Frequently Asked Questions


Who was Joseph H. Pilates?

Joseph H. Pilates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany in 1880. He was frail as a child and dedicated his life to developing his own body and improving his health with various activities such as gymnastics, skiing, boxing and diving. Not only did he study Western methods of exercise, but also studied Eastern methods of training such as Yoga and Zen meditation. Disenchanted with all of these regimens he developed his own workout system and equipment that combined Eastern and Western philosophies. During his internment in England during WWI he attached springs to hospital beds for non-ambulatory patients so that they could perform exercises in bed. This work created the foundation of his system while helping patients maintain their strength and general health. The origins of the Reformer, with its spring resistance and sliding carriage, are found in the equipment developed during this period and form the basis of his apparatus work. He then brought his method to New York City in 1926. Soon thereafter, The Pilates Studio® became popular among dancers and celebrities. Joseph Pilates lived a long life and died in 1967 at the age of 87. Today, more than seventy years after the development of the Pilates Method, Joseph Pilates' exercises have become one of the most popular systems of core-strength training worldwide.

Who is Master Teacher Romana Kryzanowska?

Romana Kryzanowska (master teacher, Board of Directors and past President of the Pilates Guild®) began her studies with Joseph Pilates at the recommendation of George Balanchine when she was a young dancer at the School of American Ballet in New York City. In the 1970's, Romana was chosen by Pilates to carry on his work and to train teachers. Romana has taught, lectured, and demonstrated Pilates throughout the world. She carried on Joseph's work at True Pilates NY (formerly Drago's Gymnasium) in New York City and directed the teacher certification seminars for Romana's Pilates until her death in 2013 at the age of 90.

What are the results of studying The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning?

People who consistently Pilates discover that they improve their flexibility, posture, balance, coordination, and alignment. Clients develop a firmer, sleeker body without bulk and feel longer and leaner. Pilates also relieves stress and lower back pain and helps people to sleep better and develop breath control and body awareness. Most clients will also find that their energy level dramatically increases. As Joseph Pilates himself said, "You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions."

Who can use Pilates?

Pilates is suitable for all body types and fitness levels from the highest performing athlete to individuals with a variety of health problems. Our clients are women, men and children over the age of fourteen and consist of housewives, business professionals, athletes, artists, and senior citizens. Since exercises are low-impact, it is perfect for individuals recovering from an injury. As with any exercise regimen, doctor's approval is required to participate in any of our classes.

What makes Pilates so unique?

Unlike other body conditioning programs, the focus of the Pilates Method is precision, concentration and flow of movement. This makes Pilates truly a workout for the mind and the body. Quality is emphasized over quantity. Fewer repetitions are demanded and true concentration is required. Symmetry, control, and flexibility are stressed. The mind is fully engaged while performing each movement, allowing one to have greater muscle control and coordination.

How can I be sure that my instructor is teaching pure Pilates?

Potential Pilates students need to research their instructors' certification. Some certification programs require little training and other programs are quite rigorous. Authentic Pilates® refers to the body-conditioning program taught by the Pilates Studio® in New York City. Instructors can also be certified by Romana's Pilates. Ms. Kryzanowska and her daughter, Sari Pace-Santo, run this training program and have taught the Pilates Method in its purest state for more than three decades. Instructors certified by The Pilates Studio® teach Authentic Pilates® and must complete a rigorous training program and apprenticeship. This program includes 75 pre-requisite sessions with a certified instructor, attendance at a series of training workshops, and an apprenticeship of no less than 600 hours. During these hours the apprentice observes certified instructors and is guided by a "Teacher of Teachers¨. A series of three practical exams and three written exams must be passed prior to solo teaching. Likewise, any instructor certified by the Pilates Guild® is teaching Authentic Pilates®.

Is Pilates a complete workout? Do I need to supplement my Pilates training?

Pilates is a complete mental and physical workout, but as a beginner we suggest adding a cardiovascular component to your exercise regimen.

What condition do I need to be in before starting my Pilates training?

Pilates is suitable for all fitness levels and body types.

Will Pilates help me lose weight?

Pilates changes the body by not only increasing the overall strength of the body, but by toning the body without creating bulk! It is not a weight loss program. Clients do however alter the look of their bodies by slimming and firming muscles. You will look better and feel wonderful!

How many hours a week do I need to spend on Pilates?

Two or three private and/or mat classes per week are sufficient though many clients take classes more often.

Should I begin with mat classes or private sessions?

Ideally, private sessions are recommended so that instructor's can develop a workout tailored to the client's needs and give true individual attention. Mat classes are also a wonderful introduction to the system because they are more cost effective while still strengthening the core muscles needed for apparatus work. We recommend a combination of both. Please note that group mat classes are not suggested for individuals with serious injuries or limitations. Such individuals should inquire about private instruction.

What is the difference between mat classes and private sessions?

Mat classes consist of exercises performed on a mat with some movements performed with magic circles and free-weights. Private classes consist of movements performed on special equipment, or apparatus, originally designed by Joseph Pilates. These include the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, High Chair, Small Barrel, and Large Barrel, as well as many other pieces of equipment unique to Pilates. A typical private class consists of reformer and mat with work on the other apparatus done at the end of each session according to the needs of the body. Both mat classes and private sessions will strengthen the powerhouse and build the strength needed for apparatus work.

How do I make an appointment for a private session?

All private apparatus classes require appointments prior to registration. Call (410) 337-6531, or contact us on-line. You will be placed on our wait list and be notified as soon as space is available.

How do I register for mat classes?

Mat classes are group classes limited to 15 students per class - registration is required. You may call (410) 337-6531 or contact us on-line to be added to our mailing list and to register for upcoming classes.

What should I wear?

All clients are required to wear socks on their feet. Otherwise, we suggest workout clothing you feel comfortable moving freely in. If you choose to wear shorts please wear long ones.

How do I get to the Pilates Center at Goucher College?

Goucher College is located on Dulaney Valley Road, about eight miles north of downtown Baltimore. Use the Baltimore Beltway (Interstate 695), leaving it at exit 27A (Dulaney Valley Road South). Turn left into the entrance of the college, approximately one-half block from the Beltway exit. After you enter the college grounds and pass through the front gatehouse, turn left on the road that encircles the campus and follow the signs toward the athletic facilities. Continue until you see a sign for Decker Sports & Recreation Center. Turn left and park in the visitors lot. Pilates mat classes are held in Room 162, and private apparatus classes are held in Room 102. Follow the signs to your designated class.