A no-gym summer shape-up

Pilates in actionSummer is the time to tone-up. It is never too late to get in shape. If you have been putting off starting an exercise program because you don’t like traditional gyms and workouts, you may want to try Pilates and Gyrotronics. Both are popular with celebrities because they build strength and flexibility without adding bulk.  

Pilates and Gyrotronics are taught in serene studios, not gyms that may turn you off if you are fitness-phobic, or have an aversion to the “meat-market atmosphere” in many mass-market gyms.
 
Since Joseph Pilates first invented Pilates in the 1920s, many different styles have evolved. Choose carefully to find the best one for you. With a good teacher you should progress quickly.
 
Both Pilates and Gyrotronics will rejuvenate your mind while reshaping your body. I have become addicted to my Pilates class. Both methods have a reputation for being pricey, but small, group classes make it affordable.
 
Curious? Then read on, as expert instructors Shelly Ruggiano and Jolayne Berg from Core Atlanta Pilates and Gyrotronics Studio give us the 411 on these fabulous ways to get into shape.
 
Shelly Ruggiano is an instructor at Core Atlanta Pilates and Gyrotronics Studio.
 
DD: Can anyone do Pilates?
SR:  Absolutely yes! Pilates accomplishes complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. According to Joseph Pilates through practice, "you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities."  
 
DD: What is a reformer and what is its purpose?
SR:  A reformer is a long piece of equipment that you can lay, sit, or stand on, with a base for your body, and a foot bar for your hands and feet.  It has a moving "carriage" base and is spring loaded.  The spring settings change with the exercise.  The purpose of a reformer is basically the same as the purpose for practicing the Pilates method. 
 
DD:  What are the tower and the chair in Pilates?
SR: They are pieces of equipment designed by Joseph Pilates and used in the studio. The Tower is used for mat work; there are springs plus resistance bars attached to two upright poles that are anchored into the wall.  There are hundreds of exercises available to be performed on the tower. The Wunda Chair is a small spring-loaded "chair” designed by Joseph Pilates. He patterned it after a training apparatus used by the Chinese to train their gymnasts. He designed it so it would fit into a small New York apartment. It also offers resistance while performing much exercise.
 
DD: Does the practice of Pilates always require equipment? What is a “mat class”?
SR:  No, actually the original form of Pilates is mat work, it was originally called "Contrology". A mat class is a series of exercises, all with names, that flow from one to the other and in a particular order.  The spine is flexed, extended and twisted and the "powerhouse” or “core’ is actively engaged and challenged.  
 
DD: What makes Pilates different from other forms of exercise?
SR: Pilates focuses on the mind-body connection.  We start from the inside-out, beginning mainly with pelvic stability.  Emphasis is placed on centering and stabilization, control, concentration, flow of movement, breath, and precision. The results from Pilates are incredible; you’ll increase strength, stamina, coordination and range of motion. You’ll be rejuvenated due to the deep breathing and continual motion. You’ll improve your posture and overall mental and physical state.
 
DD: How long does it take to see results if you are trying to reshape your body?
SR: There’s a famous quote from Joseph Pilates that states, "In 10 sessions you’ll feel a difference, in 20 you’ll see a difference, in 30 you’ll have a whole new body." Consistency and frequency, as in any exercise method, are key to reaping the numerous benefits of Pilates!
 
Joylane Berg is Gryrotronic instructor at Core Atlanta Pilates and Gyrotronics studio.

DD: What is Gyrotonic? 
JB: Gyrotonic is a unique form of exercise that conditions the body in a very complete, holistic way.  It is a machine-based system that centers around movement of the spine – moving it in all possible ways. In fact, it is often described as different
than Pilates primarily because of that element – the spherical/circular movement it encourages in the body.  The movement is also "Core" based. It simultaneously strengthens and stretches the body. It has a strong focus on breath work, creates suppleness and space in the joints, and often leaves one with a feeling of mental alertness, physical readiness, and a feeling of being energized, yet calm.

DD: What is Gyrokinesis? 

JB: Gyrokinesis is basically the mat version of Gyrotonic.  It starts on a stool, and eventually goes to floor work. Rhythm and breath is used throughout the class.
Without machines, it requires the body to both work with itself and create an internal opposition, so that it can achieve more opening, length, and strength.

DD: Who can benefit from Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis? 

JB: Everyone!  If there are severe injuries or limitations, it is always recommended to take a private session, rather than a group Gyrokinesis class.

DD: What are the benefits? 

JB: Well, this is always going to vary from individual to individual, as each body is unique.  But, some of the benefits experienced by people include: increased hand/eye coordination, a deeper sense off the body awareness, strength, suppleness, increased range of motion, decreased or total recovery from pain, empowerment, balance, and increased body length.

DD: How long does it take to see results? 

JB: Again, going to vary from person to person, depending on how often it is practiced, and taking in to consideration that everyone has different starting points.  It should feel good in the first session, and often becomes quite addictive. That is definitely a plus when wanting to take on a new discipline!

DD: Are Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis often practiced with other types of fitness? 

JB: Yes, and no.  At our studio, we teach both Pilates and Gyro, and many of our clients incorporate both into their exercise regimens. While they compliment each other well, it is not necessary to combine the two.  Certainly though, whatever else you are doing physically, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis will only enhance those things!
 
For more information www.coreatl.com
 
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