What is Pilates Anyway?

Pilates is for everyone. That’s right, pretty much anyone, with certain modifications, can do Pilates. From the person recovering from a prolonged illness or long stretch of inactivity, to the elite athlete, Pilates has something to offer all sizes, genders, and fitness levels. In fact, it is a great entry point to increased activity. It teaches proper body position and form, so it is a great way to begin your journey to a more fit life.

Pilates is a method of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates (thus, the name) almost a hundred years ago. He called it “Contrology” because the essence of all of the exercises is control. Holding one part of the body stable while moving another part with control. His theory, at that time, was that modern life with its inactivity was leading to illness and poor physical conditioning. Thus, why it’s around almost 100 years later!

What is a mat Pilates class like?

Well, above all, hopefully it is fun! If you look in at a class, it looks pretty harmless. A lot of the time is spent laying on the mat. Movements are slow and controlled. Every move, however, is combining breath, core control, balance, and fluid movement. It’s a lot like trying to pat your head and rub your tummy. I tell people it takes about 6 classes before you feel like you are really starting to get it. Learning Pilates cultivates patience!

What do you get out of it?

  • Improved core conditioning. And by core, we mean abdominals in the front, deep back muscles, pelvic floor, and diaphragm.
  • Improved mobility. Flexibility + Strength = Mobility.
  • Long-lasting function. The goal of the practice is to get, and keep, people as mobile as possible for as long as possible.
  • Improved endurance. A study published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in March 2010 found that in active middle-aged men and women, basic mat Pilates moves practiced twice weekly for 60 minutes, for 12 weeks, showed statistically significant increases in “abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, and upper body muscular endurance.”
  • Maintenance of spine health
  • Prevention of injuries for those who participate in dance, athletic or outdoor pursuits.
  • Improved body composition as you build muscle.

How is it different from yoga?

Yoga and Pilates are cousins. They are both mind-body forms of exercise. Both are low impact and will increase flexibility.  Yoga asana practice has a slightly different breath-movement relationship and may include more held postures as well as breathing practices, guided relaxation, meditation, sound and  other techniques.  Pilates was invented as an “exercise” and focuses on controlled fluid movement. Pilates is also very spine focused and the exercises should not have neck extension.

Pilates mats are also much thicker, as there is a lot of spinal articulation during classes and a thicker mat provides more comfort. The only way to truly know what Pilates is like, however, is to come to a class. Just let your instructor know beforehand if you have any history of injuries, or limitations of movement.

Pilates Reformer

Experience better balance, increased strength and flexibility, and total muscle conditioning with emphasis on strengthening the core. This form of exercise is suitable for a wide variety of clients, from rehabilitation (after clearance by a medical professional) to pro athlete, due to the qualities that it is no impact and allows for many modifications (including ones that make the exercises more challenging). There is a prerequisite of 3-5 private sessions, minimum, prior to entering a group reformer class. Please ask about our “Reformer class entry package” for huge savings over the cost of regular private sessions. Classes require a Pilates Class Pass. Enrollment opens for each class 90 days before the class. A wait-list of 4 is available if the class is full. 24 hour notice is required for cancellation.

Pilates Mat

Beginner and Intermediate Level

Improve core conditioning, flexibility, strength, and endurance to achieve optimal mobility through consistent practice. Gain enhanced body awareness and spinal alignment which will lead to improved body function in daily life and prevention of injury. Core conditioning includes essential muscles for back health including abdominals in the front, deep back muscles, pelvic floor, and diaphragm. Feel a sense of community and enjoy yourself!

Pilates Instructors at 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness

Click on the links below to learn more about Jeanna! Contact 5 Koshas Yoga & Wellness for more information on classes and private sessions.


 Jeanna Hardesty, Trained in Classical Pilates