Which Pilates is Right for You?

by Rachael Lieck Bryce

There are many different kinds of Pilates teacher training programs, which can leave students and potential future Pilates teachers puzzled over which one is best for them.

Much of the confusion dates back to the death of Joseph Pilates in 1967. Mr. Pilates never trademarked his method, so each of his personally trained disciples went out into the world to teach Pilates, some sticking close to Mr. Pilates’ original vision, others adding their own personal flourishes–all of them calling their practice “Pilates.”

After an attempt by one individual to try and “own” the name Pilates, it ultimately ended in a 2000 decision by a federal judge in New York that declared “Pilates” to be a generic term (like yoga or karate) that couldn’t be trademarked or owned by a particular person or program.

While this court decision ultimately reflected Joseph Pilates’ desire to spread his system far and wide, it also means that the standard for calling oneself a Pilates instructor is flexible, to say the least.

So potential Pilates students, as well as potential Pilates instructors considering pursuing their teacher training, would be well-advised to do their homework and experience as many programs and teachers as possible. Styles vary from teacher to teacher, and program to program, ranging from very classical to contemporary, all the way through to no actual Pilates basis whatsoever.

There are many great Pilates professionals and several really good Pilates certification programs, many of which trace their lineage back to one of Joseph Pilates’ personal students. The key is finding a program that emphasizes rigorous teacher training, proper form, progressions, knowledge of all apparatuses, including the mat and, above all, student safety!

Pilates, like all exercise, can do wonderful things for the body and mind. And, under the guidance of a well-trained, observant instructor, it is very safe and extraordinarily effective. But, like all exercise, if done improperly, it can cause injury.

The instructors at my previous two studios and now my third studio, Pilates Methodology, are all classically certified, and most are certified by New York-based Power Pilates. The reasons we love Power Pilates are many, but these are among the most important:

• Power Pilates is committed to upholding the standard of classical Pilates, as opposed to other programs that take a more contemporary approach. The Pilates method is almost a century old, and we are convinced that the original system continues to be extraordinarily effective, exceptionally safe and endlessly adaptive to our clients’ ever-changing needs.

• The creators of Power Pilates, Dr. Howard Sichel and Pilates Master Teachers Bob Liekens, Susan Moran and Phoebe Higgins, were all trained by Romana Kryzanowska, one of Joseph Pilates’ students. Ms. Kryzanowska worked with Mr. Pilates and his wife, Clara, and continued to run his studio after his death.

• In our opinion and experience, Power Pilates’ teacher training is second to none. In addition to offering a solid, classical curriculum, the Power Pilates certification program does an excellent job of teaching instructors “the art of teaching.” Power Pilates instructors are taught how to properly observe the biomechanics taking place in the body, offer corrections, and deliver a safe and effective workout that meets the client’s individual needs. This is crucial to ensuring our clients’ safety, delivering results, and creating lifelong Pilates lovers.

• The Power Pilates teacher training program is rigorous and meticulous. Every Power Pilates-certified instructor starts with the 32-hour Beginner and Intermediate Mat Certifications (Core Mat I & II), as well as completing at least 25 hours of private lessons and 10 classically taught mat classes. After that, they move on to a 90-hour course taught over five weekends with a teacher trainer and a 600-hour apprenticeship. The entire certification process, if pursued full-time, takes up to a year to complete.

• Unlike many other certification programs, Power Pilates is not also an equipment manufacturer. We are therefore able to purchase the best and most appropriate—and only the best and most appropriate—equipment for our studio and our clients. We do not teach to a specific apparatus or manufacturer.

Every Pilates Methodology instructor has either a full Power Pilates certification or is in the midst of their apprenticeship. They are held to high standards every year for the completion of additional continuing education within the classical Pilates realm and anatomy. In addition, Methodology’s co-founder, Rachael Lieck Bryce, is also a Power Pilates Teacher Trainer, which means she has completed an additional rigorous certification process in order to train other instructors through Power Pilates. Along with regional director Veronica Combs, she is one of only two certified Power Pilates Teacher Trainers in this region, which includes most of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

We are happy to be part of the Power Pilates family and believe we offer our clients the ultimate Pilates experience—one that continues to change lives and bodies every single day.

Originally posted on February 2012 on Classical Pilates blog


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rachael Lieck Bryce has been a full-time Pilates instructor for over a decade. She is dedicated to the classical Pilates Method and has worked with clients ranging from 5 to 85, with all levels of fitness abilities. Rachael teaches from a place of authenticity, with the goal of enriching peoples lives through classical Pilates. Methodology, set to open in Dallas in 2014, will mark Rachael’s 3rd studio to build, open and operate. She brings her expertise from the Pilates industry, passion for educating the community and zest for life into her teaching.

A former contemporary dancer, Rachael was introduced to Pilates in 1997 through her college ballet teacher. She was first certified with Colleen Glenn in Dallas, TX, completing over 500 hours of an apprenticeship and a rigorous certification, The PilateSystem in 2002. Colleen is listed in the national registry of Who’s Who and was heralded as one of America’s TOP 55 TRAINERS in Vogue magazine.

After teaching for 5 years Rachael wanted more education and began her journey as a bridge student with international, New York-based, Power Pilates. Completing a second program in 2006. Rachael has had the pleasure to train with some of the most respected and sought after Pilates instructors in the industry, and believes you never stop learning. It keeps her current, educated and just as passionate for classical Pilates as ever.

In addition to teaching Pilates students, Rachael is a Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates, one of the most highly respected Pilates education programs in the world. Rachael is dedicated to training new teachers who uphold the standard in classical Pilates as they change lives in their communities.

