Leaders In Fitness

Semi-Pro, Totally Tough: Pilates Training for Sportsmen

Jennifer Mongeluzo teaches Pilates to men at The Pilates Centre in Norwalk, CT
By Kathy Kukula

Walk through the door at The Pilates Centre in Norwalk, Conn., and, among the forest of Reformers and Towers, you’ll see something that’s all too rare in many Pilates studios: men. And while some of the guys are the financiers and media executives that this coastal area is famous for, quite a few of them spend their time in more old-fashioned pursuits: in a rink, a pitch or a boxing ring. In the past two years, owner Jennifer Mongeluzo and her team of four trainers have strengthened and stretched a growing cadre of pro and semi-pro hockey and rugby players, Muay Thai kickboxers, boxers and mixed-martial arts fighters. Here’s how she did it:

Pilates Products: Shashi Pilates Socks (Giveaway!)

I thought I’d seen it all when it came to Pilates sock innovations—grippy bottoms, separate toes, slippers. That’s why I wasn’t expecting much when a box of Shashi Socks hit my desk promising a “cool treat” for my feet. I tossed a pair into my bag and didn’t have a chance to wear them for several weeks. When I finally tried them out, I felt a little sheepish—they were really great and caught the eye of every instructor at the studio.

Shashi Socks creator Natalie Sudit had been doing Pilates for over 15 years but didn’t like practicing in regular socks, so she created her own. Yes, they’re grippy on the bottoms—nothing new there. But what’s unique about Shashi is the breathable mesh fabric that covers the top of the foot. It kept my feet from sweating and made the socks feel like they were barely there. I literally forgot I was wearing them. If you like to practice barefoot but want the sanitary protection of a sock, these are for you. They’re well suited for warmer climates or summer months when the thought of regular socks makes your brow glisten.

Split-Toe Shashi SocksShashi Socks come in white or black, with more colors promised soon. A split-toe version can be worn with flip-flops. Each pair costs $12.50, and Sudit also offers volume pricing for resale at studios.

Enter the Giveaway!
Natalie is offering five pairs of Sashi Socks as a giveaway to Pilates-Pro.com readers! To enter, sign up for our enewsletter or name one bone of the foot in the comments section or on our Facebook page. We’ll draw the winners in January.


Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 11:34AM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , , , | Comments9 Comments | References2 References

Ball Props on the Reformer: Helping or Hindering? 

By Madeline Black

It is not uncommon to see Pilates teachers use props during a session. The intention is to enable the client to move in optimal alignment. But, is it appropriate to use a prop? Yes, when there is an understanding of why the prop is being used and it facilitates the intended response. But too many times, props are used out of habit.

One common prop habit is placing a ball between the thighs (or knees) while performing Footwork on the Reformer. The ball brings the legs together and/or holds them in place, preventing a client from splaying open her thighs when pressing the carriage out and knocking her knees when returning the carriage home. This can actually hinder the healthy movement sequence intended in this exercise, and I would suggest that we break this habit. Our goal is to encourage optimal leg alignment while executing Pilates in a dynamic and functional way, not in a held position. Here’s a closer look at why it doesn’t serve the client to use a ball during Footwork.

Posted on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:48PM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , , , , , | Comments5 Comments

Pilates on Call: Liz Koch Discusses the Psoas

It’s time again for another Pilates on Call, our open Q&A with Pilates and movement experts. Liz Koch, an expert on the psoas, has kindly volunteered to answer any and all of your questions about this deep, important muscle. For a general background on the posas, you can read her article Intro to the Psoas.

If you have questions about how the psoas relates to Pilates, now is your chance to get answers. You can leave your questions for Liz in the comments section below or email editor@pilates-pro.com. Liz will get to them as quickly as possible, but might need a day or two to respond.

Liz Koch is an international somatic educator and creator of Core Awareness™ focusing on awareness for exploring human potential. With over 30 years experience working with and specializing in the iliopsoas, she is recognized in the somatic, bodywork and fitness professions as an authority on the core muscle. Liz is the author of The Psoas Book, Unraveling Scoliosis, Core Awareness: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise & Dance, and The Psoas and Back Pain. Approved by the USA National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education provider, Liz Koch is a member of the International Movement Educators Association (IMA). Learn more at coreawareness.com.

Posted on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 03:35PM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , , , , | Comments32 Comments

Intro to the Psoas Muscle

By Liz Koch

Feeling vibrant within your core ultimately depends upon a healthy, juicy and responsive psoas. The psoas (pronounced so-as) is your core muscle and an integral aspect of a centered and functional body. As a major player in back pain, knee injuries and tight hip sockets, it is often the exhausted psoas that disrupts range of motion, as well as digestion, bladder functioning and sexual pleasure.

