I have been aware of Pilates as an exercise phenomenon for some time. Several years ago, I took a free class at the local Y, but I did not follow up. Not because I did not enjoy the class, but because the local Y is in the city where there is only street parking and the class was at night. I did not want to be walking city streets after dark by myself.
The class I took at the Vermont Y was a mat class. The method was developed by Joseph Pilates as a rehabilitation method for injured athletes and was made popular by dancers who embraced its core strengthening results.
At the nearby Y in Florida, there was a Pilates room filled with all kinds of equipment. I took yoga classes at that Y but never ventured into the Pilates room. It looked like a torture chamber out of the Middle Ages.
While in Florida this past winter, I discovered a small studio near my home that offered “standing Pilates.” The touted benefit was improved balance so I signed right up. I have found similar routines on YouTube under “Barre Pilates.”
I enjoyed the class, but I went right back to my favorite yoga studio now that I am back in Vermont. I will do the Pilates on my own still. It really helped with an achy hip, and it does reinforce the body-mind connection. But, in the end, I pick yoga for its mind-body-spirit connections.
I am walking for exercise as well. This is always a rude shock upon return to Vermont. Every single year, I forget how the body adjusts to walking at sea level. Lungs get used to the easy flow of air and scream about the need for greater efficiency at higher elevations.