Pilates was developed nearly 100 years ago by the German athlete and movement education pioneer Joseph Pilates. He drew from gymnastics, yoga, boxing and swimming to create a method he called Contrology. By the 1930’s, Contrology gained popularity with ballet and modern dancers, who came to Pilates’ studio in New York City to heal from various injuries. They quickly became converts. Since then, the method has evolved with the times, continually incorporating the latest research in human biomechanics, and broadening its scope. This evolution and diversification of Pilates means that not all Pilates studios teach the same content in the same way. So look around and think carefully before you choose a studio.
The essence of Pilates is its focus on postural muscles of the body, building strength from the inside out. Pilates brings the body into correct alignment and re-educates it about more efficient movement patterns. Furthermore, because Pilates emphasizes lengthening the body in movement with attention to correct form with fewer movement repetitions, muscles become long and lean, rather than short and big.
A friend of mine introduced me to Smartbody and I’m so glad she did. Pilates has changed my life. Chronic back and neck pains are a thing of the past and my slouching posture has at last been corrected. I feel at least a few centimetres taller! Smartbody’s teachers are excellent coaches. They are well trained and extremely professional. There is a friendly atmosphere and you really feel everyone is welcome – you see all ages and both sexes mixed together in classes. Both my daughters (18 and 28) have joined recently and are as enthusiastic about this club as I am! Paula Conaghan
I treasure my pilates classes with you so much . . . When my physical therapist from downstairs sent me to Smartbody eight years ago me and my back were a mess. Now, since a few years, I have not had any back problems anymore, which is a miracle (particularly with my height!). So, I would really like to THANK YOU! Cristel Sunter – radio producer and artist
I began Pilates at Smartbody in September 2013 on advice from a local physiotherapist who was treating me for a troublesome and persistent, stress-related, frozen shoulder. I was quite intimidated about starting. Though I played team sports to a high level in my youth, I have no dance or related gymnastic training.
I was immediately comfortable at Smartbody which has a warm and friendly atmosphere. There are some outstanding and talented people there from all walks of life. As a beginner, I found it was deceptively hard work, requiring immense concentration. From my musical training, I immediately enjoyed the rigour of it, the mental challenge, the rehearsal of each movement and the constant practice which quickly shows results. I also found a mental release – a kind of natural high after every session. Within two weeks of attending the studio for dedicated one-on-one sessions, my pain was gone permanently and I could already feel my balance and flexibility returning.
Over a year later, I now attend Smartbody twice a week with two different instructors. Each emphasizes different things but both are very focused and inspiring. In fact, I am rather humbled by the experience. Without exaggeration, they are two of the best teachers I have ever worked with. I find their dedication and desire to help me is both a compliment and a reason to work harder.
My ambition with Pilates is to improve my practice alone, so I can use it when I travel and also perhaps to attend some classes later on, to experience the group dynamic. But for now, I will remain an improving and willing novice. I am healthier in every aspect of my life, my posture is better, I ceased smoking, and I rest better.
Christopher Springham, Vice President, Global Communications & Human Resources LM Wind Power