Prenatal Pilates at Purely Pilates Center

“My favorite thing about Pilates is how energized and relaxed I feel after finishing a workout. I also love to see how Pilates has helped me progress and advance in other fitness activities,” said Amanda. “Pilates has significantly helped my posture and helped my body feel more balanced throughout the day. Before Pilates, I would often sleep unsettled and wake with pains in my neck and back. I've noticed huge improvements since my journey with Pilates has begun.”

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the ELDOA Method

ELDOA: Groundbreaking exercise technique for back pain, disc bulges, and spinal pathologies.

Joseph Pilates once said “Change happens through movement and movement heals”.  Thanks to the contributions of another visionary, Guy Voyer, DO, we now have a better shot at pinpointing the right movement, with the right force, in the right location..........

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Pilates Has Heart


On his way home from work one day in April 2013, Justin Elliott was shot in the head by an unknown assailant, a tragic event that claimed his eyesight and forever changed the course of his life.  Many months of hospitalization and over a dozen surgeries to his facial bones left him considerably weakened.  But today he’s visiting Purely Pilates Center and sitting patiently for an interview, following a tough workout.  Justin tells us, “I was always a strong guy, but (afterwards) I had none of this (points to his core).  I couldn’t do a sit up.”

As fate would have it, Justin’s next door neighbor just happens to be pilates instructor Nicole Lockhart.  Nicole said, “My first thought was ‘he needs pilates’.  Of course!”.  (And we all giggle).

Luckily, Nicole persisted and eventually got Justin into the pilates studio.  Nicole says the process of working with Justin revealed much about her own teaching style.  Since Justin had no idea what pilates was (he researched it after Nicole had already roped him in) he relied on touch in the early stages.  Nicole would perform a movement, and with his dad’s help, Justin would feel the position of her hand on the footbar, foot against the box, and so on. 

In a discussion with Justin and Mike, Justin’s dad, they revealed that traditional physical therapy, while useful in initial stages of injury, gave them a few exercises whereas pilates gave Justin a sense of well-being, overall strength, better mobility and balance.  In spending an hour watching him work, it is clear he is a man on a mission.  He listens with intensity and puts his best effort forward.  As he works up a sweat, Nicole gives a string of verbal cues that would make most folks dizzy.  Justin says that as long has he knows all the steps ahead of time, he feels comfortable to keep moving. And move he does!  This workout is no joke.  Many of the movements would be a challenge to someone with full eyesight.

Nicole says that Justin is actually one of the easiest people to work with because of his keen listening skills and his willingness to trust the process. 

Getting back to his former strength is clearly a high priority.  Justin, who is now a motivational speaker at local colleges, says that his message is simple: you can focus on your limitations, or you can accept what IS and go forward from there.  He’s aware of a common thread, which is that everyone has limitations, it’s what you do with them that counts.

Pilates Springboard for the Tennis Athlete

 Sarah, high school athlete, practicing forehand.

Sarah, high school athlete, practicing forehand.

The reason I love working on the springboard with my athletes is because of the flexibility it gives me to adjust the spring height to the appropriate height of my client.  Pictured is Sarah, tennis player, practicing her forehand.  Using the springboard to practice both forehand and backhand shots allows Sarah to simulate swinging her tennis racket while perfecting her footwork, engaging her core muscles and strengthening her swing.  It doesn't matter what sport you play, if you use your arms, legs and core while playing, the springboard is one piece of equipment you want to use on a regular basis. 

Written by Nicole Lockhart, Certified Pilates Instructor. 

3 Important Questions to ask your Pilates Instructor

Nowadays it seems there is a new fitness boutique on every corner.  Unfortunately, the term Pilates in the name of a business is often misleading.  More than a few places that say they offer Pilates actually borrow the phrase for marketing.  Terms like "pilates inspired" indicate that their method has very little to do with the real thing.  Pilates (the real deal) consists of hundreds of unique exercises with very specific names, performed on pilates equipment and/or the floor, executed in a sequence designed to create muscle balance and overall health.  Not that other exercise methods aren't capable of working beautifully, it's just that actual pilates is a method like no other.  And when it's done well, it yields results that are deeply felt in body and mind.  So how can you tell the difference? 

Here's are 3 questions to ask your Instructor:

1. Where did you acquire certification?

A nationally recognized certification requires upwards of 450 hours of coursework, including thorough study of the muscles and their function, and how to modify for injuries.   There is no weekend-long course that provides an education on all the equipment (with 500+ detailed movements); that would be impossible!  And if the answer is "no certification at all", run for the hills!  Would you hire a personal trainer or massage therapist with no credentials?  Probably not.

2. How can you help me reach my goals?

A great instructor will be able to select exercises for you based on your goals, body style, sport, and dozens of other factors.  She (or he) will likely give you a mouthful (and not shut up) if you let them.  We assume anyone who undertakes training with an instructor has a goal in mind, and a skilled trainer will have a road map to meeting that goal.  Pilates is designed to be customized, not "one size fits all".  

3. Who is in your referral network?

A savvy instructor knows where her (or his) skill set ends and when to refer to another professional.  Pilates clients often arrive at pilates when injuries and health conditions leave them unable to do what they love.  Certified instructors have the training to spot an impending back problem, and they know when that achy knee needs a pro opinion.  There is a reason physical therapists and chiropractors refer to pilates studios.  Truly ethical instructors are driven by the love of pilates and the health of their clients, not a paycheck.  And a good business that offers "real pilates" would expect nothing less.

written by Stephanie Evans/ Dec 18, 2015