About Piloga Fitness

A combination of Pilates & Yoga

Piloga combines the best attributes of both Pilates & Yoga, focusing on the core strength elements of Pilates and the flexibility and mindfulness of Yoga.

ABOUT PILATES

Pilates is a unique exercise technique that tones, strengthens and lengthens muscles to give improved flexibility and mobility and a leaner more streamlined body. It targets the deep postural muscles, building strength from the inside out, rebalancing the body and bringing it in to correct alignment. It improves posture and is a great way to relieve unwanted stress and tension. Ideal for athletes looking to improve their performance or those new to exercise…

ABOUT YOGA

Yoga means to unite or to harmonise. In other words, yoga means working towards a level where the activities of the mind and body function together harmoniously.

Yoga also refers to the union between the individual and something greater, whether it is called God, the Divine or anything else. Although, yoga does not represent or promote any particular religion; it is a system that aims to help people achieve their full potential and a heightened consciousness. These techniques work towards the development of every human faculty: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR – KAREN McGINN

I discovered Pilates many years ago when I moved from London to Oxfordshire. I had always seen exercise as a necessary evil that enabled me to eat chocolate without getting too fat. I did my fair share of slogging it out at the gym but never really understood the feel good high that people spoke about. I read a couple of articles about Pilates and thought that it sounded interesting so I set about finding a class. I remember my very first class. My teacher was amazing. An ex-dancer with a fantastic body, she was a lovely lady who radiated confidence and really inspired me. The exercises weren’t easy, but they made sense and made me feel great. My body became stronger and my muscles more toned. My posture improved to the point that my exaggerated lumbar curve (which had caused me significant lower back pain) disappeared as I …

ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR – KAREN McGINN

I discovered Pilates many years ago when I moved from London to Oxfordshire. I had always seen exercise as a necessary evil that enabled me to eat chocolate without getting too fat. I did my fair share of slogging it out at the gym but never really understood the feel good high that people spoke about. I read a couple of articles about Pilates and thought that it sounded interesting so I set about finding a class. I remember my very first class. My teacher was amazing. An ex-dancer with a fantastic body, she was a lovely lady who radiated confidence and really inspired me. The exercises weren’t easy, but they made sense and made me feel great. My body became stronger and my muscles more toned. My posture improved to the point that my exaggerated lumbar curve (which had caused me significant lower back pain) disappeared as I …

Karen’s tone and approach to teaching provides a great experience for every member of the class. Her directions are clear, she encourages and gives individual attention to each member during the exercises. She manages the class at a pace that suits varied levels of experience and ability and creates a relaxed and supportive environment. I always feel better after the class than when I started! She says, ‘Do what you can and rest when you need’ and we do….there is no competition. Never boring – there are always new challenges!

Jackie Jardine, Kingsbridge

About Pilates

WHAT IS PILATES?

Pilates is a unique exercise technique that tones, strengthens and lengthens muscles to give improved flexibility and mobility and a leaner more streamlined body. It targets the deep postural muscles, building strength from the inside out, rebalancing the body and bringing it in to correct alignment. It improves posture and is a great way to relieve unwanted stress and tension. Ideal for athletes looking to improve their performance or those new to exercise, Pilates is suitable for everyone. It’s controlled approach means that it gives much longer lasting results and is also recommended by medical specialists for those with back problems.

Once the secret of dancers, top athletes and many celebrates including Madonna, Courteney Cox, Pat Cash and the England Cricket Team, Pilates can be beneficial for and practiced by anyone.

StOTT PILATES

Stott Pilates is a contemporary, anatomically based approach to the original method incorporating modern exercise principles and knowledge about spinal rehabilitation and performance enhancement. The exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints.

BENEFITS OF PILATES

1. Flatten, Tone and Strengthen Abs – Instead of doing endless sit ups, lower reps of exercises like the classic ‘Hundreds’ are performed with more control. This combined with a constant focus on the torso stability throughout the workout is what makes Pilates exercises famous for yeilding strong, flat abdominal muscles.

2. Longer, Leaner Muscles – Because of its aesthetic streamlining effects, magazines like Elle & Vogue have been hot on the trail of this mehtod of exercise. Balancing strength with flexibility not only allows you to achieve a long lean look, it also allows the body to move with ease.

3. Improve Posture – The exercises are designed to restore the natural curves of the spine and restore its important shock absorbing features.

4. Prevent Injury – In addition to increasing flexibility , Pilates exercises strengthen muscles concentrically and eccentrically (resistance on both the in and out movement). This in turn, improves muscular control, which prevents injuries that commonly occur upon impact, such as landing when jogging or doing aerobics.

5. Increase Circulation, Relieve Tension – A continual emphasis on the breathing not only oxygenates the blood and replenishes cells throughout the body, it also increases blood flow to the brain, whch helps with focus and has a revitalizing effect.

6. Enhance Body Awareness – By identifying and strengthening the body’s deeper support system (the muscles of the torso) you learn how to move efficiently so that walking, running and even putting on our shoes becomes easier.

7. Balance Strength with Flexibility – Most of us have overtrained our muscles by doing way too much forward bending and not nearly enough stretching and strengthening of the back. Even athletes tend to overuse certain muscles and neglect others. Pilates works on rebalancing the muscles around the joints to work effectively and reduce the chance of injury.

8. Heighten Concentration – By being conscious of your muscles and how to control them, you gradually strengthen the powerful mind-body connection. This heightened awareness and focus carries over into every day life.

9. Enhance Athletic Performance – Dancers have sworn by Pilates based exercises for years because of the precision, performance, focus and injury prevention they achieve. More recently, professional and amateur golfers, cricketers, footballers and the like have noticed a marked difference in their games.

10. Improve Self Esteem – Because the method of exercise feels so good to do and yields noticeable results, you’ll feel great about yourself.

HISTORY OF PILATES

Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, who was born in Germany in 1883. He was a sickly child, determined to overcome his various afflictions. He studied yoga, zen meditation and rigorous exercise regimes of the ancient greeks and romans and by the age of 14 he had gained enough strength to become a skin diver, skier and gymnast. He went to England in 1912 and became a boxer, worked as a circus performer and trained detectives in selfdefense.

During the first world war he was interned along with other Germans where he taught fellow prisoners a series of exercises combining physical fitness with breath control and mental acuity to increase strength and flexibility. In the later part of the war he worked as a hospital orderly helping to rehabilitate patients with a series of resistance exercises using equipment fashioned from bedsprings and other items available.

After the war, he returned to Germany, where he continued to pioneer his unique approach to fitness. When the government insisted that he train the German army he immigrated to the US and established the very first Pilates studio with his wife Clara in New York. He designed a series of more than 500 mind-body movements or exercises to develop strong, flexible muscles, without adding bulk. His emphasis was on breathing and torso strength ensuring improved posture, reduced risk of injury and stress relief.

Early devotes of Pilates include legendary dancers such as, George Balanchine, Hanya Holm and Martha Graham. Today Pilates is the choice of dancers, athletes, physiotherapists, fitness trainers, elite athletes, health care professionals and those interested in optimal health and fitness.

Joseph Pilates died in 1967.

‘We are as old as our spines’
Joseph Pilates

The original Pilates Principles
1. Breathing – Strong emphasis on continuous breath
2. Centering – working from the centre of the body ‘The Powerhouse’
3. Control – Every movement is controlled from beginning to end
4. Precision – performing less repetitions but with more concentration to ensure the correct muscles are utilised during the exercise
5. Fluidity – Maintaining a smooth movement pattern, not jerking or jarring and never holding a position
6. Concentration – Connecting the mind and body

About Yoga

WHAT IS YOGA

The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit language and means to unite or to harmonise. In other words, yoga means working towards a level where the activities of the mind and body function together harmoniously.

Yoga also refers to the union between the individual and something greater, whether it is called God, the Divine or anything else. Although, yoga does not represent or promote any particular religion; it is a system that aims to help people achieve their full potential and a heightened consciousness.

This is achieved through age old techniques, accessible to anyone who is interested. These techniques work towards the development of every human faculty: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The science of yoga is vast and has been divided into several branches. Each branch focuses on a different means of achieving union with the divine or the greatness of human potential.

THE MAIN BRANCHES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Hatha Yoga – This is the most practical branch of yoga and the best known in the West. It involves a system of exercises that trains relaxation and breathing through physical postures. The aim is to promote vibrant health and tap into the body’s latent energy reserves.

Raja Yoga – Involves mental disciplines to work towards mastering consciousness and styling the thoughts of the mind.

Jnana Yoga – Involves the study of your preferred scriptures and meditation.

Bhakti Yoga – Involves devotion to a prefered deity, guru or prophet.

Karma Yoga – Involves selfless action and service.

Laya or Kundalini Yoga – Involves a combination of Hatha yoga techniques, mainly focusing on breath suspension and intense meditation practice to awaken the Kundalini energy (latent psychic nerve-force).

BENEFITS OF YOGA

Yoga works a bit like other mind-body therapies to reduce stress and release endorphins, our body’s own natural painkillers and mood enhancers. Studies have shown that yoga lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, while increasing muscle relaxation and breathing capacity. Harvard Medical School researchers have found that long term practitioners of relaxation methods such as, yoga and meditation have far more active disease fighting genes to protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis.

The practice of yoga asanas (postures) improves fitness, strength, flexibility and balance as well as massaging the internal organs and improving circulation, digestion and hormone function. Through yoga relaxation and meditation you can reduce anxiety and stress and breathing techniques will help to improve oxygen levels and lung capacity.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOGA

Yoga is a physiological and spiritual discipline that has been an integral part of Indian culture for thousands of years. The ancient yogis developed the system as a means of achieving harmony within themselves and in relation to their environment. They believed that by working with the body and the breath, control over the mind, emotions and general wellbeing could be achieved. Yoga philosophy was passed down by oral tradition, as it was received by sages through meditation. For this reason, the precise origins of yoga remain somewhat of a mystery.

The first recorded written mention of yoga appears in a collection of Indian scriptures called the Vedas, which date back to about 1500BC. However, archaeological finds in the Indus Valley, of intact ceramics depicting figures in yogic meditation poses, show that yoga was practiced at least 5000 years ago. The practice of yoga was systemised in approximately the third century BC by a yogi called Patanjali in his work The Yoga Sutras.

Yoga was introduced to the West by an Indian sage called Swami Vivekananda, who demonstrated yoga postures at a world fair in Chicago in the 1890s. This generated much interest and laid the ground for the welcoming of many other Yogis and Swamis from India in the years that followed.

About Your Instructor

I discovered Pilates many years ago when I moved from London to Oxfordshire. I had always seen exercise as a necessary evil that enabled me to eat chocolate without getting too fat. I did my fair share of slogging it out at the gym but never really understood the feel good high that people spoke about. I read a couple of articles about Pilates and thought that it sounded interesting so I set about finding a class.

I remember my very first class. My teacher was amazing. An ex-dancer with a fantastic body, she was a lovely lady who radiated confidence and really inspired me. The exercises weren’t easy, but they made sense and made me feel great. My body became stronger and my muscles more toned. My posture improved to the point that my exaggerated lumbar curve (which had caused me significant lower back pain) disappeared as I realigned my spine and retrained my body to work properly.

I was hooked. Not long after I started Pilates, I knew that one day I wanted to be a Pilates Instructor.

Ten years later, on the recommendation of my Pilates teacher, I started my training with Stott Pilates, a Canadian based company that are internationally recognised. After hours of study, concentration on my personal practice, extensive supervised teaching practice and rigorous exams, I finally qualified as a Mat Work Certified Instructor in June 2006.

Immediately, I put my training to good use and started up a lunch time session at my place of work. When I moved to Devon later that same year, I set up classes around Torbay where I lived. Since that time I have got married and moved to just outside of Exeter. I still teach in Paignton, Torbay and at the beautiful Hen House Studio in Kingsbridge.

Around the same time I moved back to Devon, I rediscovered my love of yoga and started to train as an instructor. I knew that Joseph Pilates had traveled around the world and absorbed influences from many different exercise techniques. However, I was struck by the extent to which Pilates had drawn from yoga and began to understand better its emphasis on breathing, focus and control. It’s not just about keeping fit; it’s about being in tune with your body, understanding how it functions and being aware of how your mind connects with and controls your body. It is a holistic approach.

Now, I understand why I fell for Pilates all those years ago and why I enjoyed both Pilates and yoga so much. I continue to learn, taking workshops and short courses. I like creating new classes that stimulate the mind and strengthen the body. Exercise for me is not about being the strongest, the leanest or even the fittest. It is about total wellbeing; healthy in mind and body and being in tune with both so that I can make the most of what life has to offer.

Most of all, it is about enjoying staying healthy and keeping fit, having fun and still being able to eat chocolate.

KAREN HAS THE FOLLOWING QUALIFICATIONS:

Certificate in Teaching Pilates Matwork from Stott Pilates.

Certificate in Teaching Yoga from Yoga Professionals.

Level 3 in Exercise & Fitness Knowledge (Anatomy & Physiology) from CYQ.

Level 3 Certificate in Delivering Learning from City & Guilds

CONTINUED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:

  • Ultimate Back Care
  • Mini Flexball Workout
  • Total Body Sculpting
  • Advanced Matwork
  • Arm Chair Pilates
  • Pilates for Men
  • Pre & Post Natal Pilates
  • Shoulder Stability
  • Pelvic Girdle Flexibility
  • Pelvic Floor Strength
  • Myofascial Release

Karen is a full member of Fitness Professionals. www.fitpro.com

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Once in a while we like to send out a digital newsletter, telling you about all that's happening around Piloga Fitness. If you would like to receive our newsletter, please leave us your details below.