Wander Talks: Episode 10 – The Power of Pilates
On this week’s episode of Wander Talks, Rachel sits down with fellow Exercise Science classmate and Pilates instructor, Megan Burditt. Megan began teaching Pilates last year at USF’s Campus Recreation Center and has grown very passionate about this method of training. The great Joseph Pilates, providing people with a great way to build core strength and rehabilitate their bodies in areas like physical therapy, developed Pilates.
Joseph Pilates was first a self-defense instructor in 1912 in England. During World War 1, he was interned as an “enemy alien,” and began to train other interns with a more refined version of his exercise methods, using items like bed springs for resistance training purposes.
After the 1918 flu epidemic in England, Joseph claimed his client’s survival triumph to his practice. After returning to Germany, this system of practice gained popularity in the dance community, specifically with dance legends Rudolf Van Labon and Hanya Holm.
In 1926, Joseph moved to the US, married his wife Clara, and began training New York City Ballet dancers in the adjunct studio. From then on, his students carried on the teachings of “Pilates,” opening studios for practice and stretching the technique all across the country.
Now Pilates has been implemented to dance classes, fitness classes, physical therapy sessions, and other situations that call for core strengthening. It is not a class or series of exercises focusing only on crunches or stretches, nor is it identical to Yoga or another typical fitness class. Pilates is a mind-body practice that focuses on strengthening the abdominals and muscles near the spine by engaging the trunk, pelvis, and shoulder girdle. The entire class consists of keeping a “neutral spine,” awareness of breathing, and developing balance in strength among the bigger/favored muscles and the smaller/less trained muscles. This can aid in injury prevention, recovery, and overall health in one’s day to day life.
Understanding how important the core seems to be under-valued by many people. Those who have poor posture or suffer from lagging back pain while weight lifting are prime examples of individuals that potentially have a weak core. Even the strongest of weight lifters that have a weak core are at risk for injury. Think about a tree. A tree with a strong trunk can withstand storms and larger branches stemming from it’s center. If the trunk were brittle and unstable, it cannot possibly sustain stability for a long period of time, no matter how sturdy the branches may be. The core of anything is the brick of the whole and where the center of gravity lies.
The goal of Pilates is to help build better posture, create a stable core, and bring a little more ease into someone’s life. Whether it be mat Pilates or Pilates with a reformer, Pilates will add strength and stability in the mind and body in anyone who practices it. Megan’s passion for Pilates comes from the strength and peace of mind she has seen blossom within herself, and she hopes to spread the knowledge and power of Pilates through teaching.