Pilates: Explore the Core

Do you have aches and pains caused by your work or lifestyle? Are you looking to improve your core strength, posture and flexibility? Do you want to improve your vitality and energy levels whilst at the same time release tension and relax? Pilates might be the answer!

What is Pilates?

The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Pilates (1880-1967). Nowadays, Pilates is probably best known for its emphasis on the “core”, for improving the body’s functional stability and mobility to ultimately make everyday movements and breathing easier and more pleasurable.

“I walk out of a class with Kat feeling like Darcey Bussel” Fiona

Pilates is particularly useful for those whose lifestyle or profession puts strain on a particular area of the body, be it the back, neck or shoulder girdle. Pilates is therefore recommended by GPs and physiotherapists for anyone with aches and pains caused by muscular tension or imbalance.

“So much less pain since attending your classes” Nina

Pilates can help to change those habitual movement and postural patterns that lead to muscular tension and pain. Pilates exercises combine strengthening and stretching and engage the whole body rather than just individual muscle groups. This whole-body focus and combination of strengthening and releasing helps us to become stronger, more flexible and mobile and can improve our posture and ability to move better in daily life, not just in class.

I feel so much fitter now that I have movement returned in my back and shoulders” Sue

Pilates offers a full body workout and yet, at the same time, many people report that they feel relaxed after class. Pilates himself said “I base my method on the baby and the cat, the cat rests completely and it moves completely”. The Pilates Method can be so relaxing that it has been found in medical studies to improve sleep quality. And yet, at the same time, Pilates can increase our vitality and energy. Many of my clients report feeling more relaxed and yet at the same time having more energy and vitality.

“Being able to do Pilates and functional chair Pilates over the few last months has really helped me cope mentally and physically at a very difficult time!’” June

The original Pilates exercises are suitable for athletes, dancers and for anyone looking for high levels of fitness. Over time, however, the Pilates Method has been modified and adapted, taking account of insights made in the fields of sports medicine and physiotherapy. This makes Pilates suitable for almost everyone independent of their age, health and fitness level and has led to Pilates being recommended by physiotherapists, GPs and many health care professionals.

“As a seventy year old, I find Kat’s regular online classes invaluable for mobility, flexibility, muscle tone and mood enhancing communication.” Diana

Kat teaches a variety of Pilates classes to suit various tastes and needs: Pilates Mat, Pilates on the Stability Ball, Pilates Foam Roller as well as two types of Functional Pilates classes; Standing Pilates Circuit and Chair Pilates-Yoga fusion. You’ll find more details on all of these below. Or contact me to find out which one might be the best class for you. Often a combination of different classes can target different issues and is the most beneficial.

I have been working with Kat in her Pilates and Yoga classes for the last eight years. I took up Pilates in 2001 and have taken classes in several places around the U.K. so have experienced many coaching styles.  Kat is by far the best coach I have had as she combines a perfect balance of traditional and flow techniques, with variations in intensity to suit all levels of experience and ability. She is highly knowledgeable and great fun Geoff

Pilates Mat

Pilates is generally recommended by medical professionals, such as GPs and physiotherapists for muscular, tension or postural related aches and pains, especially chronic backpain.

“I feel less stiff, more flexible and fitter and love all the classes with Kat!” Anne

The main benefit of Pilates Mat is that the exercises are carried out lying on the floor. The support of the floor means that those muscles that keep us upright when we are standing or sitting can relax. These are often the same muscles that cause tension-related pains, especially in our backs. Relaxing these muscles means we can strengthen weaker muscle groups and to target specific areas.

“Pilates Mat” classes are dynamic, flowing classes that combine Pilates with Feldenkrais and other somatic methods. They are designed to improve core strength and alignment, release tension, improve movement co-ordination and the collaborative function of the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. Over time these classes can help to promote lasting change and leads to more informed movement choices. You start to understand your body. Like a pianist who understands the keyboard to play beautiful music….

“I have learnt more about how my body moves from Kat than I ever did in my biology classes at school!” Issy

Pilates Mat classes are taught online on Monday evenings 6pm-7pm and on Tuesday mornings 9.30-10.30. For Kat’s full class times click here.

If you are new to class, please fill in this health form

Chair Pilates-Yoga fusion

A fully seated, chair-based Pilates-Yoga fusion class that focuses on improving functional strength and mobility in the upper back and arms, the abdominal muscles and the legs.

This is a great class for anyone who has problems with their feet or legs or for anyone who has a misaligned pelvis. The chair provides feedback to the pelvis and hips so this class is a great way to become more aware of our habitual patterns in this area of the body.

“…my tummy muscles have improved and my hip bursitis has just about disappeared” Diana

These fully seated classes offer a full-body workout for anyone – whatever their fitness level.

“Kat is particularly sensitive to the weaknesses of the elderly. Her movements and instructions are always clear” Gordon

You will need a sturdy chair and, if required, some light weights.

Monday and Friday mornings 9.50-10.35. For Kat’s full class times click here.

If you are new to class, please fill in this health form

Standing Pilates Circuit

“Standing is also very important and should be practiced at all times until it is mastered” Joseph Pilates

Standing Pilates classes are taught free-standing and/or possibly standing supported by a wall or chair. These classes are designed to improve functional strength and mobility, stability, balance and posture.

“I used to have rounded shoulders but now I have good posture and have even grown half an inch! Everybody has noticed” Debbie

Standing Pilates also works particularly well for strengthening legs and buttocks, to increase functional abdominal and pelvic floor strength and, like all Pilates classes, are particularly concerned with protecting the lower back, albeit in a vertical plane (ie in standing and sitting).

“As I wait for a hip replacement Kat’s many different classes have helped me manage the pain, keep flexible and build strength” Joyce

The rationale for Standing Pilates is that we live and move in vertical orientation and respond to gravity in a different way than when we are lying on a mat. Dynamic movement in this orientation is therefore more functional. Kat also includes Barre elements in these classes.

Standing Pilates circuit classes: Monday and Friday mornings 9-9.45.

You will need small weights, a sturdy chair and a mat. This class includes a 15 minute matwork section at the end which is optional. For Kat’s full class times click here.

If you are new to class, please fill in this health form

“I like the fact that Kat differentiates many  of the exercises- quite often she suggests alternatives, according to our level of fitness/ mobility. She explains things clearly. The exercises aren’t repeated so many times that you ‘lose the will to live’! Kat explains the rationale of why we do specific exercises. I find this helpful. The classes are very good value for money.” Heather

Pilates on the Stability Ball and Pilates on the Foam Roller

A flowing Pilates class for those with a little bit of experience in Pilates. The stability ball (also known as a physio ball) and the foam roller can support the body as well as challenge the core muscles a little bit more. This class is suitable for a wide range of levels but please check with me before joining this class.

Pilates Stability Ball Sunday mornings 9.30-10.30; Pilates Foam Roller Tuesday evenings 6-7

Kat offers a great variety of classes and I have become fitter and stronger as a result.  My favourite class is Pilates on the Ball.  Who needs Joe Wicks!! Janet