Despite the relative popularity of Pilates, Deborah Harris, owner of Premier Pilates & Yoga in Warren, still marvels at just how many people aren’t familiar with this mind and body experience.
Far more than a recent fitness craze, Pilates has been developed and practiced since the 1920s, when Joseph and Clara Pilates opened their body conditioning gym in New York City.
Deborah was instructed, trained, tested and certified by Romana Kryzanowska, an internationally acknowledged Grande Dame of Pilates, who was a star pupil of Joseph and Clara in the 1940s. This makes Debora a well-recognized 2nd Generation Classical Pilates Instructor. With over 600 hours of training and over 20 years of Pilates teaching experience, Deborah is able to work with people of all backgrounds and physical conditions.
Pilates is a form of exercise that concentrates on strengthening the body with an emphasis on core building. This helps to improve general fitness and overall well-being. Similar to yoga, Pilates concentrates on posture, balance, and flexibility. With attentive instruction and support on the machines, the chance of injury is much lower in Pilates than with other more strenuous forms of exercise.
Pilates also focuses on the mind-body connection. While doing the various exercises your mind needs to be constantly aware of your breathing and the way your body moves.
Deborah explains, “The principles of Pilates emphasizes strengthening the core muscles, which allow you to move your limbs more efficiently.”
Originally, Deborah’s dream was to become a professional dancer. When her dance partner dropped her, she started doing Pilates during the recovery process.
“I think that everything happens for a reason. Had that event not happened, I wouldn’t have found Pilates. Once I started, my entire body was stronger and suddenly I wasn’t in pain. I was able to perform at a higher level than before,” says Deborah.
Deborah began teaching Pilates at the Pennsylvania Ballet Pilates Studio in 2001. Two years later she opened her studio doors in Warren.
“I am proud that we are the only classical Pilates studio in the area that is fully equipped and specializes in private instruction. We can tailor and design a program specifically for each client's individual needs. We work with athletes, those who are in pre and post-surgery, as well as those ‘weekend warriors’ looking to condition their bodies,” says Deborah.
At Premier Pilates & Yoga, the two main focuses are safety and personal attention. All of the instructors are classically trained. Deborah’s personal attention is evident during group classes and one-on-one sessions with her clients. Safety is also of the utmost importance. The small class sizes allow each client to have dedicated mat space for themselves during group exercises.
In order to see the benefits of Pilates, Deborah encourages her clients to attend at least two times per week. There are also easy ways to do mat exercises at home and keep up your Pilates routine outside of the studio. Deborah spends time reviewing these exercises with all her clients.
Deborah prides herself on ensuring that her studio is a relaxing environment where her clients are able to disconnect from their daily stressors. Through her hands-on training and soothing temperament, she has created an atmosphere where clients can simultaneously strengthen their bodies and calm their minds.
Here are some of Deborah's favorite Pilate's exercises.
Side Sit up on the Pilates Reformer:
A great exercise for strengthening and stretching those hard-to-train flank regions of the body. It helps with the stabilization of the torso and the shoulder girdle.
Breathing performed on the Pilates Cadillac:
This exercise is geared towards opening up the chest and lungs and strengthening the arms and shoulders, while also engaging the glutes and deep thigh muscle groups. It is yet another one of Pilates exercises that works the entire body.
Shoulder Press Down on the Tower Unit:
You will strengthen both the core and the glutes with this exercise, which helps to develop muscle control, body balance, and alignment.
Heel stretch on the Ladder Barrel:
This whole-body exercise gets the muscles to engage to keep the balance of the pose in perfect control.