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Pilates is a movement methodology based on guiding principles that allow a person to develop the ability to control his/her alignment, as flexibility and strength are developed. Spinal articulation as well as stabilization are explored through exercises performed on a mat or on specialized equipment. Special attention is given to coordinate breathing with movement, to stimulate circulation and support the body from the inside out. Pilates is not just about core power, but core integration, and the benefits of a regular practice can include improved posture, elongated musculature, and deep, functional strength. At UP Studio, our instructors have all trained with internationally renowned movement educator Marie-Jose Blom and her Long Beach Dance Conditioning approach. This curriculum, developed by Ms. Blom, focuses on a highly refined attention to movement quality and the ability to use the Pilates method to restore health and vitality. Pilates is a universal movement system - it can improve everyone's quality of life.

 

 

Please enjoy this excerpt from the Pilates Method Alliance:

 

An Exercise in Balance: The Pilates Phenomenon

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"I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They'd be happier." - Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965, age 86.
 
Over the last 20 years, Pilates has experienced the explosion on a global level. Pilates is a method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. With systematic practice of specific exercises coupled with focused breathing patterns, Pilates has proven itself invaluable not only as a fitness endeavor, but also as an important adjunct to professional sports training and physical rehabilitation of all kinds. 
 
Widely embraced by the professional dance community during much of the 20th century, exercises like "elephant," and "swan", the terms like "pull navel to spine, and breathe," and the look: bright-eyed, refreshed, buoyant-without-necessarily-sweating, are now commonly found in fitness classes, physical therapy offices, corporate retreats, luxury spas and wellness centers. With the aging of our population and the increasing trend toward mindful, moderate health practices, Pilates is increasingly found with a wait list at the YMCA, and in your local public schools--shaping the fitness ideals of our next generation.
 
Practiced faithfully, Pilates yields numerous benefits. Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep, healthy breathing is a primary focus. Strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles, coordination - both muscular and mental, are key components in an effective Pilates program. Posture, balance, and core strength are all heartily increased. Bone density and joint health improve, and many experience positive body awareness for the first time. Pilates teaches balance and control of the body, and that capacity spills over into other area's of one's life.
 
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Joseph Pilates, demonstrating his unique exercise equipment.
 
Around 1914, Joseph Pilates was a performer and a boxer living in England, and at the outbreak of WWI, was placed under forced internment along with other German nationals in Lancaster, England. There he taught fellow camp members the concepts and exercises developed over 20 years of self-study and apprenticeship in yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens. It was at this time that he began devising the system of original exercises known today as "matwork," or exercises done on the floor. He called this regimen "Contrology," meaning 'the science of control'. A few years later, he was transferred to another camp on the Isle of Man, where he became a nurse/caretaker to the many internees struck with wartime disease and physical injury. Here, he began devising equipment to rehabilitate his "patients," taking springs from the beds and rigging them to create spring resistance and "movement" for the bedridden. In a way, Pilates equipment today is not much different than that of yesteryear. Spring tension, straps to hold feet or hands, supports for back, neck and shoulder are as important now as they were then. Because of the remarkable nature of the equipment to both challenge and support the body as it learns to move more efficiently, the inimitably designed pieces truly act as a complement to the challenging "matwork" exercises.
   
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The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® is a methodology that explores the idea that health and vitality come from the inside out. Using the Eastern tradition of flowing energy, or 'chi', as the basis for inspiration in movement, GYROTONIC® exercises open up pathways within the body through which energy can travel. The system uses spiraling and undulating movements to allow for a fluid quality, thereby training the body's connective tissue (fascia) as well as muscle. Most importantly, the method also explores the relationship between breath and the nervous system. The system creates a feeling of buoyancy in the body, as joints become decompressed and muscles elongate. Benefits include increased coordination, flexibility without stretching, endurance, and the quality of ease. The GYROTONIC® method can help you use less effort, but achieve greater results, both in terms of mobility and strength. At UP Studio, we offer private sessions as well as duets and small group classes on the GYROTONIC® Pulley Tower as well as instruction on the Archway and Jumping Stretching Board, two of the specialized apparatus designed by Juliu Horvath, the creator of the method. GYROKINESIS® exercises are performed on a stool and a mat. These explore spinal movements coordinated with arm and leg patterns. They are a rhythmic blend of unique exercises that are reminiscent of those found in swimming, dance, yoga, gymnastics and eastern energy systems such as Tai Chi and Chi Gong.  

 
 
  

Juliu Horvath

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The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® was created by Romanian-born Hungarian Juliu Horvath. Juliu Horvath was born in 1942 in Temesvar, Romania. His love for movement was apparent from the time he was a small child. During his youth he excelled at swimming, gymnastics and rowing. He began to study dance when he was 19, and by the time he was 21, was a principle dancer for the Romanian National Ballet Company. While on tour in Italy in 1970, he defected from Romania. He subsequently lived in a refugee camp in Italy for six months. After receiving political asylum in the United States, he moved to New York City.

After arriving in New York, Juliu did whatever he needed to do in order to survive, from painting houses to dancing on cars in Central Park. During this time he also began to audition for dance positions, and he performed in civic ballets. During the 1970's, Juliu danced with the New York City Opera and was a guest artist at Radio City Music Hall. He also danced for a special tour company with international stars such as Margot Fonteyn, Jacques d' Amboise and Melissa Hayden. Eventually he secured a position as principal dancer with the Houston Ballet. 

While with the Houston Ballet, Juliu ruptured his Achilles tendon, bringing his dancing career to a sudden halt. After this injury, Juliu moved back to New York City for a short time, where he began a regular yoga practice.  As he got deeper into his movement and meditation practices, he began having profound energetic experiences.  In an effort to learn more about these experiences, he moved to the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands in 1977. There he built a small, one-room hut in the mountains and spent the next six years studying yoga and meditation. During this time he gained new insights into movement and healing, and from these insights he began to create his own unique exercise method. Juliu returned to New York City after his stay on St. Thomas, and in the early 1980's he began teaching a new movement system that was based on what he had learned in St. Thomas. He called this system "Yoga for Dancers".

Initially "Yoga for Dancers" was taught at Steps on Broadway and at Juliu's own location - White Cloud Studio. In the beginning, most of Juliu's students were professional dancers. As demand for his classes grew, and the diversity of his clientele increased, Juliu refined Yoga for Dancers, creating a class format that almost any person could perform, regardless of age or state of health. He named this refined version of Yoga for Dancers ‘the GYROKINESIS® Method'. The original Yoga for Dancers movements are still taught as part of the GYROKINESIS® Level 2 Program.

At White Cloud Studio, Juliu continued to develop and refine the method he created on St. Thomas. It was here where he began to develop the GYROTONIC® Method, and his world-renowned GYROTONIC® equipment. The GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods quickly gained an international following, becoming popular in Europe, Asia, and Australia, as well as in the USA. The GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® has now grown to encompass over 7,800 Trainers in 52 countries.

Juliu continues to create new programming for the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methods. He also conducts teacher training courses internationally and continues to develop new GYROTONIC® equipment, and refine existing equipment designs. He is always developing a more common sense approach to health and well-being, as he puts it, in a "seriously un-serious way".

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Please visit www.gyrotonic.com for more information.