Santa Barbara Athletic Club stays true to Joseph Pilates’ original Reformer-based Contrology Method, yet is modernized with group practice and expanded state-of-the-art equipment. Pilates is one of the most effective physical conditioning methods available, by uniquely strengthening core musculature to enhance your body’s innate ability to move.
Our master Pilates instructor, Julia, is here to tell you how she got started on her Pilates career and what the practice can do for you.
How did you discover Pilates?
I first discovered Pilates as a cross training for dance. Years ago I began taking Pilates mat classes as part of dance workshops and festivals. Throughout high school and college, I trained very intensively in Ballet, modern, and jazz dance, and was able to see how much Pilates could help me as a dancer. I attended the University of California, Irvine, earing my degree in dance performance. I took Pilates as an elective at school, and was truly able to see the great value of the method for me in maintaining and increasing my strength, tone, and flexibility in my body. I really fell in love with it! I worked for the Walt Disney Company as a parade performer and in entertainment and attribute my Pilates practice as a means to keep me injury free and performing. After graduating from college, I completed my Pilates Certification through the Pilates Center of Orange County and have loved teaching every since!
What made you want to teach Pilates?
I wanted to teach Pilates because I really enjoy having the ability to share the practice with a wide range of clients. My main Pilates instructor, Diane Diefenderfer, says a client should always walk out of a session feeling better than when they came in, and from my experience this holds true. Seeing someone stand taller, feel longer, and energized following class is always great for an instructor.
What makes Pilates unique?
Pilates has many different attributes that sets it apart from other forms of exercise, including multiple pieces of equipment, such as the reformer, trapeze table, jump board, and Wunda chair. It has the ability to incorporate work on muscle and tone with an emphasis on flexibility and balance, which allows for strength building but also fluidity and length throughout the body. Pilates has a large emphasis on strengthening the core, targeting all parts of the abdominals, as well as improving posture.
What can someone expect in a private or group reformer class?
A private session is the way to go for someone who is new to Pilates or wants to work on specific fitness goals catered to them. It’s a one on one with an instructor, and uses all the equipment we offer in the Pilates studio. Group reformer classes offer a small class size, (maximum of six) and utilize the reformer as the form of equipment. For those who have some Pilates experience, or who are moving from Private sessions into classes, they can utilize the energy of those around them for motivation, and keep a close eye on the instructor to lead them through class to work all parts of the body.
Some Key benefits of Pilates?
Some key benefits of Pilates include increasing strength, flexibility, balance, control, and the incorporation of breath into movement. This emphasis on breath allows for both relaxation at times, and also a deepening through the core to get more out of your abdominal work.
How do you stay motivated to move?
I keep motivated to move because my body always feels better after movement or stretch. Being used to taking dance classes five days a week with multiple hours of rehearsal, my body knows when it needs to move. Pilates not only allows for more tone and fitness, but always leaves me feeling great after as well.
Pilates can be a main exercise routine because it allows for a full body workout, but is a great form of cross training for any type of fitness. For me, I cross train with running and dance. Whether it be cardio or weight based, incorporating a focused workout with flexibility and stretch, such as Pilates, has great benefit. Dancers, tennis players, golfers, runners, rock climbers and other athletes can improve with Pilates incorporated as part of a fitness routine. Pilates is also an amazing place for someone coming back from an injury and looking for a rehabilitation based workout, or really anyone who wants to get moving and active again.
What are some good Pilates stretches for home?
One of my favorite ways to stretch out and feel a little longer is a simple roll down or forward fold. From standing with your feet about hip width distance a part and harms down by your sides, inhale as you tuck your chin to your chest and on a long exhale start to roll down starting from the top of your head and articulate through each vertebrae as you roll through your spine, as if you were peeling away from a wall behind you. Let your hands hang heavy in front of you and release any tension from the shoulders and back of the neck. As you start to feel a stretch in the back of the legs, inhale and take a generous bend into both knees to release through the low back. Exhale to straighten through your knees, as much as you are ready for, to deepen your stretch. Stay here for an inhale, and on your next exhale think of pulling the belly button deep into your spine, engage your abdominal and begin to roll up one vertebra at a time. Your head will be the very last thing to lift and feel tall as you stand up straight. Repeat this a couple of times, warming up through the hamstrings and back, and working on spinal articulation both on the way down and up. Each time try to go a little bit deeper into your stretch.
Best advice for someone trying Pilates for the first time.
My advice for anyone trying Pilates for the first time would be to keep a very open mind to all that Pilates can offer. I’d also suggest that you try to take in as much information surrounding the method as possible. It is a lot to learn and can be intimidating at first, but if you are able to master the main principles and building blocks you will get so much more out of your workout! With that said, have fun and take full advantage of all the different props, equipment, and knowledge of our Pilates instructors!
No matter what your fitness goals are or what sports you play, you can bet that greater core strength, flexibility, and overall control of the body will benefit you. The improved and corrected movement patterns you learn in Pilates can guide you in your workouts as well as your daily life. Treat yourself to a class or schedule a complimentary consultation with someone from our Pilates Team!
Try our our free Beginner Class, designed to teach the fundamentals of Reformer Pilates, or join a Multi-Level or Level 2 Group Session. Some previous experience or an Introductory Package is recommended.
Get started today – to schedule a Private or Semi-private session, contact (805) 966-6147 extension 229.