Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Lithe and Lean

Posted by Carren |

I'm not a sports person-at all. It's no wonder my form of physical activity has always been dancing or any derivative thereof. This assignment was a good chance to get into another form of exercise that was both meditative and relaxing. Seeking out these studios was tiring, more than I thought it would be. I did get to try a little Pilates and believe me, it's harder than it looks.

Need to work out those abs, tone your muscles and don a flexible bod? Let Pilates be your regimen
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Carla Casanova
Published: MEGA September 2009

Today’s lifestyle is unlike any history has seen before. More and more work is knowledge-based, resulting in desk jobs that strain parts of our bodies out of its natural shape. One way to remedy these signs of the times is to engage in Pilates.

Following a Pilates program affords the body many benefits: a balanced pain-free body; toned, longer and leaner muscles; increased ease in movement; improved balance, coordination and circulation; greater core strength and stability; a combination of strength and flexibility; as well as improved performance in other sports. Many practitioners also report an increased mindfulness in their daily activities resulting in increased fulfillment.

Here is a starter guide for those interested in infusing this physical regimen into their lifestyles.

New York Classical Pilates

Also known as True Pilates, the original method is a type of resistance exercise that was formulated over 80 years ago by Joseph H. Pilates. While in an English internment camp during World War I, Joseph attached bed springs to headboards and footboards of iron bed frames to help injured German soldiers exercise. Cecilia Sicangco Ibarrola, former Ballet Philippines principal dancer, opened the first Pilates studio in the Philippines in the 90s.

HOW: Uses spring-driven machines and floor exercises to develop the muscles of the pelvis, abs, lower back, mid-back, and shoulder girdle.

WHERE: Integrated Body Arts
227 Nicanor Garcia Street
Bel Air Village 2, Makati City
Phone: (2) 890 1286
Stott Pilates

Developed in the 80s by Moira and Lindsay Merrithew, Stott Pilates is a result of inputs from physical therapists, fitness professionals, and includes the latest developments from biomedical research.

HOW: “Stott Pilates is modified for the population, based on their work and daily activities,” begins Stott Pilates instructor Marilen Concepcion of B+B studio, the first proponent of the Stott method in the country. She also describes it as a “form of controlled lengthening,” engaging the mind, as well as the body. Rather than large, sweeping gestures, movements requiring greater control and stability are asked of Stott Pilates students.

WHERE: B+B studio
Carmen Jimenez-Ong and Marilen Concepcion
31st Street corner 2nd Ave., Bonifacio Global City
Phone: (2) 815 1009
Mobile: (917) 899BODY
Web: <>

Polestar Pilates

Polestar Pilates began as a program created for rehabilitation specialists who wanted to integrate Pilates into their current practice. Carolyn Lim of Balanced Body Studio was the first to introduce this method in the Philippines 10 years ago.

HOW: Carolyn uses a variety of imagery to communicate the body movement she desires. Everyday activities such as reaching for your handbag at the back of the car, parking your car in reverse, or walking down the hallway with fabulous dangling earrings are used as visual metaphors to encourage the right body movement. “Some people are overwhelmed with technical terms, people need [to be able] to apply [Pilates] to their daily life,” she emphasizes.

WHERE: Balanced Body Studio
Carolyn Lim
Renaissance Towers 1000, 7th Floor Tower F
Meralco Avenue, Pasig City
Telephone: (2) 633 4574
Website: <>

First formulated by Tamara di Tella of Buenos Aires in 2004, it fuses the teachings from both tango and Pilates, noting that both physical regimens rely on core control and concentration to successfully execute the exercises.

HOW: Tangolates uses a T-Ditella, which Jun likens to a tabletop turned upside down. Its wobbly legs are the support on which a number of movements are executed, requiring increased control from its participants. it also takes two to Tangolates, says certified Tangolates instructor Jun Borja, giving Tangolates students the opportunity to share their workout with likeminded individuals. Because of its Tango heritage, it also introduces more of a cardiovascular workout that is not emphasized in other methods.

WHERE: Dance Vision Studio
Jun Borja
229 Wilson Street, San Juan
Phone: (2) 724 5446, (2) 727 2578

What Pilates won’t do for you

Pilates in itself does not emphasize a cardiovascular workout. One must also perform cardiovascular activities such as walking, swimming and spinning classes. Moreover, Pilates cannot stand as the sole form of exercise in a weight loss program. Marilen explains, “Pilates won’t make you lose weight, but in a weight loss program, it’s a good thing for you to do so you won’t get soft and flabby.”


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