Jennifer Aniston swears by it. And apparently so do a whole swarm of other fitness crazy beauties and celebrities. So while I had no dreams of getting into anything size zero or close, after years of trying power yoga, I decided to give Pilates a try.
What I tried was Stott Pilates at the Zone Mind and Body Studio in Koramangala. They also have a branch in Whitefield in case that’s closer to you.
I really enjoyed the classes and while at first they seemed a little slow, I quickly realized that the exercise were much tougher than I thought, calling upon the core muscles, and strengthening them in the process. There is also a lot of technique in the breathing that you need to get right so you can feel the full benefit of the particular exercise or movement.
Here’s more about pilates and it’s benefits, from the expert couple Sharat and Anjali Sareen, who run the pilates classes at Zone. Anjali is also the only Stott Pilates certified instructor trainer in India.
There is a lot of confusion about pilates. Can you tell us a little bit more about this form of exercise?
Simply put, Pilates is a mind-body exercise system that addresses the need of people who want to move away from traditional exercise programs. STOTT PILATES is a contemporary approach to the original exercise method pioneered by the late Joseph Pilates which incorporates modern exercise principles, including contemporary thinking about spinal rehabilitation and athletic performance enhancement, making it one of the safest and effective methods available.
The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, with a balanced approach which ensures that no one muscle group is overworked and that the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sport and daily activity. Pilates is complementary to many traditional ways of working out and it is excellent for all ages, fitness levels and goals, from young adults and ageing baby boomers, to prenatal clients, rehab patients and elite athletes.
For something that has been around for so long, why is it only now that pilates is getting popular?
People are becoming increasingly more interested in fitness regimes that help relieve stress. They’re also much more interested in prevention and taking care of their bodies. They want to stay fit and look good for as long as possible. The Zone Mind & Body Studio first introduced Pilates to India in 2006 at our Koramangala Studio; since then our customer base has grown in multitudes, and we have opened a second Studio in Whitefield. People are also turning to Pilates after seeing its results on celebrities and sports people, not only as an exercise method in its own right, but as a way to improve their performance in other activities, i.e., Martina Navratilova and tennis, and Madonna who at 50+ still has more energy on stage than many people half her age.
Is equipment necessary for pilates? What are the basic necessities to do pilates?
STOTT Pilates can be practised both as a Mat based exercise class and as a machine based exercise class. The Zone Mind & Body Studio offers classes in both. Our fully equipped machine based programme includes Reformers, Cadillac/Trapeze, Stability Chair, Ladder Barrel, Jump-Board, V2 Max, along with other small equipment such as stability and flex balls, rotational disks, stability cushions, fitness circles, foam rollers, and more. The Reformer is the main piece of equipment used in Pilates exercise; it glides forward & backward on rollers and uses springs for resistance, along with other attachments, for a wide variety of exercises and positions (i.e. lying down, seated and standing.)
There is also the perception that Pilates is very expensive and out of reach for many. Is this true?
Quick results that enhance every other kind of movement you do make Pilates a worthwhile expense! We have invested Lakhs of Rupees in state of the art STOTT Pilates equipment and fully certified Instructors to make every workout count. The Zone Mind & Body Studio offers a range of packages to suit every budget, from group classes to one-on-one training sessions; the more you buy, the more you save.
Pilates can be done by itself or integrated with other forms of exercise to actually improve and achieve better performance in a wide range of activities, e.g., horse riding, tennis, golf, cricket, swimming, running, basketball, cycling, etc. It improves cardiovascular efficiency and endurance, while strengthening the core, which results in better posture and neutral body alignment, a solid foundation for improving results from strength training.
In disciplines such as martial arts and dance, Pilates not only creates a higher body awareness but through better posture, stability and balance it helps to create a stronger, more stable base with which to work.
Pilates is also used for rehabilitation and therapy. Can you tell us a little more about it?
STOTT Pilates Co-founders Moira and Lindsay G. Merrithew developed and refined their method of exercise and equipment along with a team of physical therapists, sports medicine and fitness professionals. This resulted in the inclusion of modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation, making it one of the safest and effective methods available. For clients with injuries or special conditions, Pilates can help zero in on areas of the body which are most commonly injured.
It is no coincidence that many Pilates Instructors are physio-therapists and vice versa, which perfectly combines the knowledge of body rehabilitation with alignment and strengthening to help prevent future injuries. In fact, The Zone team comprises of Pilates Instructors who are also highly qualified physiotherapists, meaning we can offer the best support for each client’s specific needs. Pilates can help with many conditions, e.g., Osteoporosis and scoliosis management, pre- and post- natal women, and quite commonly, back conditions.What about the instructor courses in pilates. What are the different kinds of courses offered. And can someone with very little knowledge of pilates do this course?
The Zone offers the only full STOTT Pilates education program in India which provides instructors with the depth of knowledge and practical programming options required to teach effective group or personal training programs to clients of any age or fitness level. In fact, co-founder Anjali Sareen, is the only STOTT Pilates Instructor Trainer in India who, as well as training clients, is qualified to train and examine instructors. STOTT Pilates courses, often referred to as the “Ivy League” of Pilates, are held throughout the year at The Zone and involve both classroom study along with self practice, teaching practice, and physical review.
The Zone currently offers internationally recognised certification in either STOTT Pilates Intensive Mat-Plus and/or the Intensive Reformer. Many people who embark on the course are looking for a career change, or many are expats who suddenly find themselves at a loose end in their new city.
What are the options once a person finishes the course?
Once the course is completed, the student should take examinations to gain their full instructor certification. Many of our former students have taken their skills back to their home country and embarked on a new career in Pilates, or have been offered positions at The Zone Mind & Body Studio.