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.
“We hate to say this, but your mother was right: It’s important to stand up straight. Not only does this make you appear thinner and more attractive, it makes your feel more self-assured. In the Pilates mat class at BodyTonic, instructors lead you through exercises that isolate the abdominal and back muscles”
“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