Pilates for Every Body

Uncovering the Mystery of this Modality



Photo : Joseph DeRuvo Jr., Rhinebeck Pilates

Most of us have heard of Pilates. We may have tried a class at the gym a few years ago or watched an infomercial once upon a time but many of us are not exactly sure what the practice is. Elaine Ewing, owner of Rhinebeck Pilates, says, “When I’m asked to describe Pilates, I like to quote Romana Kryzanowska, Pilates elder and protégé of Founder Joseph Pilates. She said, ‘You can say what Pilates is in three words: stretch with strength and control. The control part is the most important because that makes you use your mind.’”

Tina Sferra, owner of Elite Performance Physical Therapy of Westchester, PC, describes the physicality of practice. “Pilates creates length, strength and power,” she explains. “It activates your core, creates a powerhouse, develops a balanced body and preserves your spine, which is the basis of your whole life.” Sferra combines Pilates with physical therapy for individuals suffering with pain or recovering from injuries.

“Pilates is therapeutic,” she says. “It incorporates low reps with fundamental alignment and creates muscle synergies. Pilates is energy refreshing, not energy draining. When performed correctly, it can help reduce the injuries of daily life rather than cause them.”

Demystifying the Practice: What Newbies Can Expect

Like many exercises, Pilates can be intimidating for those who haven’t tried it. Fear not, the ability to hold a plank position for ten minutes straight is not a requirement. “Anyone can do Pilates,” says Ewing. “At my studio, we’ve taught men and women from ages 10 to 84 with many different body types.” She suggests beginning with private, one-on-one sessions where students can become familiar with the equipment, the order of exercises and the language of Pilates.

Sferra also likes to meet with new clients on a one-on-one basis before they embark on a new practice. She explains, “When a new person arrives for their first visit, there is a short personal interview about health, past and present movement history, injury history and more, as well as motivation and goals.” Sferra then performs a posture evaluation and puts clients on a Pilates Reformer, allowing her to really study and understand how their body works and where to start.

“Activating the core and supporting the frame to move the spine with ease is the ultimate goal of Pilates,” says Sferra. “I always tell my clients that the primary goal is form, which yields efficient function. Fitness and looking good are the free bonus.”

The Latest Advancements

As with all exercise modalities, Pilates is constantly evolving. Individuals who haven’t practiced in a while may be excited to learn about the new offerings that are available. Elite Performance Physical Therapy offers the Pilates Physioball, Pilates Chair, Pilates Reformer and the Pilates Tower. Sferra combines all of this equipment to create an extensive workout that requires only five repetitions.

Ewing notes the new equipment at Rhinebeck Pilates. “Some of our new, rarer pieces of equipment include The Arm Chair, The Guillotine and The Swedish Bars,” she says. “I’ve had Pilates teachers and students come from hours away to visit my studio just to get on this equipment.” Clients can use these apparatuses to incorporate movements into their practices that would not be possible otherwise.  

Taking Pilates to the Next Level

For some, the practice of Pilates becomes a passion that they feel compelled to share. The best way to go about this is to become a Pilates teacher. Rhinebeck Pilates will offer a Classical Pilates Teacher Training Program beginning January 2017. Taught by Jennifer DeLuca of Body Tonic Pilates, in Brooklyn, the class features 500 hours of seminars, practice, teaching practice and observation.

Sources: Elaine Ewing, Rhinebeck Pilates, 6400 Montgomery St., Rhinebeck, NY, 845.876.5686 or RhinebeckPilates.com; Tina Sferra, Elite Performance Physical Therapy of Westchester, PC, 41 Main St., Bedford Hills, NY, 917.476.2164.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

News Briefs

Separate Workshops Help Parents and Clinicians Work with Multi-Problem Teens

Separate Workshops Help Parents and Clinicians Work with Multi-Problem Teens

August 3 and 4 and August 26 to 30
Conflict Resolution Program Seeking Workshop Facilitators

Conflict Resolution Program Seeking Workshop Facilitators

Workshop facilitator training August 9-11
Annual Tuckahoe Summer Fest Set for August 24

Annual Tuckahoe Summer Fest Set for August 24

10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Depot Square
Erica Garcia to Offer Interdisciplinary Yoga Teacher Training

