What exactly is Pilates?

Prounounced “Pi lah’ teez” in the USA (and “Pee lah’ teez” or “Pie lah’ taz in other areas of the world),  Pilates is a powerful, dynamic full-body movement system developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900’s. Originally called “Contrology,”–the science of control– the Method utilizes the mind’s connection to the body in order to achieve overall strength and flexibility while creating a sense of physiological balance.

Tell me more about Joseph Pilates?

As a child, Joe was riddled with health issues which inspired him to study human anatomy and a variety of animal movement. He soon overcame his illnesses and went on to become a boxer, a gymnast, a trainer in self-defense and ultimately the creator of ‘Contrology.’

WWI erupted while Joe was living in England.  As a German national he was detained by the British Army. During his internment he began teaching his fellow detainees the exercises he created, which we know today as Pilates Mat work. The Army was so impressed that they transferred Joe to another camp where he was instructed to help rehabilitate enemy soldiers who had been seriously wounded and now bedridden. Faced with an almost impossible task, Joe drew inspiration from the hospital beds. He reconstructed them so he had access to their springs, and added pulleys and some rope to create a system of support to aid the soldiers’ movements to “re-form” them.  Today, looking at a Reformer, the design evolution from hospital bed is clearly evident.

Once the war ended, Joe briefly returned to Germany. In 1926 he boarded a ship from Europe to America. During the crossing he met his future wife, Clara, who had a background in teaching and nursing. Together they opened the first Pilates studio in Manhattan and worked alongside one another until Joe passed away in 1967. Clara continued to teach and run the studio until her death a decade later.

The Pilates Method went on to become more popular than either one of them could have imagined. Today we call it Pilates instead of “Contrology,” and it is practiced the world over. As more people learn about its numerous health benefits, it validates one of Joe’s most recognized quotes, “My work is 50 years ahead of its time.”

Joe and Clara had distinctly different styles in their teachings of the Method.  Joe’s strong German fortitude combined with his past experience as a gymnast and boxer, it’s no surprise that his approach was a bit “hardcore.” He could be forceful in his instruction and was unwavering in his pursuit of excellence. He worked hard and played hard and was definitely the outspoken force behind the Method.

Alternatively, Clara used her approachable style and nurturing character to develop special Pilates techniques tailored to each individual’s body regardless of fitness level or health. She was the kinder, gentler Pilates Master whose role in developing the Method into a positive form of movement-based exercises recognized around the world is undeniable.

Together they formed the perfect union in developing a repertoire that continues to grow in popularity. Because Pilates is not just a series of exercises, but is a Movement System, it can be used to challenge the most advanced athlete while helping another recover from an injury. It is a testament to “the Method” that everyday people– across all levels of fitness, health, occupation and recreational interests– turn to Pilates for its wide-ranging benefits.

At Studio L2, we combine Joe and Clara’s distinctive styles of teaching to ensure we deliver suitable and appropriate results to the diverse needs of all our students.

How often do I need to do Pilates to see results?

Joe used to tell people, “In ten sessions, you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference, and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body.”

Realistically, achieving a whole new body in 30 sessions depends on the type and length of each session, the period over which the sessions are taken and of course, your individual body type. The good news is most people express that they feel taller, more elongated and invigorated after just one class. To maximize results we recommend that you participate in at least 2 hours of Pilates a week at the studio, and another hour of “home-work.”  Practicing safely and CONSISTENTLY is key.  Studio L2 offers a wide range of classes 7 days a week.

Can I do Pilates every day?

Absolutely!  The classes offered at Studio L2 are safe to practice every day. Pilates is very different than CrossFit; with Pilates, you can experience an incredibly challenging workout without suffering from disabling pain a day or two later.  Does that mean you won’t be sore when you first start?  You most likely will feel a little sore when you first start Pilates, as you’ll discover deep, stabilizer muscles that you didn’t even know exist!  Once you’re hooked, you’ll want to learn all of the 500+ exercises that Joe created…right now!  As you progress, the best advice we can give you is:

-don’t get caught up in trying to advance too quickly

-don’t forget about the Fundamentals

-don’t write off Beginner classes as you may find them to be even more challenging once your body is realigned and restored its balance

People say Pilates is like Yoga? So what’s the difference?

