What do I need to begin?

All you really need to begin practicing Pilates, Yoga or Yamuna Body Rolling is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of sweat pants, leggings, or shorts, and a t-shirt that's not too baggy. Sana Vita Studio will provide all equipment and mats.

Do I wear shoes or socks?

Please remove your shoes upon entering the studio, to provide a clean environment in which to exercise. All equipment is cleaned after each and every use.

Is there parking?

Street parking is available and there are 2 spaces (loading zone) in front of the studio.

How do I use public transportation to get to the studio?

Bus 65 From the Loop:

Get on the 65 Grand Bus West towards Harlem.

Get off at Grand and Noble bus stop We are located on the south side of the street at 1357 W Grand Ave (Between Ogden and Noble) Estimated commute time: 20 min (walking included)

Taking the Blue Line from the Loop:

Get on at Clark and Lake Blue Line Station.

Get on Blue Line headed towards O'Hare Get off at either:

A. Grand Blue Line Stop (if you get off on Grand you will need to take a bus) When on Grand Ave. take the 65 Grand Bus west towards "Harlem" as it will say on the bus front. Get off at Grand and Noble bus stop. We are located on the south side of the street at 1357 W Grand Ave (Between Ogden and Noble)

B. Chicago Blue Line Stop (if you get off on Chicago you will be walking a 1/2 mile) when you go upstairs from the Blue Line you will be on Chicago/Ogden/Milwaukee intersection. Take Ogden South West until you get to Grand Ave. Take a Right on Grand Ave. walking west. We are located on the south side of the street at 1357 W Grand Ave (Between Ogden and Noble)

What is Pilates?

The Pilates fitness method was founded in 1925 and was defined by the original Joseph Pilates as “the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure”. Joseph Pilates was regarded in Europe and the United States as a fitness expert well before he was 20 years old. He studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise including Yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman regimens. By the time he was fourteen, he had developed his body to the point that he was modeling for anatomy charts.

The original Pilate’s class in New York City was considered a requirement for training and body sculpting for dancers appearing in Broadway shows. Joseph Pilates was highly regarded for his rehabilitation work through Pilates fitness. Many dancers, acrobats and circus performers were sent to him for conditioning through Pilates instruction. The Pilates body in motion, they quickly learned, was the body that would best move them through life and work.

Pilates is a full-body exercise system that uses a series of machines and exercises. It works the entire body, both the right and left sides, in unison. It focuses primarily on what Joseph Pilates called the "powerhouse". This is a group of muscles that begins two inches below your navel, goes two inches above your navel and then wraps completely around your front and your back-kind of like a corset. It also includes your buttocks. Joseph Pilates 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 stability and in fact it is about how to balance the two for normal function.

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 in fact 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 mess with 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, which is why training methods based on “natural”, bodyweight movement, and barebones gyms are back on the rise in today’s fitness landscape.

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 Joe Pilates emphasized this all throughout his career. 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.

After conducting research on 40 patients who use Pilates as a form of rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery, Dr. Brett Levine, orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, has co-authored the book, Pilates for Hip and Knee Syndromes and Arthroplasties. Seventy percent of the patients were extremely satisfied with their outcome after using Pilates. Dr. Levine believes Pilates is an excellent form of exercise post-surgically and pre-surgically because it is low-impact and strengthens the core, improves range of motion of joints and studies show it quickens recuperation time after injury.

What is a typical beginning Pilates exercise like?

One of the first exercises you do is "the hundreds" which consists of 10 breaths of 10 counts to equal 100. You lie on the floor, lift your legs up to about a 45-degree angle, or wherever you can hold them, and keep your back imprinted on the mat. While holding your legs in the air, you engage the abdominals and lift your head and shoulders off the mat so you are in a scoop. Then you pump your arms by your side, almost as if you were slapping on water, pumping them up and down.

Because both your legs and head are up in the air, it forces the blood to go to your heart. The pumping of your arms back and forth forces the blood through your body. You're getting your circulation going and stimulating your organs making it both an internal and an external workout.

