1357 W Grand Avenue | Chicago, IL 60642

312-829-VITA (8482)


Chicago Pilates Classes and Private Lessons

Pilates Reformer Class
Find out how many calories you burn during Pilates with the help of the Calories burned in Pilates Calculator. Fast and easy-to-use, the Pilates Calorie Counter calculates the total number of calories you burned during your workout.

Try this 10 minute core-blasting Pilates workout here

Joseph Pilates says:

"I must be right. Never an Aspirin. Never an injured day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier."
– Joseph Pilates

If we are going to use his name, we need to abide by his philosophy which includes:
    1.    Breath
    2.    Commitment/discipline
    3.    The whole body developing uniformly

Teaching Pilates requires imparting to our clients that each and every movement is the action of the whole.

Pilates is a process...we guide you over time to improve your form and technique while keeping you engaged and challenged with flowing movement designed to make you stronger and inspire you to achieve new levels of fitness.

It is true that elite athletes enjoy immense benefits from cross training and various forms of grueling workouts. However, many of those athletes are also turning to Pilates in their pursuit of Olympic glory. Pilates provides a balanced workout for the entire body and is the perfect workout for Olympic athletes who wish to add something special to their regimen, helping them gain an edge over their competitors. Click here to read how Pilates has helped Olympic athletes.

Contrology, the original name of the Pilates method created by Joseph Pilates, is more than just exercise. His desire was for the method to be understood as a "return to life", simply by maintaining our physical instrument - our bodies - to the best of our abilities and capabilities. Knowing the proper set-up for each exercise will enhance your concentration and self-efficiency.  It will also reinforce the proper techniques necessary for lifting, bending and reaching. Before you know it, you will find yourself incorporating Pilates into every minute of your day.

In an interview in 1964, he shared that the observation of natural movement in animals served as the inspiration to develop Contrology. “I would lie in the woods for hours,” he said, “hiding in the leaves, watching the animals move. How the mother taught the young. No human mother takes care like an animal. A fox, a lion makes the weak ones learn!”

Joseph Pilates

The Six Principles of The Classic Pilates Method:
Control - Flow of Movement - Breath
Precision - Centering - Full Range of Motion

Joseph Pilates and Romana Kryzanowska video 1941:
Stretch - Strength - Control
"You can say what Pilates is in 3 words: stretch with strength and control.
And the control part is the most important because that makes you use your mind."   Romana Kryzanowska

Who is Joseph Hubertus Pilates..

JosephPilates was born in Germany, on December 9th, 1883. He was an incredibly active boy and studied anatomy, wrestling, yoga, martial arts, and more. His parents instilled the importance of health, strength, and self-healing, which triggered his interest in the human body. He became an accomplished boxer and diver and by the age of 14, was an anatomy model.

Joseph pursued a career as a circus entertainer where he acted as a “living Greek statue.” He became immersed in Greek mythology and the idea of being a spiritually, physically, and mentally balanced man. While traveling and performing with the circus, Pilates began to create a workout that would restore balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength to the human body. During World War I, he worked with wounded soldiers to improve their physical and mental conditions. His belief in using movement for recovery was so strong that he even attached springs to the hospital beds for the men too weak to stand. This eventually led to the development of the Cadillac, an apparatus used in the Pilates Method.

Joseph’s work with the soldiers aided in their return to health and he was so successful, he was hired to train Germany’s secret police. However, Joseph decided to move to New York and pursue a new life developing his method.  Contrology, the original name of the method created by Joseph Pilates, is more than just exercise. His desire was for the method to be understood as a "return to life", simply by maintaining our physical instrument - our bodies - to the best of our abilities and capabilities. So that we, as a human species, can function better, and live better lives.

He opened a studio in Manhattan and began teaching the method to dancers who were so prone to injury and in need of restoration. Contrology became incredibly popular and famous dancers such as Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Eve Gentry became advocates for the method. As the demand grew, people stopped referring to the method as Contrology, and began to call it “Pilates”.

Joseph was incredibly innovative and developed the Barrel from a beer keg and the Magic Circle from the medal hoop around the keg.
He continued to develop his exercise method and the apparatus until his death in 1967. His studio was acquired by one of his students, Romana Kryzanowska, who continues to teach and certify new instructors to this day. Pilates has become one of the most popular forms of exercise and is certainly a great way to achieve a Greek god-like physique!