Power Pilates Around the World: Seoul, South Korea

Report by Teacher Trainer Bonnie Grove

The email invitation came on a Monday. Departure date: the following Tuesday. Assignment: Fly to Seoul, South Korea, and teach the last 7 days of a 12-day intensive. Of course, I said yes.

Bonnie and her students

My husband and I had been to Hong Kong a few years earlier, so I knew the flight would be intense. Fourteen hours, non-stop, from Dulles to Seoul. By myself. I packed all my sleep aids – neck pillow, melatonin, Nyquil. I am usually able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, but not on an airplane, unfortunately. So I watched a few movies and read my book and arrived a little bleary-eyed in Seoul at 5pm. I was met by the bubbly and charming Mimi, a fellow Teacher Trainer and my translator for the next six days, who immediately gave me a big hug and made me feel right at home.

Oh, did I mention that I had to teach seven days of curriculum, in just six days? With a translator? And that none of the apprentices spoke English? It was a

huge endeavor but one I was determined to meet head-on. Mimi and I came up with a game plan: add one hour to each of the 6-hour days to make up for the extra day. I outlined a syllabus to match the new schedule, including time for the apprentices to practice, have a few breaks here and there, and still learn as much as possible.

Practice Teaching - a key part of the Power Pilates program!

Because of the otherwise busy lives of the apprentices, our training started at 4pm and finished at 11pm. That left me plenty of time in the morning and early afternoon to sleep in, have a little walk around the city, and prepare for the day. This helped my jet lag immensely, and I enjoyed the freedom to relax and explore Seoul on my own. Mimi had a 2-hour commute each day into and out of the city, and she was also busy at another studio teaching continuing education to already-certified Power Pilates teachers, so we didn’t have a huge overlap in our schedules.

The “New York Power Pilates Studio” in Seoul is a beautiful, light-filled space decked out with brand-new equipment by Basil. The six apprentices were some of the hardest working students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. IMG_1894They were very curious, asked good questions, and most of all were quite patient with the translation process. I realized after the first day that everything I said to them they were writing in their (English) manuals in Korean. Think about that for a minute. After a few days, I joked with Mimi that I felt I was beginning to understand Korean. There is a certain cadence and rhythm that sometimes reminded me of Italian or Spanish. And of course inevitably the same questions arise from training to training that as a Teacher Trainer, you learn to anticipate. Physically they were quite strong and very able to do the work, which is so helpful, especially as we moved into the higher intermediate and advanced exercises.

My favorite part of each training day was our dinner break. Mimi and Mikki made sure to have me taste every delicious bite of Korean food they brought in. We had very tasty sushi rolls served with pickled radish, rice burgers (sticky rice filled with kim chee and fish), and on the last day a western-style cheese pizza complete with dill pickle slices. Mimi also took me out for a traditional 5-course Korean dinner, which was amazing. Another night we ventured out for dumplings and soup in a charming Korean market.

 

Mimi, Bonnie and Mikky

Mimi, Bonnie and Mikky

After six very intense days, we finished the syllabus and celebrated with lots of picture taking, more delicious Korean food, and hugs all around. I couldn’t believe how fast the time went and was quite sad to be leaving them. But I know they are in good hands and they are all going to be fantastic Power Pilates teachers. I’m so proud of their effort and applaud their tenacity throughout this whole process. And I am so very grateful and humbled to have had the opportunity to travel halfway around the world and contribute to their learning experience. My heartfelt thanks go out to Mimi, Mikki, and Power Pilates for giving me this chance. I look forward to more traveling and teaching with Power Pilates!

 

 

The Power Pilates Method in Real Life

PP100Man_Stacked_RGBAll teachers of Joseph Pilates’ method have their own stories of how Pilates changed their bodies and lives. The stories of the individual lives touched by Pilates are more powerful than any show of statistics, facts, and data ever could be. Personal empowerment is at the heart of the Power Pilates method and is reflected in the many inspiring journeys of our family of teachers.

We asked two Power Pilates trained teachers, Lisa and LucyAnn, to share how they came to join the Power Pilates family:

Lisa Christon’s first encounter with Pilates came in 2001 as a result of bulging discs in her lower back that were quite possibly due to scoliosis. She began her rehabilitation with physical therapy and soon decided to book her first Pilates lesson. Over the course of the next nine years, the classical Pilates method empowered Lisa to heal her own body. Lisa grew stronger and more stable every day with the help of her teacher, Kathy Buccellato.

Lisa was inspired to make Pilates a focus of her life and started her Beginner Mat training with Power Pilates in 2009. In 2010, she was selected to be one of five Power Pilates interns at Apogee Wellness to study under Senior Teacher Trainer Lesly Levy. Eight months later, Lisa earned her Power Pilates Comprehensive certificate. In 2012, Lisa passed the exam to become a Pilates Method Alliance Certified Pilates Teacher, or PMA CPT. Her passion and enthusiasm for the method are immediately evident when you meet her as Lisa truly lives the method. Lisa loves helping others and continually works to inspire her students to achieve a better quality of life. Lisa currently teaches at the Power Pilates Studio in Manhattan and Apogee Wellness in White Plains, NY.

LucyAnn Doino leads her clients by example to show how regular exercise and proper nutrition can help them lose weight, gain energy, and heal their bodies naturally. LucyAnn found Power Pilates after a very difficult time in her life.