Pilates and Yoga are often grouped into the same category (Facebook business pages, for example!). They have some similarities, but are mostly different:

Origin – The origins of Yoga date back to ancient India. Pilates was created in the early 20th Century. Joseph Pilates studied yoga and incorporated certain postures into his method.

Breathing –  Yogis fill the belly with air during inhalation. Pilates practitioners bypass the belly and fill the lungs and ribs with air during inhalation.

Equipment –  Yoga may utilize small props in order to assist the practitioner achieve postures, but it is mainly done with a mat. Pilates utilizes specialized apparatus created by Joe himself.

Stretching – Yoga holds stretches. Pilates moves through the “two way stretch.” (aka “length and opposition”)

Classes – Yoga is often done in a group format, and an instructor leads by demonstration. A Pilates instructor teaches with verbal and tactile instruction and cues rather than demonstration.

Mind-Body-Spirit – Both evoke a mind-body connection. Yoga is rooted in a spiritual energy. Pilates is a moving meditation capable of enhancing wellness.

Pricing – Yoga can be relatively inexpensive because it can be done in a large group format and does not require costly equipment. Classical Pilates is equipment derived and while Mat Work classes have often been taught to large groups, it is not how Joseph Pilates intended it . At Studo L2, we offer small group classes so that our skilled instructors can provide a more personal level of service and attention. Our Classical Studio is equipped with top of the line Peak Pilates® equipment including Reformer/Tower combos, MVe Chairs, Cadillac,  Ladder Barrels, Pedi-Pole, and various arc barrels and props.

I’m still not quite sure I understand what Pilates is. I see big “torture machines” and it looks very intimidating!

We hear that a lot!  Yes, the Reformers can look a bit scary, but they’re perfect for helping “re-form” your body back into proper alignment as well as decompress your spine while increasing flexibility and challenging balance.  Because it’s truly difficult to explain the repertoire of exercises and how they feel, we invite pilates newbies into our studio for a 30-minute complimentary consultation so they can try for themselves. Call us at 952-250-1552 or email us at info@StudioL2Online.com so we can get you scheduled!

If I decide to do Pilates, why should I go to Studio L2 instead of somewhere else?

There’s no denying that there are plenty of wonderful Pilates studios in the Twin Cities.  What sets us apart is this:

First and foremost, you are our Student, not our Client.  What that means is that we’re committed to teaching you what pilates truly is–a Lifestyle…not just a class where you come in and workout and don’t think about it again until the next time.  We teach you Movement and how you can apply that in your everyday life, inside and especially outside the Studio.  Second, our school of thought regarding cost is more like Joe’s than most modern day Studios.  Typically, a Pilates studio charges more for equipment classes, like the Reformer, and less for Mat Classes.  At Studio L2, we believe in comprehensive training, so we charge the same price for group classes across the board.  Our thought process is that you’re paying us to learn and do Pilates, and it’s our job to fulfill that.  But Pilates isn’t JUST Reformer work. Pilates is a whole movement system that includes all of the apparatus, including Mat.  If you only experience one piece of equipment, you’re really only hitting the tip of the iceberg.  And finally, our team of instructors is exceptional!  All of our teachers go through a minimum of 500 hours of training and then sit for the Pilates Method Alliance exam to obtain their Certification.

You’ve convinced me! Now how do I sign up for a class?

That depends!  If you’ve been doing pilates at another studio (either privates or group classes) we invite you in for a 30-minute Complimentary Placement session.  This is important because “intermediate” doesn’t always equal “intermediate” at a different studio, and it’s important that we get you in the classes that are the right fit for you.   (Placement Session)   If you’ve never done pilates before (or you’ve done DVD matwork at home) then you can either sign sign up for the Complimentary 30-minute Session OR you can purchase our New Student Special which is 3 private sessions. (New Student Special)

The New Student Special it is! Tell me more!

You’ll receive three private training sessions where you’ll learn the Fundamentals, Principles, Introductory exercises and the equipment.  At the end of your 3 sessions, your instructor will give you the thumbs up to join Beginner classes or recommend continuing on with more Privates.  (Maybe you have an injury you’re recovering from, recent surgery, or you just prefer Privates instead of group classes.)

Let’s get you started!  (New Student Special)

If you still have questions, please call us at 952.250.1552 or email us at


Have a question that isn’t awnsered? Give us a call at 952-250-1552 or email us at info@StudioL2Online.com