Joseph said, "practice your exercises diligently with the fixed and unalterable determination that you will permit nothing else to sway you from keeping faith with yourself." He didn't just teach core stability, this continues to be a misconception. The method is as much about mobility as it is about stability and in fact it is about how to balance the two for normal function.There is no end to learning Pilates. Learn to savor each moment and each progression in your Pilates education. Then you will find yourself getting to the heart of the method. As we like to say-you have to "let go and let Joe"

Concentration & Focus

Pilates is beneficial because it requires one to focus on the task at hand. Joseph Pilates' work was absolutely holistic. We at Sana Vita Studio strive to creatively and mentally connect the dots between modern movement science and the historical work – and to see how they don’t conflict with each other. On a physical level – borrowing a quote from an original student of Joseph Pilates – I love “to let my body think through the exercises”; the sensation of being (completely immersed and fiercely present in) movement.

To understand Joe’s work, one has to understand the problem he was trying to solve. It was not a problem of saggy bellies, arms, and behinds alone. Rather, it was a problem of decreasing health due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles all around him. He knew that if he couldn’t fix everyone’s lifestyle, he could at least bring people back into their bodies. His mission was to show the world a way to physical health through better exercise, sleep, and hygiene practices.

It is noteworthy that much of what we consider to be “Pilates” was around well before Joe. In the context of physical culture of his time, most of the exercises, the use of springs in training equipment, and his philosophies and theories around physical health were very common. But what truly
set Joe apart — even compared to today’s standards of movement education — was his talent in engineering unique apparatus and furniture, and his holistic understanding of human movement.

Joe documented an incredible awareness of all of the body’s systems and their role in movement. According to him, the main reason to condition our muscles and connective tissues is to create space and support for our organs and joints to function better. He believed that as our modern lifestyles negatively effect our innate movement potential, cultivating improved physical function had to precede the acquisition of specialized strength and motor skills. Modern exercise science shows he was right. Training methods based on “natural”, bodyweight movement, and barebones gyms are back on the rise in today’s fitness landscape.  It is said that doing Pilates is like peeling away the layers of an onion; the larger outer layer is just the gross movement patterns, and each successive layer brings more flavor and deeper understanding of the movements. Just when you think you have mastered an exercise, another layer will be revealed, and the exercise will demand even more analysis and a deeper connection. Of course we know that a movement practice benefits the entire body beyond the muscular system. But it’s important to know just how much Joseph Pilates emphasized this all throughout his career.

If it's easy it's probably not Pilates! The Art of Pilates is looking at the body and knowing the most direct way to address it to achieve an optimal level
of health & fitness. Pilates is more than something you do here in our studio...it is a lifestyle. Pilates should affect your everyday life-your posture, how you think about movement, your ability to move, in any task-mundane or athletic.

Pilates Reformer at Sana Vita Studio

Pilates Mat

This mixed level Pilates mat class focuses on strength, precision, and flow of movement. In this small class setting the teacher will present the exercises at multiple levels which allows students to choose to work at a beginning, intermediate, or advanced pace. Students will learn to be aware of breathing patterns and spinal alignment while engaging the deep muscles of the core. Focus is on establishing the bio-mechanical foundations to work safely and effectively within the technique to create uniform development of the body, core strength and breath control. If you learn the Pilates mat exercises correctly, you will always have a powerful and effective way to get in shape and enjoy the benefits of Pilates.

Why the Reformer?

The centerpiece of Joseph Pilates inventions and the first apparatus he developed was called The Universal Reformer. Joseph Pilates recognized that the constant resistance provided by the springs makes for improved proprioceptive (mind/body) feedback, and keeps the body alert and working in all positions of movement. The Reformer allows you to get deeper into the body with additional support. Then when you go to the Mat class, where we take that support away, you can still access the depth that you are getting on the apparatus.

The Reformer is there to offer you both assistance and resistance.
This amazing apparatus provides an opportunity for correct placement of the hands and the feet. There’s a lot of information that you can receive from how you hold the handles, how the feet are placed on the bar and how the foot gets placed on the carriage. The Reformer helps to correct imbalances just by the nature in which you use the apparatus.

