Challenging. Inspiring. Empowering.
These are the first three words that come to mind when I think of Pilates.
Think about it: Pilates serves as a single exercise system for coordinating the body, mind, and spirit. Whether you want to exercise mindfulness, reduce signs of aging, build strength, or improve posture and flexibility, Pilates will enliven your spirit, boost your confidence, and allow you to create the body you’ve always envisioned for yourself.
It plays a key part in my overall wellness regimen and has greatly transformed my body and life. And as an added bonus, it’ll help you sculpt a longer, leaner look as well. Before we dive into where you can sign up for a class, let’s go over some basics.
What’s The Origin of Pilates?
One determined little boy, Joseph H. Pilates, is the brains behind the invention of Pilates. The German-born fitness enthusiast suffered from a number of ailments as a child, like asthma, rheumatic fever, and rickets. While his body was rather frail, deteriorating from the physical challenges he faced, Joseph was intent on overcoming his sickly condition.
He studied everything from Jiu-Jitsu and boxing to gymnastics and body-building. By integrating isometric resistance work with some of yoga’s main principles, he devised his own series of training and exercise techniques – going as far as engineering the movements, equipment, and methodology needed to teach the discipline to others. By performing breathing techniques in tandem with specific physical practices, he was able to significantly improve his health and physique.
He developed this extensive system of exercise, which he dubbed “Contrology,” while imprisoned in a WW1 internment camp - studying yoga, animal movements, and training his fellow inmates. Some of the earliest uses of Pilates include the rehabilitation of veterans who were injured during battle.
Little did he know that his teachings would eventually incite a global revolution – permanently transforming the face of fitness.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is all about controlling the mind, strengthening the core, supporting the spine, and balancing the body. By teaching breathing exercises in conjunction with physical movements, Pilates literally helps you to stand taller – effectively raising your self-esteem. Nothing has taken a toll on our psychological health more than all the events that have transpired so far in 2020.
Many of us feel like the flame that lights our spirit has been blown out. But, the truth is, your inner light is still shining, it’s just a bit dimmer. After a single Pilates class, you’ll feel taller, stronger, and a renewed sense of confidence (which, let’s be honest, we could all use a dose of right about now). Whatever your fitness goals may be, check out these popular Pilates classes and enjoy a killer workout session.
Top 10 Pilates Classes in San Francisco, CA
After undergoing a breathtaking renovation a few years back, MNTStudio (which stands for Move, Nourish, Transform), provides a number of different classes to choose from. From traditional mat Pilates to their Restorative Reformer class, which places a focus on longer stretches and holds, MNTStudio instructors are incredibly hands-on, ensuring participants are engaging their core while using the correct form.
9. Pilates ProWorks
Source: Pilates ProWorks
With several locations throughout the Bay Area, Pilates ProWorks was founded by husband and wife duo, Oscar Sanin and Taylor Carter, after Oscar sustained some serious injuries. The classes are fast-paced, so prepared to kick it into high gear and sweat all class long. The cardio and strength combination of these workouts are a great way to exercise smarter and more efficiently. The studio offers an abridged 40-minute class for those who are hard-pressed for time, as well as fusion classes, like Tone and Flow and Mat Box, which incorporate other exercise methods, including boxing, yoga, and HIIT.
8. The Pilates Reformation
Balance, strength, and endurance are the name of the game at The Pilates Reformation. Whether you want to rock a pair of sexy new stilettos or simply be able to balance on one leg, these classes are designed to help everyone achieve their fitness goals. You could be recovering from an injury or training for a 5K - either way, you’ll get to work multiple muscle groups while challenging yourself to build up your strength.
7. Pirate Pilates
Ahoy, Maties! Training since 2007, Owner and Instructor Lisa Liles offers a cozy space for participants to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The class has three convertible tower reformers, used to spice up the traditional Pilates workout by adding more compound movements to the mix. This optimizes the number of muscle groups you’re targeting and strengthening at any given time. The classes are fun and the aesthetic of the space uses decor meant to emphasize the pirate theme.
6. Simply Balanced
This small, quiet studio on California Street focuses on improving the body’s natural function and strength while improving participants’ quality of life. One of the instructors, Susan Himes-Powers, offers traditional, gentle mat classes. The goal of her hour-long workout is to leverage slow movements, stretching, and foam rollers to enhance flexibility and elongate the body. While other classes are available, this is the perfect space for those looking to loosen up the body, rehabilitate an injury, and build muscle mass.
#GetSalty is the motto at RockSalt, which fuses traditional Pilates with resistance training, cardio, weights, and, of course, some upbeat jamz to get you pumped up. This full-body workout is a great way to kick your fitness goals into high-gear. Expect to walk out with your legs shaking and arms burning (in a good way). Instructors place an emphasis on improving flexibility, range of motion, muscle strength, and calorie burn.
Want another way to rev up your heart rate?Core40’s 40-minute reformer class will have you sweating in no time. Their challenging, yet rewarding, classes leverage a type of Pilates known as the Lagree Fitness Method. Using slow movements and core engagement, this resistance-based workout is high intensity, low impact for fast and effective results. Their motto is to build a strong mind and body, so you can live the lifestyle you deserve.
3. Mighty Pilates
Mighty’s mission is to energize and inspire. The classes fuse classical Pilates with top-notch equipment to help participants build foundation and technique - regardless of experience. There is no shortage of opportunities to tone, strengthen, and get fit at Mighty Pilates, who will show you how to get started, how to prep, and what you can expect from their fitness programs.
2. Body Chemistry Studio
Recharge your body and focus your mind with Body Chemistry’s Pilates conditioning system. With an emphasis on breathing techniques, strengthening the core, spinal alignment, and improving balance, Body Chemistry Studio will help you build flexibility and improve muscle tone. The studio is also home to The Gyrotonic Expansion System®, which uses circular movements and exercises aimed at improving joint range of motion without compression.
1. Let’s Start Pilates
Taught by certified Pilates teacher, Hande Gultepe, Let’s Start Pilates helps women maximize muscle strength, exercise mindfulness, improve happiness, and achieve healthier lifestyles. Hande’s motto is to achieve your fitness goals without the need for excessive exercise, quick fixes, or signing up for another fad diet plan. Instead, she guides her students towards an internal and external transformation through self-care, low impact movements, and exercises aimed at creating a long, lean, toned look – without the bulk.
The best part? You can enjoy virtual classes from the comfort of your home, making this workout both convenient and fun!
Get Your Body Moving!
As women, it’s not hard to feel sluggish and worn out. Between our busy work lives, caring for children, chores, and errands, we sometimes forget to treat ourselves to a little me-time to ensure we are living a happy, healthy lifestyle. Pilates is an immensely beneficial and rewarding workout that’ll sculpt your body and improve your overall mindset.
Start exploring the benefits of Pilates for your Body + Mind and join my life-changing program today!