At just thirty-one years old, LucyAnn had an emergency C-sectio, followed ten days later by emergency open-heart surgery. The ordeal left her weak, depressed, and overweight. The Power Pilates method empowered LucyAnn to rehabilitate her body. Through Pilates, LucyAnn changed her lifestyle, lost thirty-five pounds, radically improved her body composition, and was able to stop all her heart and blood pressure medications.

LucyAnn started in the Power Pilates Systematic Training program in 2009 and earned her Power Pilates Comprehensive certificate in March 2010. These days, LucyAnn has developed a large clientele, some of whom are recovering from major surgeries, depression, cancer, arthritis and other ailments. Her personal motto, “To Overcome and Become”, inspires LucyAnn and her clients every day. LucyAnn currently teaches at Apogee Wellness in White Plains.

How did you come to Power Pilates? Share your story with us in the comment section below and you could be profiled in a future blog post!

My New Reason for Practicing Pilates

We’ve all been there before – the eager Pilates apprentice anxiously preparing to become a Pilates instructor. We were drawn to the Pilates Method, each for our own reasons, and decided to share our passion for it with others. As a former dancer, I was drawn to “The Method” because it reminded me so much of my dance training; the control and concentration needed to perform each exercise with perfect technique. As a Pilates apprentice in the Power Pilates Teacher Training Program, I absolutely loved the way Pilates made me feel! I loved putting every ounce of energy into performing exercises to ideal standards and perfectly instructing my fellow apprentices using the Power Pilates teaching formula. I remember being surrounded by other like-minded apprentices and thinking, “We are all awesome Pilates practitioners.” I was living on a so-called Pilates cloud nine, and I believed that everyone I taught would feel the same way about Pilates.

Once I became a classically trained teacher and began working with real clients, I noticed that not all of my clients were striving to perform exercises to ideal standards. They weren’t pushing themselves to the brink of physical exhaustion the same way I did when I took a class. Becoming frustrated with what I assumed was their laziness, I found myself trying to infuse MY passion for Pilates into each session which only led to emotional and mental exhaustion on my part. I was having a hard time connecting with my clients which in return, narrowed the range of clients with whom I trained. My advertising campaign could’ve been “Are you young, athletic and looking for a kick ass workout? If so, call Erin!” Then reality hit me like a ton of bricks – not everyone is drawn to Pilates for the same reason! If I could discover my clients’ personal reasons for doing Pilates, which I quickly realized were very different from my own, I could broaden my client base and have a successful career as a Pilates instructor.

In changing my mind-set, I discovered the MANY reasons clients seek Pilates training; the runner hoping to reduce the risk of injury, the golfer hoping to improve his game, the new mom hoping to reclaim her pre-baby body, the knee replacement patient hoping to regain mobility, and so many more reasons! Once I was able to discover my clients’ reasons for doing Pilates, I was able to connect with them and help them achieve their goals. It was no longer about me the Pilates instructor, providing an intense workout – it became about helping my clients improve their lives through the Pilates Method, and with this discovery came success. I was able to structure each session specifically to meet my clients’ individual needs. Does Part C in the Power Pilates system ring a bell? In doing so, my clients’ technique began to improve, my client retention increased and my business grew!

Now as an owner of a successful Pilates studio and Power Pilates Regional Training center in South Florida, I am lucky enough to work with all types of clients, apprentices and instructors to help each one of them discover their own passion for Pilates. This is my new reason for practicing Pilates. My passion has evolved overtime from my days as an apprentice to now as a seasoned Pilates instructor, and I am sure it will continue to evolve as my career continues. I challenge you, wherever you are in your Pilates career, to reevaluate your passion for The Method and take the time necessary to uncover why each of your clients choose to practice Pilates. With this always in mind, you are guaranteed to have a successful and meaningful Pilates career!


Erin Haag is a Power Pilates instructor and a member of the Pilates Method Alliance. With a background in dance, Erin studied with Ballet Florida, Alexander W Dreyfoos Jr, School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Webster University’s Conservatory for Theatre & Dance. Erin is also an alumnus of The Broadway Theatre Project where she had the privilege to study dance under Ann Reinking, Gwen Verdon, Gregory Hines, and Debra McWaters. Erin’s love for dance led her to Pilates in 2000, and soon after, she created the Yoga & Pilates Organization at Webster University. Graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Erin began working as a certified weight loss counselor and helped hundreds of clients lose thousands of pounds. It was Erin’s experience as a weight loss counselor that inspired her to open Pilates of Palm Beach. “I believe that EVERYONE can be fit. This is why I am so passionate about Pilates. Pilates allows people of all ages and sizes to transform their bodies & improve their health.” A lifelong dancer turned avid runner, Erin now uses Pilates as a way to keep herself flexible during marathon training. “If it weren’t for Pilates, my joints and spine would not make it through 26.2 miles of pounding pavement.”

Power Pilates and Leaders in Fitness Partner to Offer Pilates Continuing Education Workshops Online

The Power Pilates Education team is excited for the opportunities that the partnership with Leaders in Fitness offers to its loyal network of Pilates teachers and enthusiasts. The Leaders in Fitness Platform allows teachers to access the highest quality Power Pilates workshops from anywhere in the world. Workshops are taught by past and present senior-level Teacher Trainers, including Bob Liekens, Susan Moran, Lesly Levy, Juan Estrada, and many others.

Continuing education credits earned from Leaders in Fitness workshops are now recognized by eleven different fitness accrediting bodies, including Power Pilates. Leaders in Fitness is expanding its course library monthly with workshop releases from a variety of fitness, health and wellness experts. Students worldwide will expand their knowledge and acquire continuing education credits through a user-friendly and engaging platform.