Research backs up Joseph in his assumption that moving with an external load such as provided by the springs can make a movement practice more efficient. This ultimately allows the Reformer to become a teacher in its own merit, because it teaches the desired movement quality we look for in a Pilates practice: full-bodied effort, length and lift, and opposition. It even teaches willpower, too! Think of a game of tug of war: the second the mind caves in, the others will win. On the Reformer, the springs will quickly remind you - with a bang if necessary - that they are constantly engaged if you decide to go through your shopping list during the practice.

So, to sum it all up: The Universal Reformer reforms the body by providing it with a clear trajectory to move within - hence increasing movement efficiency.

Pilates Equipment (Reformer, Cadillac & Low Chair)

Ever wanted to try out the Pilates equipment? Well this is your chance at a fraction of the cost. It is an opportunity to experience the endless Pilates  repertoire with the energy of a group setting. Joseph Pilates designed specialized equipment, such as the Cadillac, Reformer and Low Chair, in order to tone and balance muscles without stressing the joints. The purpose of the apparatus is to offer support and resistance so that you can get deeper into the body. You can find the connections more readily if you are reaching into something that offers you support or resistance: the spring and the straps and the handles. Our classes help you develop your core strength, tone muscles, change shape, burn fat, define your body, improve posture and increase flexibility.  The unique reformer apparatus, as well as the Cadillac and Low chair, will develop your body uniformly and increase awareness of alignment.

Pilates Equipment/Jumpboard

If you have never taken a Jumpboard class you and your legs are missing out. The Pilates Jumpboard/Reformer class is an amazing way to get your extra cardio and feel the burn. This class combines Pilates Reformer technique with Jumpboard intervals, which strengthens the legs without being aggressive on the joints.The heart rate is increased and calories are burned.This is mega movement you will feel the next day.

Pilates Private Sessions

Private lessons are done one-on-one with a certified Pilates instructor. Those who achieve great things rarely, if ever, do it alone. They enlist their support team, they surround themselves with people who enable them to succeed. Your instructor will not only provide additional skills and knowledge, but will provide feedback for improvement, broader perspective, and necessary experience. They will also help you clear roadblocks that show up, and keep you focused and motivated.

Private lessons taught by OTHER TEACHERS are fantastic in so many ways:
    1.    Focus and planning are required: you have to make an appointment or consult a schedule.
    2.    You are held accountable: there are consequences ($$$) if you bail at the last minute.
    3.    You will get what you need: your teacher will include exercises you’d avoid if you were alone.
    4.    You’ll surprise yourself and do something you thought you couldn’t do. You'll feel so good about yourself.

We at Sana Vita Studio believe it is important to address each client as an individual. This allows us to develop personalized, high quality programs that meet your unique and specific needs. The session combines the use of both apparatus and mat work and allows the instructor to develop a customized series of exercises to address each client's needs, goals, and previous injuries. Pilates offers a method of communicating to people about their bodies, what they can do, what they should do and how to keep looking forward to the next challenge in a safe and appropriate way. Each exercise begins where the last one left off. With this strong foundation, our clients can safely and effectively execute the more challenging Pilates exercises.

Pilates Duet/triplet (2-3 person) Sessions

Want to work with another person in a private Lesson? What a great way to cut costs. Try our Pilates Duet/triplet. These are semi-private sessions you can do with your friends.

What is the Future of Pilates?

Pilates has come so very far, from 5000 people practicing Pilates in the 1980’s and 90’s to the explosion of 10-12 million people practicing Pilates today. While the large spike in Pilates practice may have been due to the novelty of Pilates, we believe that the future of Pilates will continue with steady growth. Several reasons include: an increase in insurance companies and medical practitioners examining Pilates as a legitimate form of therapy, the large influx of baby boomers and the elderly beginning or continuing programming to maintain strength, stability due to changes in bodily needs and changes in society. We at Sana Vita Studio offer adaptive movement programs to meet all of these needs. Finally, good teachers who are passionate, believe in what they do, compassionate about those that they serve, diligently practice their craft, and seek knowledge through education will contribute to the thriving growth and continuation of Pilates.

Sana Vita Studio 1357 W Grand Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 312-829-VITA (8482) www.sanavitastudio.com

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