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“Dear Diary…” Isis Pilates. Week 1.

January 15, 2010

ISIS Pilates

1615 Foothill Dr. Suite C. Salt Lake City, Utah.


A Background of Pilates

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 and had many ailments as a child: asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever.  His drive (or obsession) to overcome his frailties led him to explore bodybuilding and many other physical pursuits.  During WWI, Joseph was stationed in an internment camp.  While there, he practiced and taught his exercises, which he originally called Contrology.  He also began devising apparatuses to aid in the rehabilitation of the disabled and sick.

In 1923 Joseph Pilates immigrated to the United States where he opened a studio in Manhattan and began rehabilitating and training professional dancers.  He developed over 20 contraptions and over 500 exercises.  Joseph Pilates was a man ahead of his time.  His approach to health and well-being was holistic.  He believed that achieving good health meant the body, mind, and spirit must be addressed as a whole.

Pilates Method, as it is now called, works to strengthen the core (abdominals and back), build muscle tone, increase body awareness, correct posture, and gain flexibility bringing the body back into balance.  It is a progression of safe exercises that create a workout for the entire body and mind that tone muscles and uplift the spirit.-Cher Jolley Parkes

Let me just preface this “Dear Diary…” with a little information of how I became acquainted with Cher.  A dear friend of mine invited me to take a Body Combat class and also a Spin class.  Experiencing these classes taught me, not only of the vast expertise, but also of the aura (for lack of a better word) that follows Cher around wherever she goes, no matter what fitness class she is teaching.  Cher literally has followers.  Wherever she goes, people pay to take classes from her.  You can feel the instant sense of belonging whenever you attend one of her classes.  The anxiety and discomfort that sometimes can manifest when one tries a new fitness regimen are instantly melted away when you are taught by Cher.  Her followers, most likely, have been to many group fitness classes and have realized that she possesses that extra quality that make teachers truly great.  She has the knowledge, certifications, and know-how necessary to instruct others.  But her best quality is her people skills and friendliness.  Warning: If you learn from Cher, every other group fitness teacher will pale in comparison and you will most likely join the ranks of her followers!


Private Sessions            $55.00

Duet Sessions               $60.00

Intro Sessions               $99.00 (involves 3 mandatory one on one sessions)

Group Sessions (offered in 6 week packages)

1 session a week                      $108.00 for 6 weeks

2 sessions a week                     $216.00 for 6 weeks

3 sessions a week                     $324.00 for 6 weeks

4 sessions a week                     $432.00 for 6 weeks

Pilates Mat Classes (Thursday at 6:00am and Friday at 8:00am)

Punch pass of 10 classes           $70.00

Pay per class                            $10.00

Jesse. Week 1. “Dear Diary…”

December 8, 2009, Physical Assessment with Cher

My first session with Cher was a physical assessment of my strength and flexibility.   I didn’t know what to expect but I sure learned a lot.  She started me out by doing squats while holding a huge foam roller over my head.  Simple enough right?  No straining involved, she just took notes of how I was moving my body.  She continued to watch my range of motion, to watch me walk in a straight line, march in place, balance on one leg, and touch my toes.

Here is what she found out:

– My hamstrings are good because I can place my palms on the floor without bending my legs.

– While squatting she noticed that I push up from a squat position more with my right leg; perhaps I am favoring my left hip or the muscles on my left side are tight.  But Cher told me we will find out what it is in the course of our future sessions.

– While squatting and holding the foam roller, I started to gradually drop the foam roller more in front of my face.  This indicates either weakness or tightness in my latissimus dorsi.  Again, we will find out.

– I don’t walk unevenly or turn my feet out weirdly.  Yay!  I’m strangely glad to hear that.

– I tend to slump over when I walk.  (I blame sitting at a desk all day.  I need to pay attention to this A.S.A.P.)

Cher emphasized how Pilates is a beneficial workout that focuses entirely on the spine.  Everything I am about to do will reinforce my tiny stabilizer muscles (muscles that don’t usually get worked in conventional workouts), increase my flexibility, and increase my strength.  While most people realize the need to maintain strength and get in a decent amount of cardio, many don’t realize that the lack of focusing on flexibility and stabilizer muscles can attribute to painful and unhealthy aging.

I am so excited to try Pilates with Cher.  Especially since I have only ever done mat Pilates, and this will be my first time on a Reformer.

December 10, 2009 Pilates with Cher Jolley

Today I began my first beginner session of Pilates.  Like Yoga, Pilates emphasizes the importance of breathing.  When we exercise or exert force, such as lifting weights, our natural reaction is to hold our breath.  If you are consistently aware of what your lungs are doing, your circulation can be consistently moving and you will have more energy.  Unlike Yoga where you hold poses in a stationary position, Pilates is one fluid motion.  Ideally you should always be moving.  For example, when you lift weights you may pause for a second when the weight comes down to a relaxed position; whereas in Pilates you never stop.  Pilates is a combination of reps performed on a Pilates reformer.  Most of your body weight is stationed on the Reformer while you use the special gadgets and handles that are attached to the frame.

Cher focused primarily on my abs today.  She kept reminding me to watch my lower spine and to close up my rib cage.  This is called “neutral position.”  What she was describing to me was exactly what I was taught in ballet when instructors are trying to teach one how to balance.  I am willing to bet that most active or inactive dancers will love Pilates (if they haven’t already tried it) because of how similar the movements are to dance.  Let’s just say that I have been neglecting my abs as of late. Wow!!  I can’t believe how hard it was for me.  Sure I have been doing crunches but I have not been doing them the right way.  It is all about how you hold your spine and rib cage.  I would recommend everyone re-evaluate the way you are doing ab exercises, because you are most likely doing more harm to your spine, rather than good to your abs.

Cher reminded me of two rules that they have at Isis Pilates:

1.  Of course they don’t mind if you say, shit, damn, or hell, but you cannot say CAN’T!!

2.  If at any point during the exercise you say anything bad about yourself or start to tear yourself down, the whole class gets to do push-ups with you!

Ha!  I would for sure be busted if I was in a class setting.  We will see next week when I try a group lesson.

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