About Power Pilates
Power Pilates is the leading educator of classical Pilates in the world with a network of 110 training centers in 10 countries supported by more than 7,000 Power Pilates trained graduates. Power Pilates is distinguished in the industry by an unwavering emphasis on training that honors the integrity of the original method developed by Joseph Pilates.

The Power Pilates method is designed to strengthen, stretch and

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stabilize the body, offering unparalleled results. It is a whole body technique that not only increases stamina in a single workout, but provides the gift of strength and longevity with repeat sessions. The Power Pilates brand maintains a distinguished presence in the Pilates industry due to the classical Pilates style where each and every movement derives from the body’s core – the “powerhouse”. With Power Pilates, in 10 days you will feel better, in 20 days you will look better and in 30 days you will have a whole new body.

For further information visit: http://www.powerpilatespro.com

About Leaders in Fitness
Leaders in Fitness is committed to delivering an innovative and elevating online education experience. The revolutionary virtual fitness learning environment provides high-quality streaming video, online exams, the ability to print certificates with ease, and a user-friendly workplace to track student achievements. Fitness and health partners are provided the opportunity to increase client retention, while maintaining the integrity of their brand’s education.

For further information visit: http://www.leadersinfitness.com.

Can People with Parkinson’s Disease Benefit from Pilates?

Pilates can have profound positive effects on just about everybody, from Olympians to couch potatoes. But the true benefits of Pilates are most evident in students suffering from progressive, debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s inhibits the production of dopamine, which can cause those who have it to become unsteady, slow and rigid. Including Pilates in a treatment regimen can slow the progression of the disease because it helps maintain physical coordination, balance, posture, strength and range of motion. If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s, consult a physician to see if adding Pilates to a treatment program is appropriate. Attending Pilates classes or individual training sessions can also greatly increase a patient’s quality of life. The Pilates method, which focuses on breathing and concentration, can provide significant stress relief and mood improvement for those struggling with a debilitating disease. Recent research has shown that regular exercise, including Pilates, can increase the density of our cells’ mitochondria, the cell’s “power plant.” The higher the density of the mitochondria, the greater its vitality and longevity. The best time to adopt a Pilates regimen is in the disease’s early stages. However, once muscle deterioration has begun, a Pilates regimen can still be beneficial. If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, please discuss taking Pilates (or any exercise regimen) with your doctor before you begin. You will also want to discuss your diagnosis with your Pilates teacher. Select a highly experienced Pilates teacher who is familiar with Parkinson’s. Your teacher should collect a full medical history and consult your doctor before working

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Some of the physical benefits of Pilates for those with Parkinson’s include:

BalanceParkinson’s – causes coordination deficiencies as well as an inability to initiate movement.

Pilates – delays these issues by strengthening the powerhouse (the musculature of the torso) and by the use of unstable surfaces.

Coordination

Parkinson’s – causes patients to have inadequate timing among muscle groups. Pilates – can help to improve coordination by focusing on precision and requiring students to mentally multi-task responding to verbal and tactile cues.

 

Muscle StrengthParkinson’s – causes reduced muscle strength, along with shortening of individual muscles.

Pilates – combats these symptoms by emphasizing eccentric muscle contractions.

 

Range of MotionParkinson’s – as the disease progresses, patients experience decreased range of motion and rigidity in the joints and lower back that affect both posture and gait.

Pilates – progression of classical exercises is horizontal (lying down) to vertical (standing up). The exercises performed in a horizontal position help preserve extension of the hip joints and strengthen the back extensors.

 

Posture

Parkinson’s – patients develop a Kyphotic posture (“hunchback”) as the disease progresses.

Pilates – improves posture by focusing on balanced muscle development, breathing, core control, and axial elongation (lengthening of the spine).

Unfortunately, Pilates is not a cure for Parkinson’s. Until a cure is found, those with Parkinson’s may find that Pilates can do much to slow the progression of their disease. Pilates can help them stay involved in daily activities, preserve their quality of life, and maintain a positive mental attitude that is so crucial in combating Parkinson’s.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rachael Lieck Bryce is co-owner and senior instructor of Classic Pilates and is a teacher trainer at the Power Pilates Dallas Affiliate Training Center. Prior to moving to Dallas in 2008, Rachael spent two years in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she founded Momentum Pilates Studio, a full-service, classical Pilates studio. Rachael has been a full-time Pilates instructor for 10 years and has loved every moment of it. Rachael began her first certification program in the Pilates Method under Colleen Glenn in 2001, and joined the Power Pilates family in 2006. Rachael is a Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) certified teacher. PMA is an international not-for-profit professional association for the Pilates method. She has worked with clients ranging from ages 5 to 80, with all levels of fitness ability. Rachael is passionately dedicated to the Pilates Method and has seen it change lives. Rachael was introduced to the Pilates Method through dance. She co-founded Realmdanceproject (RDP), a professional dance company, in 1998. The company’s last full-length production “The Seven Year Itch” was featured in The Austin American Statesman and The Austin Chronicle. Realmdanceproject continues to make guest appearances throughout the United States. Rachael is dedicated to fostering new teachers in becoming Pilates professionals who uphold the standard in classical Pilates as they change lives in their communities.To read more articles from Teacher Trainer Rachael Lieck Bryce, visit her blog.

