What is pilates?

Pilates is a form of strengthening and conditioning the muscles around the joints. It is designed to not only target the superficial muscles of the body, but the deep intrinsic muscle fibers of the core.

Brooke Taylor is a certified STOTT PILATES ® Instructor Trainer certifying new instructors nationally and internationally. As a highly trained expert and course instructor she teaches various workshops on anatomy, postural analysis, and corrective exercise training. Through her knowledge of STOTT PILATES ® she has been able to design safe and effective programs for her clients based on their individualistic needs and goals.

How did it originate?

Joseph Pilates (1880-1967) a native of Germany was the founder and creator of “Pilates.” His father was an award winning gymnast from Greece and his mother was a German naturopath who believed that the body should heal itself naturally utilizing the connection of the mind and body. As a child Joseph Pilates was afflicted with asthma, rickets, rheumatic fever and was looked down upon by his peers. He used his disadvantages to overcome his physical challenges and self-educated himself in anatomy, bodybuilding, wrestling, yoga, meditation. By the age of 14 he was already an accomplished skier, diver, and gymnast and he emerged into this Adonis like “Anatomical Ideal.” He believed that our poor habits, bad posture, and ailments were a direct correlation from our modern day lifestyle that we created and led to poor health.

In 1912 Joseph was touring England as a professional boxer, circus performer, while teaching self-defense to the Scotland Police Force. During this World War I broke out and he among others interned at the Isle of Man. Joseph was determined to keep his patients in the best physical condition possible by keeping them mentally and physically active by participating in daily exercises. However, due to the poor health conditions in the camps and the fact that many soldiers were too weak to leave their beds Joseph had to get creative. As a result he took the springs from the beds and attached them to the head and footboards to help soldiers maneuver themselves. This was obviously the start of the equipment based exercises that have since then continued to evolve.

In 1918 when the Great flu epidemic broke out it did not go unnoticed that even in less than perfect health conditions all of Joseph’s soldiers had survived. When he returned to Germany in 1926 Kaiser wanted him to train the German Secret Police force. It was then Joseph decided to immigrate to America and opened his own studio in NYC with Clara, his wife. Since then Pilates has continued to evolve.

“The Contemporary Approach”

STOTT PILATES ® one of the leading brands in fitness today was co-founded by Lindsay and Moira Merrithew along with a team of fitness professionals, medical practitioners, and physical therapists. Moira, a native of Canada, was formerly a professional dancer who studied extensively under Romana Kryzanowska, one of Joseph Pilates students. She made it her mission to “contemporize Joseph Pilates original approach of exercise by enhancing them with today’s knowledge of body mechanics and athletic performance enhancement.” Through a collective team of trained experts MERRITHEW INTERNATIONAL created a system that is anatomically based and is continually evolving and being updated in accordance with modern biomechanics. There is more of an emphasis on spinal positioning and rehabilitation bringing a central focus on the restoration of the natural curves of the spine by working in what we refer to as “anatomical neutral.” This is the most shock absorbing position the body can be in, whereas Joseph believed the spine should be flat. Shoulder girdle movement and stabilization exercises were also created, breath pattern was changed, and exercises were broken down into various levels to accommodate to all levels of skill and movement. STOTT PILATES ® also focuses on how we can modify each exercise so that we can address the specific needs of each and every client based on their postural deviations and muscular imbalances. This is why this form of exercises is often referred to as “intelligent exercise.” It requires a connection between the mind and body in order to achieve optimal functioning with ease and control.

What are the benefits of doing STOTT PILATES?

  • It develops longer, leaner muscles
  • Improves postural problems and increases core strength
  • Stability and peripheral mobility
  • Helps prevent injury
  • Heightens body awareness
  • Increases Range of Motion and Flexibility around the Joints
  • No impact and is easy on the Joints
  • Targets the muscles from the Inside Out
  • Aids in Athletic Performance

Why do you believe in this method of training?

I am often asked why I believe in this modality of training and to be honest I feel as though the work and knowledge speaks for itself. I have been very lucky to work with people of all walks of life. Some with fused vertebrae, others with slipped discs, sciatica, limited range of motion, breast cancer survivors, etc. This method of training has enabled me to help them move freer and gain stability around the joints so that they are able to function at an optimal level without pain. The feeling that you get when you know you have had impact on their life is incredible. These are some of the most rewarding individuals to work with. It is amazing to watch them continue to learn about their bodies and understand the essence of the exercises and how to avoid the onset of future injuries. Personally, nothing is more gratifying than when they leave a session with you feeling better with a smile on their face.


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