Gain strength, flexibility and balance with The Pilates Method in Birmingham.
By Kim Kisner
Photography by Erin Kirkland
Sponsored by The Pilates Method
Whether you are a fitness novice, a runner or an athlete, Pilates could be the perfect fit for you.
First, let’s answer the burning question: What is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of exercises using specialized equipment designed to improve physical strength, flexibility and posture, and enhance mental awareness. Named after German physical fitness specialist Joseph Pilates (1880-1967), this unique system of corrective exercises — originally called “Contrology”— can offer incredible results. Pilates strengthens and lengthens the muscles without creating bulk and is also helpful in preventing and rehabilitating injuries, improving posture and enhancing flexibility, circulation and balance.
An Interesting History
Joseph Pilates was a frail child with rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. Determined to become stronger, he dedicated himself to building both his body and mind. His conditioning routine worked, and he became an accomplished gymnast, skier, boxer and diver. During World War I, Pilates was captured and served an internment on the Isle of Man. There he designed a unique system of springs and straps that hooked to a hospital bed in order to help disabled and immobilized patients regain strength and movement. It was through these experiments that he recognized the importance of training the core abdominal and back muscles to stabilize the torso and allow the entire body to move freely. Pilates as a proven method was born.
What is the Pilates Method?
“The very definition of the word ‘method’ combined with the word ‘Pilates’ is a perfect way to understand the essence of Pilates,” says Cheryl Maher, instructor and owner of The Pilates Method in Birmingham. “Pilates is a method. It is a systematic approach designed to be performed a certain way. We practice this time-tested, classical approach at the studio, and we see amazing and lasting results with our clients.”
Who is Pilates for?
“Pilates is for everyone,” Maher says. Joseph Pilates taught the military, boxers, police officers, gymnasts, dancers and people of all walks of life. “This total body workout is about strength, stretch and control, which benefits everyone at any age.”
The Pilates Method is a boutique studio offering private and semi-private sessions using Gratz equipment manufactured according to the original specifications of Joseph Pilates. Each class is focused on a uniform development of the body through stretch, strength and control, resulting in visible changes in posture and movement.
“To us, Pilates is a passion and a way of life,” Maher says. Senior instructor Emily Sansiri adds it is truly lifechanging. “Pilates is designed to create an awareness in our bodies that brings ease and efficiency to everyday movements.”
Maher discovered Pilates in New York over 20 years ago. She has two Pilates certifications, and her mentor took lessons with Joseph Pilates. She continues to study the work through conferences, lessons and learning from renowned instructors in the classical Pilates world.
The Pilates Method
966 E. Maple Road, Birmingham