The Power of Korea

The “Power” of Korea Blog by: Lesly Levy

My excitement began about a week before my departure. Prior to that, I was far too busy to even give my trip a second thought, but all of a sudden it hit me – wow, I was flying half way around the world as a Regional Representative for Power Pilates and now, an International Teacher Trainer. This trip marked the first time I’d fly internationally without my husband and the longest we have ever been apart. Yet for me, just like at Apogee Wellness, it is all about the teaching, bringing Power to a broader spectrum, and about the start of something new. . .

In early July, I started to receive emails from the Power Pilates trained instructor Mimi, who although is currently living in New Jersey, is from Korea and speaks fluent Korean. Mimi was to be my interpreter and her emails reinforced my position and the importance that I was bringing to Seoul. Little by little, we firmed up our plans. Mikki and her co-studio owners, Anna and Eunjung were anxiously awaiting our arrival and my guidance in opening Korea’s first Power Pilates Regional Training Center in their capital of Seoul. My job was three fold – to teach the Beginner Mat and 12 Day Intensive Comprehensive to their group of hopeful students, to help the owners set up the studio as a Regional Training Center, and to guide Mikki and Mimi through the process of learning to become Power Pilates Teacher Trainers. Would my 19 day trip give me enough time?

I was delivered to JFK International Airport on July 11th by my tearful and worried 25 year old daughter, and into the open arms of smiling Mimi. As my husband and son had to both work that day, it was my daughter Samantha’s job to drive me to the airport. That’s when it truly hit her – her mom was in fact traveling half way around the world to Asia and would be gone for nearly 3 weeks. (In that moment, I was so praying that SKYPE would work!) We said our tearful goodbyes and Mimi assured my daughter that she would take good care of me and she did just that! I was immediately whisked off to check in where Mimi’s husband was patiently waiting with our many bags. I was never one to travel light, but wow I was even topped by Mimi and her “3” huge 50 pound each bags plus her carry-on. We had just enough time to have a quick cup of coffee (which I can never refuse), before going through security, heading for the gate and settling in for our 14 hour and change, long flight. After chatting away for the first 6 hours of our trip and tasting my first Bimbimbap (a signature Korean dish), I luckily settled in for a 5 hour nap. Refreshed and ready to go, we arrived in Korea at 4 in the afternoon. Much to my surprise, unlike the melting pot of New York City, Korea was a place where I was the only foreigner. Strangely enough – I felt very at home.

Hotel Sunshine, my home for the next 18 nights and days proved to be simple and although a bit smoky, it was very clean, comfortable, and within a short walking distance to the studio. Mikki, who picked me up from the airport, helped me check in. She also helped me secure a non-smoking room (no non-smoking floors at this hotel) and then took me out to enjoy my first Asian dining experience in Korea where I happily traded my American fork and knife for chopsticks. Thanks to my love of sushi, I am actually pretty accomplished at using chopsticks. Sushi and chopsticks however, are where the dining familiarities ended.

While in Korea, I ate sushi, octopus (cooked and raw), Bimbimbap (one of my favorite dishes), truly traditional style large dumplings, BBQ, cold noodles, tofu and rice soups, and Korean pizza. At these meals, I took my shoes off and sat on the floor around a table, where flames and cooking bowls where set into the table as part of the amazingly and wonderful experience. Every meal comes with a multitude of side dishes – kimchi being the most common. Korean food is typically pretty spicy, but boy that dish really packed a punch and left me filling my chopsticks with rice. (I gained a renewed respect for Anna Gu, one of the studio owners while watching her eat large bites of this dish without batting or watering an eye!) For breakfast, I was in my comfort zone with eggs and toast, or a bagel and cream cheese – and yes, of course, my ever beloved coffee. I would have to be honest and say that all in all, breakfast proved to be my least favorite and most uneventful meal of the day.

After dinner on the first evening in Korea, Mikki and I walked to the studio where I was amazed to not see one single garbage can on the street or any familiar graffiti. When I later asked about the garbage cans, Mimi explained that in Korea you have to purchases specific bags for waste and that each area had its own color code. The bags are very expensive, and you have to dispose of your garbage in your home or office. I learned that this is why the streets are incredibly clean (I foolishly wonder if this could be done in New York?). A few blocks into our walk, I was confronted by a beautiful building boasting a very prominent sign on the third floor that said “New York Power Pilates”. I never felt more honored to be a Power Pilates Teacher Trainer than at that moment. Pilates is a very popular practice in Korea, but this is the first true Power studio there. Mikki spoke proudly of her training years ago in New York and reminded me that I was one of the Teacher Trainers who taught her. She told me that I was one of the Teacher Trainers that she had specifically requested. Wow – I was speechless. I re-assured her that I would do the best job possible for her and that her teachers in training would gain a solid understanding of the Power Pilates method as well as the art of how to teach. The studio proved to be as lovely as those who own it. With Joe’s photos on the walls, Basil’s familiar and exceptional equipment, the Power Pilates manuals and a Starbucks nearby, I set off on my journey with one goal in mind – to get everything I had to accomplish all done in 15 days . . . and to teach it well.

