Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Class #57 Pilates Tuesday 8:45 a.m. (Victoria)

After the Stretch class I stay in the studio during the changeover for Victoria’s next class - Pilates. About five people stay for this same double but mostly a new crowd comes in and it’s a big crowd at that. I would guess there are about 22-24 for the Pilates class.

Joseph Pilates developed this method of exercise that focuses on breath, postural alignment and strengthening the body’s core muscles way back in the 1920’s and ‘30’s. Mr. Pilates exercises became especially renowned for helping professional dancers improve and extend their careers. After his death, ‘Pilates’ as the discipline came to be known, began to be taught on a more widespread basis and was introduced at the LRAC in 2000.

Joseph Pilates

The classes are comprised of a series of exercises that challenge/strengthen the core muscles (abs, back, hip flexors, etc.) of the body. There is a learning curve involved in contracting the ab muscles in the correct way to get the most benefit from the exercises and do them safely. We have found that it’s best to initially teach the Pilates technique in a small group setting, which happens on a periodic basis in our Conference Room. Members who have completed that introductory training are then ready to attend any of the Pilates classes on our weekly Group Ex schedule – like Victoria’s class today.

Victoria has been teaching Pilates at the Club since 2002 and has taught both the beginning series and ongoing classes. For several years, I was a twice a week regular at Victoria’s classes. In fact, most of what I know about Pilates I learned by doing her classes. Victoria is an excellent teacher and has a wonderful nurturing way about her that I’ve always found comforting. I notice in class today how Victoria uses the names of those in class (it seems to me that she know almost everyone) to compliment their form or encourage them to tweak this or that.

Victoria High

Pilates is hard work – especially on the tummy and at several points in class people verbally express their joy (or something) when a particularly hard exercise is finished. Over time, the stomach muscles get much stronger but no matter how strong they get – it’s still hard work to do the whole series correctly.

Victoria has over 25 years of experience in the fitness field in areas such as aquatics, yoga, resistance training and working with arthritis and cancer patients. She holds a plethora of certifications in Pilates, Yoga and group exercise instruction. Along with teaching group classes, Victoria also offers personalized training on the various Pilates equipment found in our Pilates Studio.

Victoria training Betty Tucker in the Pilates Studio

Victoria considers Pilates with its emphasis on full body control, abdominal strength, increased range of motion and mind/body connection as “a great solution for all”. She sums up the appeal of this discipline by quoting the founder, Joseph Pilates who said, “You are as young as the flexibility of your spine.” There must be something to that statement because my long time and wonderful chiropractor, Robynn Zinser is a regular in this class and is here this morning (Robynn keeps my spine in shape – you see).

Since Victoria teaches this same twosome of classes again on Thursday, I’ll be back to see her in a few weeks. I’ll be looking forward to it.

The $25 gift certificate goes to Renee Hutson.

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