OWNER/DIRECTOR, BODYTONIC PILATES GYMNASIUM
Few teachers represent the Pilates community as truthfully and fearlessly as Jennifer DeLuca. She is the Founder, Director and CEO of BodyTonic, Inc., and a fierce advocate for preserving the legacy of Joseph H. Pilates. As a second generation Pilates teacher, certified through Romana Kryzanowska in 1996, she is part of an elite and historic lineage. A native New Yorker, hailing originally from Queens, then Manhattan and now Brooklyn, Jennifer infamously avoids artifice and gimmick and is considered to be one of the most trusted and gifted mentors of the Pilates vanguard. Jennifer is a lifelong student of movement, anatomy and all things related to the body. She has training in dance through New York's prestigious High School for the Performing Arts and NYU, holds a yoga certification from the renown Cyndi Lee of OMyoga, has studied floor barre with the one and only Zena Rommett, as well as Anatomy and Kinesiology with Andre Bernard at NYU, Kinesthetic Anatomy with Irene Dowd and further Pilates Training with Roxanne Richards-Huang, Lesley Powell, Bob Liekens, and Enja Schenck.
Jennifer understands that when you walk into her studio and drop hundreds of dollars to study Pilates that you are serious and that you give a damn. Her greatest honor is that you have chosen BodyTonic Pilates Gymnasium to make a transformation. The teachers at BodyTonic are the fortunate few that you have entrusted with your goal and Jennifer and her staff will do everything possible to meet you at this incredibly exciting place in your life. Your choice to focus on your health and your body inspires her every day and has done so since she opened BodyTonic in 1999.
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Rather than picking one workout over the other, DeLuca suggests doing both. “Between the two practices you balance strength and flexibility in a healthy way,” she says. Strengthening your core in Pilates class will give you better balance in yoga; increasing your flexibility in yoga class will enable you to move bigger and deeper in Pilates. Plus, says DeLuca, any form of exercise has a point of diminishing returns: Get too flexible without the strength to support it, and you might get injured; develop a lot of strength without taking the time to stretch, and you'll also set yourself up for problems. “Where Pilates draws in, yoga opens up,” says DeLuca. “It's a balance.”
“There’s no mind-body connection whatsoever, and Joe wouldn’t have ever wanted music,” she said. “It just looks like a very industrious lady working to make a career for herself. I’m sure what she’s doing creates really tight butts, and a lot of people want tight butts, but to call it Pilates is a stretch.” (No pun intended, surely.)
Decades after his death, an estimated 12 million people practice Pilates each year. And while Pilates instructors today have grown accustomed to wearing workout tanks and leggings during classes, many still practice what they consider to be his original method, such as Jennifer DeLuca,Brett Howard, and Mari Winsor. While their studios may base their instruction on his original methods, others have used his signature moves as a jumping off point for modern Pilates variations, like Kinected in New York and Karen Schwalbe-Jones at Harmony in Los Angeles.
Pilates in New York isn’t about the studios, it’s about the gurus—the posture-perfect instructors who teach us how to activate our cores, breath correctly, and align our shoulders over hips over knees with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. Many of the city’s top Pilates teachers today were trained by Joseph Pilates’ protege, Romana Kryzanowska. And each of these leaders carries a profound respect for the classical movements, while adding his or her own vision, flair, or expertise to create a slew of nuanced approaches. And in a town where 12-pound handbags and chronic desk slump can create a culture in need of postural correction, let’s just say these anatomy-obsessed professionals are pretty busy. Here, we introduce you to New York’s ten Pilates gurus…
Pilates, the sometimes-doctrinaire core fitness program developed by German fitness enthusiast Joseph Pilates, reinterpreted for the exercise-wary if not downright fitness-resistant. Pilates for Wimps (Sterling Publishing, 2003) uses humor and reverse psychology to try to win over the unconverted. One criterion for determining whether you’re a wimp, offered by author Jennifer DeLuca.
“It may seem counterintuitive, but to create symmetry in your body you must train occasionally your right and left sides independently. According to Jennifer DeLuca, owner of the Brooklyn, New York, BodyTonic Pilates Gymnasium, the Wunda Chair is the perfect apparatus for evening out the body’s imbalances.” -Pilates Style Magazine, September 2001
“The FitBall is the absolute best thing that can happen to your abs, says Jennifer DeLuca, owner of BodyTonic fitness studio in Brooklyn. The following workout requires just 30 reps.”