I spent the first three days teaching the Beginner Mat program. I had 7 students and as always, I spent the first evening working on memorizing their names. Okay, so no “Susans” or “Karens”, but onward I went. My students were: Youn Ho, Gia, Esther, Euna, Anna, Moon Sung, and Simona. Simona from Sicily by way of New Zealand was in fact my only truly English speaking student. Mimi, my interpreter, and I soon got into a wonderful rhythm – I spoke, she spoke, the students asked questions to me through her, I answered to them through her and “boy do I hope I get all of my syllabus in”. As worried as I was about completing everything on my syllabus, I actually had little trouble. I attribute this to the focus and preparedness of the students. They were respectful, attentive and focused and although serious about the work, they didn’t take themselves too seriously. They accepted my instruction as well as my feedback like sponges. That, coupled with Mimi’s interpreting skills, my passion, experience and energy (I have been compared to one who has the energy of three), fostered an environment that was positive, lively and yes, “fun”. On evening two of the Beginner Mat, my younger students insisted on taking “Lesly Teacher” out for dinner. They heard I was a fan of sushi so off we went into the forever humid, rainy air to the same Japanese restaurant that Mikki and I went to the on first night of my visit. I don’t think that any of us knew what we were eating and although conversation was a bit strained (where was Mimi then?), it was one of the most memorable nights of my trip to Korea.

Within the blink of an eye, we entered into the 12 day. Here, I had 7 students as well: Anna and Eunjung (2 of the studio owners), Gia, Esther, Euna, Simona, and Yoojin. Anna, Eunjung and Simona over time banded together as my three Bridge students. For them, the intensive was very appropriately named as they were to test-out with me on the last day. As the days wore on, so did the pressure but nonetheless they remained as focused and compassionate with each other as ever. Barring the brief stomachache that passed from Ana to Mimi to Esther to Eunjung, everyone continued to teach, learn, laugh, smile, eat and, of course, drink coffee for the next 12 days. By day 6, Mikki’s fingers had to be numb as she sat quietly like a fly on a wall taking her many pages of notes on my teaching.

I would periodically wonder how I would be able to complete my syllabus in the time allotted (slow careful wording and translation does take up more time), yet with small adjustments and a few extra minutes here and there, we succeeded. During the weekdays, we would begin at 5pm and finish at 11pm (which was actually morning for me in New York and as such, worked well). On Saturdays, the program started mid-day and went into early evening. Without a complaint from anyone, we worked our time to its fullest. With only a half hour for dinner and 10-15 minutes extra most nights to practice more and only one additional hour added to the program, we were able to (with interpretation time and all), get through the syllabus . . . and very thoroughly I have to say. (We don’t call it the “Intensive” for nothing).

On my one day off, Mikki and Mimi took me “sighting”. We went to the “DMZ” (the Demilitarized Zone – the border of South and North Korea). Neither Mikki nor Mimi had ever gone there and I was their excuse to see it. We walked through infiltration tunnels with Mimi and I hitting our heads (thank goodness for hardhats) and I took photos from way closer than I was allowed to. We then went to an artist’s Heaven – a spot where art museums and cafes lined the roads. After dining there, we returned to Seoul at 9pm after the very full and wonderful day.

I also took a tour myself (a half day tour from my hotel), to a Buddhist Temple, a Palace, and of course to a Ginseng Museum where I purchased my one gift for myself – Korean Ginseng. Other “sightings” I had were to a BBQ lunch and spa with Anna and to a Korean Street-market with Mimi and Simona. Both proved to be true Korean experiences. The street market was loaded with bargains and small kiosks where the real estate is ridiculously expensive. There were even small food stations amidst the closed in, cramped quarters of the underground imported section where Korean women were cooking items like dumplings and cold noodle soup. As busy as the market was, I was still able to score some great Korean made gifts to bring back to the states. Mimi and two of her friends also took me out to another wonderful Greenwich Village-like area for more shopping and eating. (Still no graffiti or garbage there either –actually, high school age girls there were singing about how to keep the public restrooms clean!) Also, I failed to mention that there is no tipping in Korea! I learned this when leaving a restaurant earlier in my stay and the waitress ran after me in the street with the money I had left on the table!

Even though my schedule was quite full, by day three I was beginning to miss my family. Thanks to the help of one of my instructors who set me up with Skype before I left, even I (a computer illiterate), could keep in touch very easily. Almost every day I spoke to someone back home either via Skype, email or cell phone. My daughter and I Skyped daily, twice a day. My three weeks in Korea flew by and being able to communicate with those back at home was what helped me carry on my tasks with clarity and focus.

All in all, it really was the teaching that was the most satisfying. Mimi wanted to make me happy on my trip to Korea, and she asked the New York office what I like to do. After a lot of thought, they all seemed to be in agreement – “Lesly likes to teach”. I have to say, they are right about that! I got as much as I gave this time around, possibly even more. The experience that I had with the students and the culture is one that I will cherish forever and remember for as long as I live. On our last day, in our last few moments, I told them what an honor and privilege it was to be part of their process. I say this to all of the apprentices I teach at the end of each weekend, but never did my words ring more true. With all of the challenges of our language and cultural differences, it is clear that Pilates transcended all of that. As my time there was ended and tears were flowed, I left confident that I achieved my goal. I taught them how to see the body in front of them, to teach with clarity, to sing the words of the Power Pilates method, and to make their students dance.

I miss my Korean family. Since returning to the States, I have already received four emails from my students back in Korea. I look forward to our continued communication and hearing about the progress they are making. With any luck, I will see them again in the near future . . . maybe next time in New York!

Until then, Bae Nukko Ol-ligo!

 


Lesly Levy

PMA_CPT, Senior Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates and VBARRE as well as former owner of Mindful Moves Pilates Center and current Director of Pilates and Pilates Programming for Apogee, has been professionally instructing within the fitness field for over 22 years. Lesly brings with her a vast knowledge of Anatomy, Kinesiology, injuries, injury prevention. Lesly obtained her first Pilates certificate from the PhysicalMind Institute, her second from Power Pilates and is Gold Certified with the PMA. She has presented at both ECA and PMA as well as is a regular presenter at Power Conferences in NYC and has traveled both within the US as well as internationally to teach Pilates Training Courses. Lesly is an ACE certified personal trainer (1992) and ACE Group fitness instructor (1993) with certifications from Mad Dog Spin, Yogafit, Indo Row, TRX, VBARRE and Beyond Barre and specialties of recognition in perinatal fitness. Lesly is a wife and mother of 2. In her spare time, enjoys skiing, going to the theatre and reading.

