Back to Basics – Part 1 of The Series

June 23, 2008 at 8:01 pm 5 comments


Back to Basics is something we discuss and practice in Power Pilates all of the time.  I have the enormous luxury of revisiting the basics over and over again because I get to teach apprentices throughout the year.  I return to the foundation of Pilates constantly.  You can have this luxury, too!

Where do we begin with Back to the Basics?  How about with the obvious:  What is Pilates?

What is Pilates?  Let’s remember that first and foremost, Pilates is a person.  A man.  A German man, Joseph Hubertus Pilates.  We all can read about him on every website.  Every site states the same thing.  Everyone has copied and pasted the same material year after year.  But stop and think about who this man was and what he was about.  What if you were in his shoes?

If you grew up “sickly and weak” with rickets and asthma in a family who was all about health and fitness.  How would you feel?  Wouldn’t you feel small?  Wouldn’t you feel out of place?  Wouldn’t you feel like you didn’t belong?

Rickets.  Do you know what rickets is, even?  Rickets is a disease whose symptoms are weak/softened bones.  It comes from a lack of Calcium and Vitamin D.  It comes from malnutrition.  That’s so interesting to me.  His mother was a naturopath.  His father a body builder.  How did this child develop rickets?  Often times, children who are breastfed by mothers who are not outside enough develop rickets because it is Vitamin D that helps us absorb Calcium.

Asthma.  It’s a common problem these days because of all of our pollution.  Was it common back then?  I bet with coal and wood as the main sources of energy it was.

So…weak bones, weak respiration…Joseph Pilates had to create something that cured himself.


“Contrology” is what Mr. Pilates called what we now call “Pilates”.  The study, the art, the science of Control.  A child felt as though everything was out of control.  A man created Contrology.

When I consider Classical Pilates with this germination…everything is clear.  Pilates is about the balance of stability, strength, stretch, stamina…it’s all very clear.

How will you look at the breath in Pilates?  Will you work your exhale completely?  If you do, then you will work in to your clear your lungs of “stale air” and allow for more fresh air to enter.  Oxygenate your body and increase your health, your stamina, your strength.

How will you use your limbs and incorporate them in to the torso?  Will you remember that great strength comes from the torso and from there your limbs will develop.  No exercise is just an arm or leg exercise.  Every exercise is full body with the focus on the torso/core/Powerhouse.

Will you work for balance?  Balance of body and mind?

Will you work to increase stamina?

Will you work with Mr. Pilates’ intention?  If you do, then you will find the work with appropriate effort in the appropriate place in your teaching and in your practice.  Why waste your effort?  Be efficient.  This knowledge aids your efficiency.

This is a multi-part series:  Back to Basics.  I will build this from week to week.  One basic thought at a time.  Now, please consider this basic knowledge of the beginnings of Pilates.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Half Effort is Wasted Effort Back to Basics – Part 2 – Would Mr. Pilates Recognize That Exercise?

5 Comments Add your own

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Sessions via Skype

Would you like to do a workout, question/answer or mini-workshop session with Shari? Each week, Shari works with teachers all over the world via Skype. Email Shari at

Workshop Download – The Music of Pilates

Buy, Info, FREE Sample


Full info listed under “Workshop Calendar” at

EVERY DAY at your home:
The Music of Pilates

March 18 Webinar (with recording)

April 15 New York City, NY
27-29 Colorado Springs, CO

May 11-13 Seville, SPAIN
19-20 Atlanta, GA

June 22-24 Rio de Janeiro, BRASIL
16 Paris, FRANCE

July 20-22 New Orleans, LA

Aug 10-12 Boston, MA

Sept 21-23 Istanbul, TURKEY

Oct 12-14 Chicago, IL

Nov 2-4 Austin, TX

Dec 7-9 Venice, ITALY


(more soon to be posted with work online, recorded and in person)

EVERY DAY at your home:
The Music of Pilates

The Vertical Workshop

The Vertical Workshop Pilates

%d bloggers like this: