Friday, 22 July 2011

Pilates Q&A

Candice Eales is an advanced Pilates instructor who worked at Champneys Health and Spa Resort for five years and is now the director of Sports Pilates UK. She has trained and worked with some of the leading Pilates masters in the world and is an instructor on Flavours' Italian Pilates Holidays.

What attracted you to Pilates?
I come from a dance background so have always been interested in fitness, but have never been a huge fan of the gym. When I discovered Pilates it was the first time exercise made sense!

What is Pilates?
Pilates is the most efficient, and therefore effective, exercise you can do. It works from good posture and alignment, strengthening core postural muscles and increasing flexibility.

What are the benefits?
You start to understand your own body, its strengths and its weaknesses. You gain better posture, often relieving troublesome problem areas. Your body can actually change shape, tight muscles are lengthened and weak ones strengthened, resulting in much better body performance whether you are an athlete or someone who plays tennis once a week.

Are there different types of Pilates?
There is the classic mat, and also equipment-based Pilates, but we should all be teaching from the same principles of the classic method devised by Joseph Pilates. As Flavours holidays are all held in private villas we are not able to offer the major equipment, so we focus on the classic mat exercises. You do also hear of yogalates and power Pilates but these are just variations on a theme and not pure Pilates.

There seem to be so many yoga holidays about why do you think there aren’t as many Pilates?
Simply because although it has been around longer than most people realize, Pilates hasn’t been around for as long as yoga which still has a bigger following.

Is Pilates in yoga's shadow?
No not at all. They are very different, even though they have similarities. I taught at Champneys for five years and guests would often arrive to do my intermediate classes saying that they should be able to do Pilates as they have been doing yoga for x number of years. I would reply that that was great but they still needed to do a Pilates beginners class as you can compare it to playing instruments - you may be able to read music but if you can play the piano it doesn't mean you can play the violin!

Why would you want to go on a Pilates holiday?
Because you have several lessons in a short period so you can really achieve something. At the same time have a wonderful holiday in a beautiful location with like-minded people. Don’t’ book if you don't want to have a lot of fun!

What if you’ve never done Pilates before?
We ask you before the holiday what level you are. Beginners and those who have been doing Pilates for years are equally welcome. There is enough time to work with everyone at their individual level.

So it can give you a good taster of Pilates?
I believe you get more than a taster - you really get into the method. We go over all the principles and basics, making sure that you truly understand the core work. Everyone goes home at the end having moved up a notch - and it's a good way to balance out all the wonderful cooking, eating and drinking!

Would you like to join us for an invigorating Pilates holiday in a beautiful Italian landscape? Check out our Pilates holiday options online or order a brochure to see next year's planned trips!

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