Pilates: Power play

The exercise form, promising a multitude of benefits, has the biggies hooked.

Anumeha Chaturved        Print Edition: December 13, 2009

"In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions, you will see the difference, and in 30 sessions, you will have a new body."
- Joseph Pilates

Pilates, a physical fitness form developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, and now all the rage in Hollywood, claims to develop the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures and restores physical vitality. Having found converts in the likes of Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, and Uma Thurman, it finally gains a solid presence in India, thanks to two new fitness studios-one at The Aman, New Delhi, and the other at Gold's Gym, Mumbai. The exercise method is designed to elongate, strengthen and restore the body's balance; and since no two bodies are the same, both the studios have created a comprehensive exercise programme for the clients, specifically based upon an anatomical understanding of the body's muscular and skeletal systems.

Internationally acclaimed Pilates instructors Ivana Daniell and Katrina have conceptualised the postural assessment programme at The Aman. "I'd say the programme is a must for all. It's like going to a tailor," says Daniell, boasting clients like Sting and Prince Andrew. "You'll have to get measured by a tailor to get your clothes stitched, so the same should apply to exercises and your body." Her 55-minute assessment programme is open to anyone who wants a professional and objective assessment of their body's movement and advice on how to get optimum results from their fitness regime. The Postural Assessment involves a thorough step-by-step examination to determine any pathological or postural problems. The client's physical history is discussed as well as his/her fitness and wellness goals. The exercises are recommended only after a comprehensive study of the body, analysing the existing alignment and efficiency of movement, especially through shoulders, spine, pelvis and hips.

Daniell considers Pilates to be a part of intelligent movement therapy and regards all her trainers as educators, not instructors. "The movement techniques are based on scientific principles familiar to rehabilitation and fitness professionals, and Katrina Comel, the Pilates trainer at The Aman, comes from Pilates Polestar, the most recognised organisation in Pilates." She says the beauty of the form lies in its ability to offer something to everyone. "From a deskbound executive suffering from a shoulder pain to a champion triathlete, the exercises are adapted for one and all."

Now if you're wondering if all the action and benefits are for Delhi, then you couldn't be more wrong. The country's first Stott Pilates studio has come up at Gold's Gym, Mumbai. "Stott Pilates is a contemporary version of the original exercise method and the exercises lay greater emphasis on scapular stabilisation," says Samir Purohit, owner, Multi-Trading Company, and the brain behind the studio. The Stott Pilates exercises are designed to promote the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. The movements build core strength and stability, improve muscular balance and strength and increase flexibility, balance and coordination. "As opposed to weight training, Pilates is threedimensional. The exercises can be performed using all movement planes," says Purohit. "The movements are gentle and controlled, with no jarring actions, and with an experienced instructor and a series of movements, you can modify and change exercises to challenge your abilities, and monitor improvements," he adds.

With the benefits of Pilates, and qualified "educators" by your side, there's little reason why you shouldn't give either of these two a try.

The Pilates programmes are being offered at The Aman, New Delhi, and Gold's Gym, Mumbai.

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