Health & Fitness: Anyone who has tried Pilates can attest to what a different workout it is, while almost immediately rewarding. The muscles that are essential for skeletal support and stability to the body are strengthened and lifted, changing movement drastically. But the practice can be intimidating to tackle on your own. With all the New Year’s resolutions aimed at the body, it’s time to look at a new way to get into shape.
The benefits of Pilates are endless and span the breadth of the activities in your day-to-day life, changing your body and posture dramatically over time. “What you practice in Pilates you can take into everything you do, whether it’s sitting at a desk or running a marathon. It changes the way you move throughout the day,” says Clarissa Costa, instructor and owner of Clarissa’s Pilates Studio: a private, luxury studio in Venice, California which caters to a number of discerning and celebrity clientele looking for a more personal approach to fitness in a private setting.
Clarissa’s passion for exercise has always been present in her life, beginning with dance and gymnastics and progressing onto more outdoor sports like biking, hiking, snowboarding and wakeboarding. “The level to which you work and the results that are produced through the practice of Pilates are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced with other forms of exercise. I’ve had a gym membership and lifted weights, done cardio and practiced yoga for 10 years and none of it compares to the benefits I’ve gained through my own practice of Pilates.”
While in the privacy of Clarissa’s one-on-one studio, trying Pilates for the first time need not be an intimidating experience. With the full attention of a classically trained instructor, not to mention in the comfort of her intimate space, you will learn to form the posture and positioning ideal for achieving the best results. And this is where the attention of your instructor is important. Like any challenging exercise, doing the movements incorrectly can easily do as much harm as doing them correctly can do good.
“I would suggest to anyone who is beginning Pilates to start with at least a few private sessions with a well-trained, classical instructor, because for you to really get the full benefit of Pilates, you need to know how the movements are intended to be performed,” she explains. In Pilates, how you do the movements is just as, if not more, important than doing the movements themselves. Essentially, you’re retraining the body to move and perform as it is designed to. Something that’s not otherwise learned in ones life. The body has memory and with each Pilates session, you expand and deepen the body’s memory of its strength, flexibility, alignment, control, centering, precision, coordination, flowing movement and awareness.
While Pilates is not a new form of exercise by any means, it is still new to the average gym-hopper. But just like yoga became a phenomenon and widely practiced, Pilates is about to shake up the exercise world with its incredible capacity to initiate results and transform your body. Those lucky enough to be in the Los Angeles area will find a trip to Clarissa’s studio both rewarding and addictive as the results begin to show.
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