Pilates is For Real Men

Walk into any Pilates studio in America, or most Pilates mat classes taught in gyms, and you will find roughly the same demographic across the board; lots of women wearing nice workout clothes and a handful of men (if any) who find themselves in a wonderland of strange-looking equipment that is mostly laced with female DNA.


Pilates is For Real Men

Pwr: But why is this? Was a Pilates workout designed to help the female body more than

the male body? Are the exercises themselves a target for “female issues” and not so much the male problem areas?

For answers to these questions, we turned to senior-level Power Pilates Teacher Trainer and owner of Studio Lotus in Atlanta, GA, Davidson Reid.

DR: I would not only disagree with the statement that ‘Pilates is designed for women,’ I would go as far as to say it was specifically designed for men. A popular misconception is that Pilates is a dancer’s workout. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Joseph Pilates was a cigar-smoking German boxer and gymnast – and he developed the technique from that background.

Pwr: Why so many women and so few men? Why is this considered a “dancer’s workout”?

DR: Joseph came to the States in the 1920’s, reportedly to help train the famous German boxer Max Schmelling. He settled in New York and opened a studio. In those early days, most of his clients were men, many of them boxers, wrestlers and athletes of various sports. It was not until dance masters (Graham, Balanchine and others) discovered his work and encouraged their dancers to study with him that the dance world became involved in Pilates.

Pwr: Is this when the method changed?

DR: The method only changes by the teacher, but Joe’s classical method is based on his principles and it still is today. The influence of the dance community cannot be overstated. It changed the image of Pilates, but a true classical teacher of the method knows the principles and those principles were designed for men – real men.

Pwr: So what are those principles?

DR: The short answer – integrating core strength with breath work. Today, most men are a combination of tight shoulders, tight backs, tight hips and tight legs. The workouts they do focus on strengthening the peripheral parts of the body – with no foundation. Men’s arms and legs may look great, but they have reduced function because they are not connected to core strength, spinal mobility and breath. It is like trying to build a sprawling mansion on a poor foundation. We all know that house is going to have problems later. -Same for men today. Pilates recognized this a century ago and designed a method that would allow men to be even stronger as they built muscle and strength on a solid foundation.


Pwr: So it is clear that Pilates is for men, but how do you go about convincing men of this?

Pilates is For Real MenFor this answer we asked Jay Apking, owner of two Pilates studios and also a Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates.

JA: You really cannot convince men, the smart successful ones seek it out. The type of man who does Pilates is usually a successful man who is also very secure with who he is. He is not worried about what his friends think, he is worried about his current and future health and being the “best man” he can be. That is what made him successful to begin with.

Pwr: And this is an exception?

JA: The problem, again, goes back to perception. Many men have not tried it because they believe it is either all stretching or all breathing – nothing could be further from the truth. It is movement. Pilates finds weaknesses and makes them strengths – and by moving and incorporating breath and stretching when necessary. Ask the women – they will say the majority of the work is strength and stability.

Pwr: What about the men who practice Pilates?

JA: “Men who practice Pilates go in one of two directions – they either “see the light” and are clients for life or get intimidated by not being immediately successful and disappear. If a man comes in and stays for five sessions, he realizes the benefits and sticks with it. Again, that is a usually secure and successful guy. It is the knowledge that ‘I am investing in my future health’ that defines today’s male Pilates client.”

Pwr: Any motivational words for that tepid male of today?

Pilates is For Real Men JA: “I will give any man a free session and dare him to tell me it is not something he would see tremendous benefits from. Just try it – if nothing else, you can at least speak intelligently about it afterward. Not to mention – Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Demarcus Ware, Drew Brees and athletes from every sport – both men and women – are doing it for that competitive edge. If you don’t think it’s a man’s workout, you have some pretty strong dudes who would disagree.” Pwr: And with all those nice-looking women in the studio, why wouldn’t a man want to come in and try it? JA: “I honestly think that is why some men do come in. If they happen to get healthier and more stable because of it, great. Just keep in mind, you are there to do a Real Man’s Workout, so try and focus on what you are doing and not so much on the pretty ladies. They will be plenty impressed you were secure enough to walk in the door.”


Davidson Reid

Davidson ReidDavidson Reid has been studying Pilates for seventeen years as part of his dance training in Atlanta, New York, Europe and South Africa. After moving to New York to pursue a career in classical ballet, he began teaching Pilates at the Vailencourt Studio. Highlights of his career as a professional dancer include touring Europe with “West Side Story”, spending a year in South Africa performing “A Chorus Line”, and dancing with the Joffrey Ballet. In 1999, Davidson was certified in Power Pilates and worked with Phoebe Higgins at the

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Power Pilates center on East 57TH Street, NYC for two years. Davidson has worked with every range of physical ability, from competitive tri-athletes to those recovering from MS, muscular dystrophy, stroke, heart attack and fibromyalgia. Davidson’s deep belief in the Power Pilates system comes from seeing breakthrough results from his own diverse clientele. Davidson currently runs the Power Pilates affiliate training center in Atlanta, Georgia at Studio Lotus.