Improperly done, it can cause neck and back strain. Our experienced instructors will modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your range.

How is Pilates different from other forms of exercise?

Pilates is different from most exercises because it's non-impact and safe, and it really works on using the body as a whole (uniformly developed). You may lie on your back, on your side or kneel on the floor. When you move the body, you're trying to move it from the "powerhouse", using your abdominal wall to protect your back. You're also working the body very evenly and symmetrically, making sure one side is not working harder than the other.

Pilates is an endless journey. It can be a wonderful journey but it never ends. In Pilates, we routinely practice our series of exercises, plus additional exercises we add to address specific needs. Often we finish our workout with invigorating exercises that challenge and inspire us on our journey. These are the mainstays of our Pilates practice.

Pilates is also compatible with all other forms of exercise. Pro athletes love it because it's a great way to keep their muscle tone without stressing their joints to the point of risk for injury and to increase their flexibility. Dancers love it because they get strong without losing their long, lean lines. Tennis and golf players benefit from the spine flexion and torque, and learning to use their arms from their center, resulting in less shoulder injuries/stress.

How do I know if Pilates will benefit me?

Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, a Pilates workout is gentle (but still challenging) and controlled with no sudden jarring actions. It is very important that you work with one of our qualified instructors to ensure that you are doing the movements correctly. Our experienced instructors will modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations, challenge you within your range and monitor your improvements. If you commit yourself to a consistent workout schedule you will certainly get results.

After conducting research on 40 patients who use Pilates as a form of rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery, Dr. Brett Levine, orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, has co-authored the book, Pilates for Hip and Knee Syndromes and Arthroplasties. Seventy percent of the patients were extremely satisfied with their outcome after using Pilates. Dr. Levine believes Pilates is an excellent form of exercise post-surgically and pre-surgically because it is low-impact and strengthens the core, improves range of motion of joints and studies show it quickens recuperation time after injury.

What would you say are the key differences & similarities between Yoga and Pilates?

There's definitely a mind-body connection and a very similar fluidity in both. Pilates offers a line of equipment that doesn't exist in yoga, so it provides a different angle: You're doing exercises with the assistance and resistance of springs and pulleys. The springs may assist you or they may make an exercise more difficult, depending on the exercise.

Those who take the time to study the ancient art of Hatha yoga understand that there are some specific benefits of becoming adept at practicing this yoga style. A main benefit stems from one of the pillars of the Hatha style: breathing. Controlling breath can help improve oxygenation of the body and alleviate stress in some forms. Hatha yoga will help you experience freedom from preconceptions about yourself allowing for the possibilities of growth, acceptance and change. A program of yoga poses, breathing and relaxation significantly reduces joint tenderness and swelling for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. In addition, it has been shown to be helpful in reducing high blood pressure. Other elements of Hatha yoga help with relaxing the body and fighting modern world stresses. As a preparation for intensive meditation, Hatha yoga has a lot to offer a modern Western audience.

The difference between Pilates and Yoga lies basically in the approach behind the exercise. Pilates encourages body awareness and conscious movement, aiming at grace in every step. Pilates is very popular with dancers as a form of exercise. Yoga has greater emphasis on the development of a spiritual attitude. Yoga exercises lengthen the spine to release spiritual energy and Pilates concentrates on spine lengthening, body balance and fluid movement.

What is Yamuna Body Rolling (YBR)?

It's Health, Fitness & Massage rolled into one!

Yamuna Body Rolling™ is a revolutionary approach to health and fitness using balls designed exclusively for this practice. It consists of a series of routines using 6 to 10-inch balls. Unlike other ball exercises, YBR goes far beyond random movement and stretch. It allows you to work specific muscles in detail, to create suppleness in tight areas and optimize range of motion.

Yamuna Body Rolling™ reeducates muscles and stimulates bone, creating positive, permanent changes in the body.

How does Yamuna Body Rolling work?