Your psoas is located deep within your core, growing out of the spine at approximately the twelfth thoracic vertebra (the area called the solar plexus), and moves through the pelvis, crossing over the ball and socket joints into the inner thighbones at the lesser trochanter. Being the only muscle to connect your spine to your legs, the psoas moves through the core like a pendulum synchronizing the free swinging of the leg when walking.

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 03:30PM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , , , , | Comments4 Comments | References6 References

Free Pilates Video for Breast Cancer Survivors

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we thought we’d spread the word about “Passionately Pink! Pilates,” a free Pilates resource for breast cancer survivors. This hour-long video was produced through a collaboration between Peak Pilates Master Trainer Clare Dunphy and Naomi Aaronson, an occupational therapist, certified cancer exercise trainer and Pilates instructor. The video is divided into two sections (seated and supine) and is appropriate for women 6-8 weeks post surgery. “Clare, the model [Lissa Silk] and I all donated our time, energy, and spirit,” said Aaronson. “We put a lot of effort into making it safe and effective.”

Feel free to share the link to this video with clients or anyone recovering from breast cancer, or watch and get some tips for your own teaching.

Passionately Pink! Pilates from Clare Dunphy on Vimeo.


Pilates & Breast Cancer Recovery: Q&A with Pink Ribbon Program Founder Doreen Puglisi
Pilates for Breast Cancer Survivors
Menopause: How Pilates Can Help

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Pilates & Dance Communities Celebrate Kathleen Stanford Grant

By Amy Leibrock

It was a full house at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York Monday night as members of the Pilates and dance communities gathered to pay tribute to Kathleen Stanford Grant (1921-2010), a first-generation Pilates teacher who studied directly with Joseph Pilates and taught the Pilates method for more than 50 years. The celebratory evening was filled with laughter, dance, music and stories about the life and spirit of this multi-faceted woman who “dedicated her life to making all others dreams come true,” as Sarita Allen, one of her students, said. The celebration began with an African drumming processional and was followed by a mixture of dance performances, video footage and almost a dozen speeches from family members, students, colleagues and friends. For those who weren’t able to make it, I’d like to share some highlights from this special evening.

Pilates Mentors: Q&A with Marguerite Ogle

By Anne Samoilov

Welcome to the second installment of my Pilates Mentors series. I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. I am so excited to share with you my conversation with Marguerite Ogle. Marguerite is best known for her work on About.com as the Pilates Guide. She has built an extremely thorough site which provides information for Pilates students as well as instructors.

Core Stability: Myth or Magic? What Does It Mean to Pilates Teachers? 

Core Stability MythThere has been a lot of talk about core stability lately, prompted in part by the publication of Professor Eyal Lederman’s paper The Myth of Core Stability and other rumblings in the media about the validity and safety of core training.

On Aug. 10, Peta Bee wrote an article in the London Times (requires payment) stating that the founding principles of Pilates are flawed. Glenn Withers, founder of the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute, followed up four days later by posting an excellent, detailed response on the APPI website. All of these are worth reading to educate yourself on the arguments.

But what does this all mean to you? As a Pilates instructor, you instinctively know that the work is incredibly valuable if taught correctly. But clients who have read these articles may have questions. Nuala Coombs, a founding director of the Pilates Institute UK and owner of The Pilates Consultant, tackles this issue below. We also invite your ideas on how to talk to clients about this issue in the comments section.


Following the publication of the article by Peta Bee, I received several emails from teachers wondering how they would respond to their clients should they refer to the article. My advice was simple. If they don’t mention it, there is no point in bringing it to their attention. For those clients who did not read the article, it will only create confusion. Of course for those clients who have questions, we need to be able to give them clear, satisfactory answers.

Posted on Monday, August 30, 2010 at 01:41PM by Registered CommenterPilates-Pro in , , , , , | Comments8 Comments

That New Fitness Trend? Pilates Has It Covered

by Jonathan Urla, MFA, CPT-PMA

It seems that I hear about a “new” fitness term or trend every week. These words usually come from the scientific community, but they often take on new meanings when the media and general public start using them. I started noticing that most of these words could be used to describe Pilates exercise, so I decided to dig a little deeper.

I compiled a list of the terms that are currently in fashion in the fitness world and media and looked at the relevance that each has to Pilates training. I hope the result is as illuminating to you as it was to me. This exercise reiterated to me that the techniques of Joseph and Clara Pilates are still proving to be years ahead of their time. As instructors in the health and wellness field, it is important for us to be aware of these trends and be able to explain to students how they relate to Pilates.