Jay Apking

Jay ApkingJay has been teaching Pilates since 1997. He is currently co-owner of BodyMind Balance in Cincinnati, OH and owner of Olympus Pilates in Knoxville, TN where he resides. His background includes golf and theatre. He was a member of the golf team at the University of Tennessee, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He is also the director of Great American Child, a company he founded, focusing on making children healthy, cultured and more well-rounded.

Mamapalooza

mamapalooza01A strong argument could be made that, although Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of summer,

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New Yorkers started their summer a weekend earlier this year, when gorgeous weather and outstanding daytime events took over the city that never sleeps.For the Power Pilates team, events meant Mamapalooza—an all-day family outing that’s been happening in Riverside park for nearly 10 years! We were thrilled to be the event’s fitness sponsor this year, and it’s safe to say that everyone (ages 2 to 80) had a blast!

mamapalooza02The growing organization aims to appreciate moms who rock—whether they’re career women, stay-at-home moms, or even rockstars! (The May 20th event featured several mom musicians). The NYC Parks department estimated an attendance of 6,000 at this year’s event, whose mission is “to provide opportunities for women artists and small business owners

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to interface with families, while accessing family services, free activities and fitness, all while celebrating our beautiful U.S. parks systems.” We had the pleasure of warming up the day with a group fitness class, highlighting our Chelsea studio’s newest modality, Sambarobix. This dance-inspired workout is spicy (like instructor Yxia) and got the crowd up and whittling their waists before noon! Pilates and Yoga demos also made it onto the docket.

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The entire team had a blast, and we love that we were able to support families and wellness, by sharing our favorite Classical Pilates moves and new techniques!
Happy summer everyone! Keep Moving!
Check out our photos and videos on our Facebook page!

Written by: Laura Burgess

Back to Balance – Get in Shape With Postnatal Pilates

Congratulations, you have a beautiful baby and most likely a body that can prove it. A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy. The uterus grows larger and causes your center of gravity to shift forward. This can make the muscles of the lower back, hip flexors and back of the neck tight. The extra weight of the breasts also leads to tight chest muscles, round shoulders and a tight neck. This leads to postural changes that often remain long after pregnancy. The altered posture leaves you vulnerable to an array of conditions, such as lower back and knee pain that were not present before conception. Changes in blood volume and other hormonal changes during pregnancy, as well as sleep deprivation after, cause fatigue. It should be no surprise that you may be left with less stamina after delivery than before. And of course, the most visible change in the body is most often in the abdominal area.

What Now?
Despite these physiological changes that leave a woman’s body in a very different state after pregnancy than before, you can regain your pre-pregnancy figure. But you’ll want to approach your workouts safely.

The presence of relaxin, a hormone present in the woman’s body from the moment of conception until 6 weeks after she stops nursing, causes connective tissue such as ligaments to soften, and therefore joints within the body to become hyper-mobile and therefore less supportive. Muscle tone is oft en decreased during pregnancy leading to an overstretched abdominal wall (or even Diastasis Recti, a separation of the abdominal muscles) and weak pelvic floor muscles, as well as sagging butt ocks, weak inner thighs and flabby arms.

A Targeted Approach
The Pilates method, created by Joseph Pilates, is not only safe, but also one of the most effective ways of toning the abdominals, back, buttocks and pelvic floor while increasing stamina and bringing the body back to overall muscular and postural balance. Pilates works the body from the inside out working from the corset of the body, the transverse abdominus (TVA), outward. The TVA is the deepest abdominal muscle and the most central muscle of the body. It is often referred to as the “powerhouse.” Anatomically, once the TVA is strong, it can then support the rest of the body both

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below and above the waist. Along with the TVA are the internal and external obliques and finally the rectus abdominus. All of these muscles become stronger with the practice of Pilates. The focus of the method is on controlled and continual movement from the center, the body is always in active motion. Pilates works the body from head to toe in a safe and effective way increasing the body’s stretch and strength, creating a more balanced physique, greater ease of movement and an overall more functional life.

A Word of Caution
Truly the Pilates method is unique and effective, but not all Pilates classes are created equal. That being said, the most important thing to do when considering your workout is to find a qualified instructor who has both experience and training from a reputable organization. You want to find someone who has had training from the most basic mat level all the way through the advanced apparatus (equipment) training (look for certificates hanging on walls and ask questions). A complete certification most often requires the instructor to go through 250 to 600 hours of training time learning the essence of the work, how to teach, as well as how to modify for special cases or conditions. There are also different schools of Pilates from classical (the way Joseph Pilates, the originator of the method, taught) to a more contemporary approach. Try several and see what works for you.

While mat classes can be effective, also consider working on the apparatus. The equipment Pilates developed is fun to work on and strengthens as well as challenges the body. The best place to start is with a private session (a one-on-one with an instructor). Although these can be a bit pricy, the benefits are worth the price tag. Once you are familiar with how to access your powerhouse and familiar with the exercises you can opt for a less expensive and the camaraderie of a semi-private session where the instructor will work with two to four students at once.

Remember above all, that the method of Pilates requires patience and is a practice. Consistency is the key. Joseph Pilates’ motto was to always bring your body, mind and spirit with you to each session. Let your spirit (efforts) lead you. Remember to do your homework, find a certified instructor or studio that houses a reputable program that you feel comfortable with and then relax and enjoy the journey. It is well worth the effort. ■

Lesly Levy is senior teacher trainer for Power Pilates and director of Pilates at Apogee Pilates and Wellness with locations in White Plains, Bedford Hills and New York City.

Originally Published by Westchester Magazine westchesterfamily.com
By: Lesly Levy