Lifted Pilates

Words Vicki Ravlich-Horan No photo credit

Far more than a recent fitness craze, Pilates was developed in the 1920s when Joseph and Clara Pilates opened their ‘Body Conditioning Gym’ in New York City.

Born in 1883 in Germany, Joseph Pilates was a frail child. Drive and determination saw Joseph overcome ailments like asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.

As an adult he moved to England where he worked as a circus performer, boxer and self-defence instructor. During the First World War, he was interned with other German nationals and it is here he developed his technique of physical fitness by teaching his fellow internees. In the latter part of the war, he served as an orderly working with patients unable to walk. He attached bed springs to the hospital beds to help support the patients’ limbs, leading to the development of his first piece of equipment.

“I invented all these machines … it resists your movements in just the right way so those inner muscles really have to work against it. That way you can concentrate on movement. You must always do it slowly and smoothly. Then your whole body is in it.” – Joseph Pilates

Pilates has grown in popularity around the world as well as gaining a reputation for being a bit “posh” says Eden Pollock from Lifted Pilates, who is working to dispel this. “The best thing about Pilates is it’s suitable for everyone,” says Eden, who recently opened her third Pilates studio.

Introduced to Pilates in her late teens as part of her rehabilitation after a car accident, Eden was hooked. “I just loved it,” she says, smiling, admitting that by her mid-20s she knew Pilates was the career for her. Time as a PA and EA had helped hone her organisational and business skills that would come in handy owning and growing her own business.

A qualification as a personal trainer gave Eden a base knowledge, especially in anatomy. This education was refined more as she qualified to be a Pilates instructor.

In 2008, Eden opened the first Lifted Pilates in Raglan. Here, her first key to success and the building blocks for Lifted Pilates growth was the creation of a strong community. She says, “When I was training, I was always interested in the clients’ experience, what worked and what didn’t.” The Raglan studio was the perfect place to test the waters and refine the systems.

These were then replicated when Lifted Pilates’ second studio opened in Rototuna in 2020 and then again earlier this year with the Hamilton East studio. At a Lifted Pilates you will experience a welcoming space with instructors that love what they do plus get to know you and your needs. The studios are light and bright and now with three there is one close to you.

Nearing 50 and with more aches than I care to admit, I have dabbled with Pilates. I struggled through a beginners mat course feeling much like I do at yoga – bored. Used to the endorphin rush after exercise, the slower pace of Pilates had me compiling to-do lists in my head. The problem was, even with me only half participating, I was feeling the results.

Eden says she loves mat classes, but what hooked me was discovering the reformer. The movement coupled with the physical and mental challenge had me too busy for list making.

While I had discovered a form of Pilates I enjoyed, my biggest problem was being able to regularly attend a class. That was until Lifted Pilates opened their Hamilton East studio. Like Raglan and Rototuna, the Hamilton East studio offers a variety of classes and options from casual classes to memberships, accompanied with an easy booking and payment system. Eden says, “The idea is to have everything you need under one roof – no need for an additional gym membership.”

So my challenge now is to give some of the other classes a go at Lifted Pilates.

Barre classes are a ballet and dance inspired exercise class that has you moving to music while you stand at the ballet barre before finishing on the mat for a little more traditional Pilates. I’m told no dance experience is necessary for this high energy class that will have you sweating and smiling.

HIIT Reformer Jump classes are a low impact cardio workout that will have you sweating with resistance training on the reformer machine.

TRX classes are offered at the Raglan and Rototuna studios. The TRX is a strap hanging from the ceiling making gravity your resistance, so adjusting the difficulty of an exercise is as easy as moving your hands or feet.

Mat Pilates is where the Pilates method started. It teaches control, technique and is deceivingly challenging when you want it to be.

Reformer classes (both beginner and open) take the principles of Pilates – breath, coordination, focus and alignment – and applies its exercises to a spring-based resistance workout.

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