Yamuna Body Rolling works the way a hands-on practitioner works-only using a ball. The ball replaces hands as it moves on muscles to stretch them, dislodge tension and discomfort, increase blood flow, and promote healing.

Lying over the ball, you literally roll your body out almost like dough, stretching and elongating your muscles. The YBR routines follow specific sequences that match the body's own logic and order. Starting where each muscle begins, at its origin, you roll toward where it attaches to the point called its insertion.

The Yamuna Body Rolling practice has earned respect from chiropractors, physical therapists, Yoga instructors, Pilates and Gyrotonic instructors, massage therapists, body workers, fitness instructors and dance teachers.

"The beauty of Yamuna Body Rolling is that it takes you from the origin of the muscle at the tendon, elongating the muscle while stimulating the bone and soft tissue. Working with the body's own gravity, the exercises ease movement in the muscles to the point of relaxation, offering one of the finest weight-bearing exercises, with the benefits of a deep self-massage."

--Ms. Fitness Magazine

"The idea behind Body Rolling is that tension starts where the muscle originates-in the dense fibrous tendons that anchor them to bone. It's this precise attention to stretching muscles from tendon to tendon that makes the exercise unique…After 15 minutes of doing the exercises on both legs, I can bend over and place my palms flat against the floor, a move I can usually only execute at the end of a two-hour yoga class."

--Catherine Guthrie

Health Magazine

Is Yoga safe for people with chronic or recent injuries?

Yoga is safe for people with chronic pain and/or injuries. But it must be taught according to principles of proper alignment. Instructors must have experience and a good understanding of these principles and their application.

In some cases, a private lesson may be the way to begin. Yoga is known for it's therapeutic nature and all students are trained with the notion that yoga postures should never create pain, which is differentiated from the sensation of stretching muscles. We regard pain as a signal that an action is being performed in such a way that we are out of alignment. The alignment principles of Yoga have helped thousands of people strengthen and open their bodies intelligently, without injury, and have helped thousands more heal injuries through therapeutic application of yoga poses.

I'm not flexible - can I do Yoga?

Absolutely! Through steady, intelligent practice, stiffer students will gain flexibility just as flexible students will gain more strength. Many people think that they need to be flexible to begin yoga, but that's a little bit like thinking that you need to play tennis in order to take tennis lessons. Come as you are and you will find that yoga practice will help you become more flexible.

The Yoga Universal Principles of Alignment will help you to access your flexibility from the inside out in a safe and powerful way. Yoga is always taught

as balanced action regarding strength and flexibility. They must be developed simultaneously for safety and full expansion. This new found agility will be balanced by strength, coordination, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall well-being.

What is Bodhi Suspension Training?

This class combines 30 minutes of intense Bodhi rope suspension system work with 30 minutes of a classic Pilates Reformer & Chair core workout. The Bodhi system promotes whole body strengthening and stretching through the use of four adjustable ropes with multiple attachments. It is the perfect blend of strength and bodyweight conditioning, Pilates, and balance training. By taking the body out of alignment with gravity, the body's deep core muscles are challenged, and total body strength, dynamic stability, and flexibility occur. The ideal complement to your Pilates or Yoga practice, Bodhi adds standing, balance, and stability elements that bodies respond to and enjoy. A great workout for anyone with movement experience!

Can Pilates benefit me as a runner?

Pilates is a functional exercise and conditions the whole body through natural and flowing movements. This helps develop a runners coordination.

Pilates is a body and mind workout that assists in improving proprioception - knowing where your body and extremities are in space. This is important for runners to keep their balance since the movement in running is done on alternating single leg (imagine balancing on one leg, then alternating between legs at a fast pace). This also helps runners to maintain proper footing especially on uneven surface which would help prevents slips and sprains.

The Breathing Principle of Pilates engages the right muscles and would help runners breathe efficiently and maintain correct running posture.

Overall stamina will improve as muscular endurance in the abdominals, pelvis, hip, and back increase. This is important especially for long distance runs.

