Tue, 21 July 2009
Dictionary.com defines Pilates as “a method of physical and mental exercise involving stretches and breathing that focus on strengthening the abdominal core.” Jay Grimes, a leading authority and practitioner of Pilates was recently in town for a day of teaching. We caught up with Jay and talked with him about Pilates.
With more than 40 years of Pilates experience, Jay got his start in pilates by training with Joseph Pilates during the last few years of Joseph’s life, and then with Joseph’s wife Clara following Joseph’s death. A professional dancer for eighteen years, Jay attributes his injury free dancing career to pilates. Jay compares the idea of a well tuned body with a wonderfully maintained musical instrument – if an instrument is tuned and in good working order it can be used to play any type or style of music well. Our body is the same way, according to Jay – a well tuned body doesn’t care if it’s bowling or dancing ballet.
Everything in pilates is based on everyday movement, and fine tuning the body so that every move made is a constructive exercise – even simple things like getting in and out of the car, or walking across the kitchen. The benefits of pilates are numerous and include:
• Supports an overall good and healthy body
An initial pilates session or two often seems deceptively simple, as the journey to pilates mastery is incredibly long. To “get pilates into the body” Jay believes a master might only need three- to five years, while the average person might need somewhere between eight- and ten years. In Jay’s opinion, there are benefits to be gained in the journey.
Despite the difficulty of the discipline, there’s very little oversight in the business, and teaches have as little as a few months of experience up to several decades of learning. Donna Fisher, the head pilates instructor at Cooper Fitness Center, has been practicing and teaching for 18 years, and says she was humbled to learn under Jay for a day. And Jay, after 45 years of experience, says there’s always room for improvement and he still considers himself a student. When looking for an instructor, it’s important to do our homework and ask lots of questions. Jay suggests we start with:
• What kind of training does the teacher have?
For the pilates aficionado, Jay’s believes three weekly sessions of 30 minutes are enough time for someone to maintain and keep their body in tune.
Weekly group mat Pilates classes are offered free to Cooper Fitness Center members - http://www.cooperaerobics.com/For-Individuals/PersonalFitness/Preston-Road-Dallas/Pilates.aspx
Donna Fisher, Cooper Fitness Center Pilates program director – 972-233-4832, ext 4423 - http://www.cooperaerobics.com/For-Individuals/PersonalFitness/Preston-Road-Dallas/Pilates.aspx