wonderful Excel teachers are beautifully trained to find what your body can do and then the points where you are ready to progress to greater depth or precision or to more advanced exercises. They are so encouraging when you are working on a ‘tough place!'”
-Barbara B., math instructor, age 63, Pilates client since 2004
WHAT IS ORIGINAL PILATES?
ISN’T ALL PILATES THE SAME?
by Kerry De Vivo
When I began practicing Pilates in 1986, I had no idea what it was. While attending a 6-week summer dance program in 1986, it was mentioned that I could also register for a Pilates class. “Pilates? never heard of it, sign me up!” was my reaction. Three times a week for three weeks, I had Pilates sessions doing the full Pilates Method, both mat and apparatus work. Back then, no one quantiﬁed Pilates original or otherwise, but I was fortunate to be introduced to original Pilates and I was amazed at how the work affected me in just six weeks. When I started teaching Pilates in 1995, still no one knew what it was.
“Pilates, is that a type of food?” was a common response to my occupation. In time, Pilates became more commonly known. Over the years as Pilates gained in popularity, adaptations and evolutions of the original work occurred. Training programs directed by individuals who did not work in the direct lineage of Joseph Pilates emerged further diluting the intentions of Pilates’ original work. Eventually, I found I did have to quantify what I teach. First, it was Classical Pilates but now more specifically as Original Pilates.
So, what is original Pilates? After both Joe Pilates, and later his wife Clara, passed away, protege Romana Kryzanowska took over the studio preserving the work of Pilates both in its exercises and spirit. What makes Pilates original is the roots of the traditional work, the use of traditional apparatus, and the maintenance of the spirit and intention of the work. There is a rhythm and ﬂow to a session. There is the idea that clients are to be as independent of teachers as possible to truly self-discover their bodies and meet their physical ﬁtness potential (which requires guidance from a well-trained teacher).
The original Pilates Method is a sound, systematic, tried, and true method of body conditioning that has been around for ages and can be used by ALL bodies. A teacher comprehensively trained in original Pilates, from a ﬁrst or second generation teacher working from the direct lineage of Joseph Pilates, understands the function of each exercise, the apparatus, the layering system, and how to properly guide a client through a session as well as session design. Original Pilates has had a profound effect on my life as a second-generation teacher. I have had the pleasure to witness the power of original Pilates on clients to reach their full potential for physical ﬁtness.
“Physical ﬁtness is the ﬁrst requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical ﬁtness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”
– Joseph H. Pilates.
Excel Pilates Annapolis is dedicated to preserving and sharing the power of this amazing system of exercise known today as the original Pilates Method.
History of Pilates
“Time and progress are synonymous terms – nothing can stop either.”– Joseph H. Pilates
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in 1883 in Germany. As a youth, he experienced health issues such as rickets and asthma. In efforts to surpass these issues, Pilates developed his body and became an athlete in diving, boxing, skiing, and fencing.
Pilates was interned in England during World War I and worked with soldiers further developing his method of body conditioning. In addition to developing exercises, Pilates invented and patented apparatus to use with his method. Whether mat or apparatus exercises, Pilates’ work is designed to uniformly develop the body. It is a full-body workout focusing on strengthening and lengthening and deepening the “girdle of strength” – the core.
Joseph Pilates moved to the United States of America in the mid-1920s and opened a studio in New York City in which he taught his method of body conditioning along with his wife Clara. He referred to his method of body conditioning as Contrology. Joseph Pilates died in 1967. After the passing of Joseph Pilates, his studio was managed by his wife Clara. Later Romana Kryzanowska, a protege of Joseph Pilates, maintained his studio.
Today the life’s work of Joseph Pilates lives on through dedicated teachers of the original method.