Erica Garcia to Offer Interdisciplinary Yoga Teacher Training

The program incorporates Iyengar, Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga as well as aspects of life coaching.
Rhodella Hughes Completes Veterans Yoga Training

Rhodella Hughes Completes Veterans Yoga Training

“I’m honored to join their mission of supporting our veterans, families and communities.”
Screen Time Can Affect Children’s Vision and Learning

Screen Time Can Affect Children’s Vision and Learning

“Screen-related near-point work can trigger problems with eye teaming, focusing control, eye-tracking skills and a tendency towards tunnel vision.”
Intermittent Fasting Works—If It’s Done Right

Intermittent Fasting Works—If It’s Done Right

Intermittent fasting has been touted as the answer to just about every health problem imaginable.
Séance and Paranormal Investigation Return to Angel Aura Boutique

Séance and Paranormal Investigation Return to Angel Aura Boutique

6:30 p.m., August 9
All-Natural ‘Vegan Freeze’ Facilitates Cell Regeneration

All-Natural ‘Vegan Freeze’ Facilitates Cell Regeneration

“I’ve used Vegan Freeze for animal rescue and in my therapeutic massage practice, and it’s exceeded my expectations.”
Oddstock Music Festival in New Milford

Oddstock Music Festival in New Milford

August 23 and 24, from 1pm - 3:30am
Co-housing Community Underway; Green Homes for Sale

Co-housing Community Underway; Green Homes for Sale

Cohousing is a proven community design with more than 165 neighborhoods established throughout the United States and construction of another 140 underway.
Island Intimacy Retreat Set for October

Island Intimacy Retreat Set for October

October 11 to 13 on the Caribbean island of Vieques
Free Film Screening of Paris to Pittsburgh in Scarsdale

Free Film Screening of Paris to Pittsburgh in Scarsdale

7 to 9 p.m. on September 11
Soul Alignment Coaching Program Offered in August

Soul Alignment Coaching Program Offered in August

“I believe that when we consistently vibrate at the frequency of our higher self, everything else follows.”
CranioSacral Therapy Can Ease Back-to-School Anxiety

CranioSacral Therapy Can Ease Back-to-School Anxiety

Children and teens often have increased anxiety and could benefit tremendously from CranioSacral Therapy’s gentle balancing of the central nervous system,
Popular Non-GMO Corn at Three Feathers Farm

Popular Non-GMO Corn at Three Feathers Farm

Open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wassaic Project Summer Festival  Showcases Emerging Artists

Wassaic Project Summer Festival Showcases Emerging Artists

August 3, starting at noon, at the Luther Barn Field, in Wassaic.
Hudson Valley Expo Returns to Peekskill August 3

Hudson Valley Expo Returns to Peekskill August 3

1 to 10 p.m.

Race Two of Westchester Corporate Cup Set for August 15

All proceeds go to the Hope Community Services, a New Rochelle-based organization that’s become the largest emergency food pantry and soup kitchen in the region.
Planetwatch – August 2019

Planetwatch – August 2019

Stony Kill’s Annual Butterfly Festival Set for July 27

Stony Kill’s Annual Butterfly Festival Set for July 27

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 27
Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to New York City

Awaken Wellness Fair Returns to New York City

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., July 28
Integrative Nutrition Wellness Coaches Join Katonah Podiatry

Integrative Nutrition Wellness Coaches Join Katonah Podiatry

“We work with clients to help them create happy, healthy lives in a way that is flexible, fun and self-fulfilling, through nutrition and lifestyle changes."
New ‘Medical Medium’ Book Focuses on Celery Juice

New ‘Medical Medium’ Book Focuses on Celery Juice

"It’s become clear that drinking celery juice to improve health is no passing fad."
Organic Hair by Helen Adds New Color Lines

Organic Hair by Helen Adds New Color Lines

She chooses products that use natural ingredients and create natural-looking results.
Spirit Festival Announces Presenter Lineup

Spirit Festival Announces Presenter Lineup

September 13 to 15
Live Sound Healing Concert at Golden Prana in Katonah

Live Sound Healing Concert at Golden Prana in Katonah

from 7 to 9 p.m. July 10
Next ‘Food Truck Friday’ Set for July 19 in Pound Ridge

Next ‘Food Truck Friday’ Set for July 19 in Pound Ridge