Personal Pilates

Martha's Vineyard, MA 02539

Sheryl Sussman

Sheryl Sussman  609.731.0596

  • certified pilates instructor

Personal Pilates 


What is Pilates?
According to Joseph Pilates, in his 1945 book "Pilates' Return to Life through Contrology", it is "complete coordination of body, mind and spirit." He continues to explain that Pilates (the method is named for the man), "develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit. In childhood, with rare exceptions, we all enjoy the benefits of natural and normal physical development. However, as we mature, we find ourselves living in bodies not always complimentary to our ego. Our bodies are slumped, our shoulders are stooped, our eyes are hollow, our muscles are flabby, and our vitality is extremely lowered, if not vanished. This is but the natural result of not having uniformly developed all the muscles of our spine, trunk, arms and legs in the course of pursuing our daily labors and office activities." In short, Pilates focuses on building a healthy, injury-free body by encouraging controlled and concentrated movement. It centers the body with breathing awareness while maintaining dynamic spiral stabilization. Pilates is a full body-conditioning program comprised of a series of approximately 500 designed movements preformed on a mat and with specific apparatus. Pilates utilizes equipment with spring resistance that simulated normal muscle physiology, integrating muscle synergies. Pilates improves strength, flexibility, balance, control and muscular symmetry. The rhythmic exercises promote elongated and toned muscles, and are noted for developing abdomen, lower back and buttocks strength, promoting a strong body core.

What are the benefits of Pilates?
 - Increases strength, flexibility & balance
    - Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
    - Creates a stronger more flexible spine 
    - Enhances breathing and circulation 
    - Improves posture and alignment
    - Injury prevention and recovery
    - Unites the body and the mind

What should I look for in a Pilates instructor?
Ideally your Pilates instructor should be certified through a comprehensive Pilates training program of more than 500 hours, one comprised of lectures, observation, practice, hands-on apprenticing plus a written and practical examination. This level of training is especially important if you are going to be working out on any of the specialized Pilates equipment - some courses only cover mat exercises while others educate trainers in the full range of apparatus.  A professional Pilates instructor should keep up with the latest developments in exercise science, choreography, small prop usage and more through continuing education workshops.  A professional instructor should make good use of visual, verbal and tactile cueing to ensure students are exercising with proper form and technique. Whether you are working out in a group setting or one-on-one personal training, make sure your Pilates instructor is confident, knowledgeable, responsive and personable so you can have a safe and effective experience. 

Where do I begin?
It is suggested that you start with a few private sessions. You want to be familiar with your body's strengths and needs and work correctly from the beginning. We will be introducing you to the philosophy of pilates, the terminology, and the different apparatuses. There's a lot of information that needs focus in the beginning to help set up your platform for your future training.

How many times a week should I do Pilates?
Two to three times a week is what we suggest to our new clients. This may include any combination of classes. Pilates is like a language, consistency is the key.

What Should I Wear?
It is helpful for instructors if you wear comfortable yet form-fitting exercise clothes. That way they can make sure you are performing the exercises in the proper alignment. However, we don't advise wearing loose or "short" shorts as many of the exercises are done with your legs open and elevated. You may exercise in either your bare feet or stocking feet.