Introduction to Pilates
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Pilates at YogaKula
Our goal at YogaKula is to encourage our clients to experience and cultivate self-awareness through the union of mind and body. By using the Pilates Method, you will learn to move in a way that embraces this connection and deepens your understanding of your own physicality. The Pilates Method is accessible to anyone, regardless of your current condition, age, or fitness level.
Benefits of the Pilates Method
- Strength and Flexibility
- Improved Posture
- Better Balance and Coordination
- Fluid Movement
- Increased Stamina
- Stress Reduction and Relaxation
- Improved Concentration and Focus
- Weight Loss
- Vibrant Health and Well-Being
- Injury Rehabilitation
- Improved Performance
Our Pilates studio features three Allegro Reformers, one Allegro Reformer with a Cadillac conversion, a Chair and other props for exercise variations.
The Pilates Method
Based on the teachings of Joseph H. Pilates, this exercise approach addresses imbalances that can contribute to chronic pain and discomfort. By deeply engaging the mind with specificity and precision, and utilizing the breath in every movement, this method thoroughly works the body and produces efficient and dramatic results.
Joe Pilates’s main concern was the mind/body connection – “harmony between mental and physical.” He believed that our mind, the quality of our focus and awareness, creates the physical state we find ourselves in. He felt that SIMPLE exercise performed with precision and self-awareness, (or, to borrow a phrase from Moshe Feldenkrais, “awareness through movement”) was the anecdote to chronic pain and imbalance, which in his mind, were the main causes for rapid aging and degeneration. Joe Pilates did not believe in pushing past the ‘pain-threshold’ and detested the mindless repetition that was prevalent in most exercise techniques of his day. He believed that if you did one repetition of something with the right quality of focus, all of yourself engaged and present in the effort, with adequate breathing, and precise attention to every last detail of the movement, it would be enough to feel good, alert, and engaged in life.
While observing people as they moved through their daily lives, as well as in his exercise classes, he realized that the most mechanically deficient and weak part of the body was the whole abdominal region from front to back. The pelvic girdle contains some of the most powerful muscles in the body -they literally cradle our vital organs, provide foundation and support for free and easy breathing, are intrinsic to our overall balance, and contribute to our body’s weight distribution. This is why Joe Pilates felt that focusing our attention on this crucial part of our anatomy was at the root of healthy, fluid movement.
Core strength, adequate breathing, quality of focus, fluidity of movement, and precision of execution are the hallmark principles of the Pilates Method which is why so many dancers have studied it, and why it is a method and not a technique. The Pilates Method is an approach to a healthier way of life, to well-being, and to grace inside and out.
What is Pilates Mat?
Pilates mat work is a series of exercises that are done on the floor on yoga mats without Pilates machines for the purpose of building and conditioning the core of the body.
What is Pilates Reformer?
A reformer is a spring-loaded Pilates machine that is used to create resistance for the purpose of building and conditioning the core of the body.
The benefits of both mat and reformer training are similar.
New Pilates Students
Group Reformer classes are recommended for those with reformer experience.
For new students, to help you get acquainted with the equipment, we offer a Pilates Intro Package – 3 Private Reformer Sessions for $159 (regularly, $225).
Please visit the studio, or call 510.486.0264 to purchase. We also offer Intro to Pilates Group Reformer classes as part of our regular schedule.
Willow Blish was first introduced to Pilates in Vermont in 1998 and received certification through the Physical Mind Institute in January of 1999. Upon moving to New York City, she continued her Pilates training at Power Pilates under the tutelage of Bob Liekens and Susan Moran-Perich, among others, receiving certification in August of 2002. She holds the trademark to Pilates Balance®, a group exercise class combining Pilates, calisthenics and balance, all using the large physio ball. Other fitness certifications include personal training through AFAA, Johnny G Spinning & YogaFit Level 1.
Willow brings to her work an intense interest in the ways in which our bodies function during basic day-to-day movements and how she can help bodies perform more efficiently and more effectively. She believes that the combination of strength training, balance, stability work and flexibility involved in Pilates can assist almost any person of any fitness level achieve their health and conditioning goals.
Abby Eaton has always gravitated towards endeavors which take a certain amount of balance such as horse back riding, ice skating and skiing. When introduced to pilates in 2001 it seemed like a natural fit. The mind body connection aspect of pilates especially appealed to her. She started the pilates mat certification process with Integrated Teacher Training in the Bay Area in 2004, and the apparatus training certification process with Turning Point Studios in Walnut Creek in 2006. She has taught at a variety of fitness clubs and pilates studios in the East Bay and takes a great deal of pleasure in sharing her passion for pilates and movement.
Joanna Arhon Clinton began studying Pilates in 2003 to rehabilitate a lower back injury. As a dancer, she was immediately drawn to the Pilates method. Her enthusiasm and dedication to her own practice eventually led her to complete an instructor certification program through Balanced Body University. Joanna brings deep awareness and sensitivity to her Pilates teaching. She is very passionate about educating people about the strength and power of their own bodies. Joanna is also a certified fitness instructor at UC Berkeley where she teaches dance and Pilates mat classes.
Elizabeth Du Val danced professionally for over 15 years, using Pilates to fine tune her dancing. She started teaching mat classes while still dancing in ’91, and has taught people of all ages, manner of injuries, and ambitions in a variety of places. Recently, she spent several years teaching group reformer classes at Reforming NY, a busy Pilates complex in Manhattan, and has also taught in places such as Asphalt Green, multiple Y’s, Berkeley Ballet Theatre and elsewhere. She is grateful to have been given the opportunity to teach at Yoga Kula for the last several summers and is thrilled to be returning on a more permanent basis.
While she has a foundation in classical Pilates, she also has a mat certification in Physical Mind, and a reformer certification in the Stott style. She was trained to teach on the chair and cadillac by Ellie Herman.
Her class focuses on slow controlled movement, allignment and precision in order to maximize each exercise.
Kimberley Denison recently moved to the bay area from Bakersfield, CA where she owned and operated her own Pilates Studio, “Pilates Evolution” for over ten years. Kimberley began taking Pilates upon recommendation from her physical therapist after suffering from a back injury and this opened up new possibilities. After recovering, she became a certified personal trainer and pursued matt, reformer, and equipment training. Pilates transformed how Kimberley viewed fitness. Her aspiration is to help people through the benefits of Pilates with improving functional movement, strength, flexibility and overall well being. She uses a practical approach using different styles and methods to create an individual movement program for each client. Age and body type does not matter, Pilates is for you!
Jenna Anjali is a creative and adept teacher whose philosophies embrace the phrase “freedom in form.” First drawn to yoga as a young adult, she trained as an instructor in the Anusara method in 2004, and studied yoga therapeutics. Her passion where she continued to expand her yoga practice, included breath-work and Thai yoga massage. After returning to the states, she attended the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, graduating with a license in massage therapy and certificates in Cranial Sacral Therapy and Polarity Healing. Since then, Jenna’s returned to Asia several times, also studying and performing Classical Indian and Ethnic Dance there and in the U.S. Jenna’s overall fascination with the body and biomechanics, along with her desire to treat her own scoliosis, led her to the Pilates Method–in particular, the Polestar Pilates approach because of the emphasis on physical therapy and rehabilitation. She’s trained to work with her students in mat, chair, reformer, and trapeze table. Jenna’s classes are fun and challenging, focusing on breath, body alignment, and movement awareness.