Pilates combines strengthening the agonist (contracting) muscle while actively stretching the antagonist (opposite) muscle, which will increase range of motion on joints and improve a runner’s flexibility.

Can Pilates Improve your golf swing?

A golfer's healthy posture begins with full-body strength, flexibility and the maintenance of muscle balance. You need strength in the upper- and lower-body musculature and the postural and rotational muscles. You also need to be mindful of muscular symmetry (balanced musculature). Asymmetry is pervasive among golfers; the shoulder, biceps, forearm and upper back tend to develop more on a golfer's dominant side. The stronger muscles are tighter, while the weaker muscles are more flexible. Many golfers desire a better bilateral balance in their musculature, as do most one-sided athletes (for example, baseball pitchers and tennis players).

Think of the Golf swing as an efficient machine. Each part of it depends upon the other parts; if one part is functioning incorrectly the other part will be affected. But working together they deliver the same effective results time after time. The spine is the axis of rotation. If it is held in good dynamic alignment by well-balanced muscles, the rotation is optimal. If the postural alignment is poor, the rotational energy is expended in all directions, which results in dissipation of energy through a constantly changing axis of rotation. When the axis of rotation changes during a golf swing, the arc of the club head is compromised and your lose control of your stabilizers. Then the big muscles start to fire out of sequence and the kinetic chain begins to break.

At Sana Vita Studio, we evaluate the golfer’s posture and functional movement patterns to determine where the muscle imbalances exist. The instructor then customizes a golf specific Pilates workout session to restore length, strength, and endurance to the postural musculature. If you are new to the game: Your Pilates practice will teach you how to play golf with a new found sense of ease, grace, fun and deep satisfaction. And for the experienced golfer: We promise all that, plus you'll knock several strokes off your game, drive the ball further and improve your overall strength and flexibility. No kidding!

Is Pilates safe during pregnancy?

Yes – when taken in our prenatal classes. Regular mat class is only advised up to 20 weeks because much of the class is performed in a supine position (lying face up) and this can be uncomfortable with the weight of the baby pressing against the diaphragm. Our Prenatal Reformer classes can be modified to allow for a slanted/lifted posture – elevating the head and torso and making Pilates safe throughout pregnancy. Pregnant women produce a hormone called Relaxin that helps the body become looser for childbirth- because of this it is important to limit range of motion some so as not to overstretch muscles. And of course – before beginning Pilates while pregnant it is key to consult your Doctor.

How can beginners get the most benefit from Pilates?

Be consistent, especially in the beginning. Don't just try it once. Give it a few shots and do it in succession. Make it your reward, your break from a hectic day. Also, listen to your body and really concentrate — it makes for a better workout.

Someone once said that you need to "arrive" for Pilates, meaning you have to be there mentally as well as physically. To get the most out of Pilates, you have to be very present. Your body and mind will thank you.

Will my body be sore after a Pilates class?

Feeling sore is a very individual thing. Some people don't feel sore. Pilates is what you put into it. If you're really conscious of making every movement count, you'll most likely feel something the following day. It also has to do with your athleticism. If you've been sedentary, you're probably going to feel it more than someone who's very active. It's all-relative.

What are the six "principles" of Pilates?

Concentration. This is the most important principle in Pilates. You must be very mentally present as you do the exercises, aware of every aspect of your body's movement, alignment and muscle contractions.

Control. Every movement is done with control, so you aren't just throwing your body around. Centering. All exercises are done evenly using your entire body. Think of a plumb line down the middle of the body working both sides evenly. Fluidity. A smooth transition from one exercise to the next is important because once you've learned the routine; it should look something like a dance, where every movement flows into the next. Precision. You try to make each movement as precise as possible; alignment, placement of your limbs, position of each part of your body is paramount and a central aspect of how and why Joseph Pilates designed this system of exercise. Breath. How you breathe is very important in Pilates exercises. You don't want to hold your breath at all. Deep, steady breaths will help you maintain concentration and precision, too.

