PilatesBody Sculpting From The Core
By Therese Emanuel Grey
Balance The Body, Liz Ann Kudrna, Bozeman, MT - (406) 522-4054
I had never heard of Pilates (pronounced puhladees) exercises before I met movement specialist Liz Ann Kudrna. The philosophy sounded simple: to develop core body strength. After a couple of sessions, I noticed a definite improvement in my posture, my self-awareness, and my abdominal muscle tone. I also felt more poised, more confident in my body and more relaxed.
Don't get me wrong. Pilates exercises aren't a breeze. You definitely get a great all-over workout. I felt muscles for the first time I didn't even know were there. But the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. And the result is almost immediate.
Pilates exercises were developed by gymnast, boxer and skier Joseph Pilates during the second World War. After the war, Pilates moved to New York and trained the dance community. Today, his techniques are popular not only with dancers, athletes and models, but also in physical rehabilitation centers and even with the elderly.
Pilates can help your body look like a dancer's-taller, long and graceful, and moving almost effortlessly. A meeting of East and West, it incorporates elements from martial arts and yoga, like deep belly breathing, lengthening the spine and centering below the navel. The goal is to lengthen the muscles during exercise, rather than making them bulky, and moving from a strong center. Exercises can be modified from gentle stretches to intense weight pulling, so people progress at their own pace.
Liz Ann has extensive expertise in Pilates. Her own posture, muscle tone, grace and ease of movement speaks for itself. She has been helping people with Pilates as a personal trainer and a rehabilitation facilitator for more than 10 years in California and Montana. Her enthusiasm is contagious: "The benefits of this workout are incredible," she says. "Joseph Pilates was definitely a man before his time!"
Liz Ann offers two ways to experience Pilates-based exercise. At her home, she trains people one-on-one with special Pilates equipment called the Universal Reformer, a machine that allows your body to glide as you pull various spring-based weight intensities to work every muscle in your body, while you focus on images that help you move from your core.
You can also attend a Pilates-based mat class that Liz Ann offers twice a week downtown. During the class, you'll stretch and work all of the different muscle groups and leave feeling completely energized, invigorated and balanced from the core.
For more information, please contact Liz Ann at 522-4054 or come to one of her classes, Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Emerson Center's gymnasium. She also teaches in Livingston at Firehall Fitness Center and the Wellness Center.