Wellness Focus – May 2014: Pilates

I  was alternating between wellness focus and fitness focus when trying to come up with the first part of the title for this post.

 Dictionary.com defines wellness as:

1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.

2. an approach to health care that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to 

   emphasizing treating diseases.

And fitness as:

1. the state of being fit

2. biology

a.  the degree of adaptation of an organism to its environment, determined by its genetic constitution
b.  the ability of an organism to produce viable offspring capable of surviving to the next  generation

As you can see I settled on wellness. Partly because my background in public health has taught me that a holistic approach is usually the best. And, partly because I have long since realized that it’s not in my genetic constitution to have a six pack. Also, the whole offspring capable of surviving is unknown at this time(what if there’s a zombie apocalypse?) so wellness it is.

This wellness focus is about Pilates.  Pilates is an exercise system designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body. It was created by Joseph Pilates and was originally referred to as Contrology. Joseph was originally from Germany but lived in England in 1914 where he worked as a circus performer and a boxer. He was interned by British authorities during World War I and while there he started teaching his system to his fellow inmates. It’s well documented that those who practiced his method survived the great flu outbreak of that period. When he was transferred to a different camp he became the caretaker to many bedridden internees, and used his “Contrology” to help them restore joint function, muscle strength and re-educate the body. He eventually emigrated to the US around 1925 where he continued teaching his system. It is still practiced today as he intended by classical Pilates teachers. 

Pilates is a big part of my personal system for wellness. I practice it regularly and back in this post I talked about starting the process to become certified as a Pilates teacher. I started with the level one certification that year and the next year became certified as a level II Pilates teacher. 

The most widely used equipment in classical Pilates are the mat, the reformer, the chair the cadillac/trapeze table and the ladder barrel. In the pictures below my Pilates instructor is putting me through the paces on the different apparatus. I’ve included them for anyone who might be curious as to the different types of Pilates exercises. Please note that I am not by any means perfect. Pilates is a life long discipline in my opinion so I still take classes regularly to work on my own personal practice. I also feel that the best teachers never stop being students themselves. 

Arabesque 1 on the Pilates Reformer

Exercise goals: 

  • Challenges balance and control 
  • Flexibility
  • Works Hamstrings
Prepping for “Spread Eagle” on the trapeze performed on a Cadillac

Exercise goals:

  • Works sequential articulation/extension of the spine
  • Uses the body weight to strengthen the body
  • Works biceps/lats
Exercises on the Pilates Chair

Exercise goals:

  • Balance and control
  • Challenges and strengthens the powerhouse(core/abs)
Working on “Swan” on the Ladder Barrel

Exercise goals:

  • Strengthens the back and abdominals

The plan is to make “Wellness Focus” a regular part of the blog. I think I’ll start posting my monthly workouts (you can find some other exercise related posts here)  again along with things that have contributed to my overall health for the month. 

How about you? What’s your wellness focus as we enter the halfway point of 2014? 

Stardate :14001.06

**P.S. I do believe that when this posts it will be my fifth straight Sunday posting. Yippee!
           I think a giveaway is in order. Thank you to all who have taken the time to visit and comment.

           See you next week !


  1. ahhhsoNeo
    June 2, 2014 / 3:18 am

    My wellness focus is on minimizing the amount of sugar and yeast in my diet. I try to follow a candida/modified paleo diet, but I find that if I'm too strict I very easily fall off the bandwagon and binge. I'm back working out regularly, so now I want to focus on healthy eating.

    • Of the comely
      June 2, 2014 / 10:41 am

      I'm with you on limiting sugar. There's a whole school of thought about it leading to inflammation in the body. The big thing for me with healthy eating is planning ahead. Glad to hear you're back to working out regularly 🙂

    • Of the comely
      June 4, 2014 / 4:11 am

      Hi Audrey. I agree the reformer is fun. Have you tried any other Pilates equipment?

  2. Beauty
    June 2, 2014 / 11:07 pm

    This is a nice post and I really like it. Thanks so much for sharing Comely.Also, I like the new Blog layout along with all the new facts and information that you are sending my way..

    • Of the comely
      June 4, 2014 / 4:12 am

      Hi Beauty! Thank you. I aim to please 🙂

  3. simplychic
    June 6, 2014 / 4:41 am

    i just read two fitness posts in a row! is that a sign?

    • Of the comely
      June 8, 2014 / 8:53 pm

      Ha! You tell me 🙂

  4. Titis Passion
    June 23, 2014 / 8:03 am

    I love pilates too, and I take mat class every now and then. Wish I could take them more often.

    • Of the comely
      July 15, 2014 / 8:41 am

      Mat classes are great. Mari Winsor has some good DVDs you could use at home.

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