What should I eat before a Pilates class?

You will want a little fuel to get you through your workout but not a heavy meal that will make you feel sluggish. If your session is in the morning, a smoothie or some fruit and a bagel would be good options. If you are working out at lunchtime – you may want to eat a bit of your lunch before your class and the rest after. That way you won’t be starving and lacking energy for class but also won’t be overly stuffed and trying to crunch your stomach during class! If you are working out after work – you may need a quick snack to keep you going. Again fruit or handful of nuts could do the trick.

Is Pilates safe for people with shoulder issues, back issues, knee issues, etc.?

A resounding yes! Pilates was originally developed to rehabilitate injured dancers. All movements are performed in as safe range of motion and a neutral spine. Many physical therapist either use Pilates in their practice or refer patients to Pilates for rehab. If you have a specific issue – don’t hesitate to call ahead or email to discuss your situation.

What makes Sana Vita Studio unique is our ability to develop an Optimal & Efficient Strategy before strengthening. The best athletes are not the strongest but are the ones who have the most optimal and efficient movement patterns. We will help you create your most optimal and efficient posture, breathing, and core stabilization strategy. This will improve your overall posture and movement patterns.

When can I expect results?

Results will vary depending on your commitment to Pilates. Generally, clients begin to feel these benefits within one session and start to see them in ten to fifteen sessions.

That really depends on what your goals are and what else you are doing. If you are only doing Pilates as your workout and your goals are to get in shape, maintain shape or build strength/tone – you could do 4 or 5 classes a week and see great results. With any exercise – it’s important to take a day off and rest from time to time.

Pilates himself said, in reference to practicing Pilates, "you'll feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions, and have a completely new body in 30 sessions". To put this statement into perspective, any movement program that is practiced regularly (at least 2 times per week) will offer benefits after 30 sessions.

Pilates Equipment:

The machines give you full body resistance training, much like a weightlifting routine, but it won't bulk you up. The equipment adds another dimension to Pilates work, and is tons of fun! It also allows you to get into positions that you may not have been able to achieve on your own.

The reformer is a rectangular frame with four legs. The cushioned mat (carriage) slides back and forth on wheels with the resistance of springs and pulleys.

The Cadillac is a trapeze-like table that's 26 inches off the floor and has a canopy from which a trapeze, springs and pulleys hang. Because it's elevated, it's perfect for older people that have trouble getting down on the floor.

Group Mat Classes:

The mat work is composed of exercises designed to be performed on the floor sitting, standing, kneeling or lying on your back, belly, or side. Mat classes can incorporate small apparatus such as rings, mini-balls, thera-bands, and thera-balls. The mat is the ideal apparatus for Pilates because there's nothing helping you. It's only you, your body weight and your alignment, making the exercises fluid, controlled and precise.

What is the difference between mat work and equipment?

Both provide a complete workout to strengthen and stretch the entire body.

Many claim that Pilates reshapes the body. How does it do this?

Pilates has completely transformed the bodies of most of our clients. It comes from using the "powerhouse" and really focusing on and strengthening the abdominal wall, teaching it to lay flat with strength. If the stomach is sticking out, you're going to train it to stick out. In Pilates you're always thinking of this inward pull as if the navel is going in towards the spine and then lifting up slightly, pulling your abdominal wall very flat. In addition, there are long, fluid, larger motions that lengthen and stretch the muscles.

If you're consistent with it and make a commitment to yourself, you will see a change in your body.

Is Pilates a cardiovascular workout?

Initially the workout is slow moving because everything is being explained to you. Eventually, once you learn the workout and you're going through the motions, it becomes aerobic. You can get a cardiovascular workout when you're on the equipment and working at an advanced level, because it's more physical. And some classes like the Pilates Jumpboard, the Cardio Pilates Mat and Cardio Pilates Equipment classes all combine cardio moves with sequences of heart-rate boosting exercises for a double-duty effect. You have to work towards it, but Pilates can be cardiovascular.