Karen Blank used to drive past the Pilates Defined studio on her way to and from work, and after hearing about friends’ positive experiences with Pilates, she decided to check it out. She started with three introductory sessions, and two years later, Karen attends three to four classes every week and continues to take privates. She has also developed an at-home practice of mat exercises and work on the oov.
Even as someone who has always tried to stay fit, Karen can’t say enough about the difference Pilates made for her. “It’s hard to just call it an exercise,” she said. “It’s got so much wisdom to it. “I wish I’d come in years ago.” Her posture has improved and her shoulders feel better, Karen said, and Pilates helped her with one of her passions — playing the cello.
Musicians can be prone to repetitive stress injuries, and according to a 2013 article published by the Clinics in Orthopaedic Surgery, string players have the highest prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders, with shoulder and back issues being most common. Before she started Pilates, Karen would have to stop practicing to stretch and relieve the tension caused by stabilizing her instrument and leaning forward to play. Pilates taught her which muscles to use to stabilize, and how to optimize her posture.
As she describes the changes in her playing, Karen’s expressions and her thoughtful analysis demonstrate her enthusiasm. What she learned about breath in Pilates, Karen said, translates. “There is a real congruence between music and Pilates,” she said. “Now I even mark in my music where to breathe. “My cello teacher knows so much about Pilates now!”
What benefits have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?
“I am so much stronger, much more centered. I know my body much better now, and I’m able to make it stronger. I feel much more balanced.”
Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment?
“I love chair classes. It kind of amazes me that I can do some of the things.”
What would you tell someone who is thinking of trying Pilates?
“I recommend it to people like crazy! I would first tell them to jump in and try. Just experience it and see what it can do. “I also think the introduction — the private instruction — was really valuable. I’m really impressed with how much you all know.”
How would you describe Pilates Defined in three words?
“Kind. Supportive. Expert.”