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Cynthia Jordan

Discover 19 Benefits of Pilates


Pilates, famed for strengthening and toning the body’s core, positively impacts quality of life in many ways. From strength and balance to sleep and immunity, its advantages are far-reaching and transformative.

A new article from Healthline details nineteen benefits of Pilates, and includes information on its positive effects on pregnancy and weight loss. It even talks about the unique strengths of the Reformer.

Read the article here

Brace Point Pilates COVID-19 Response

UPDATE 9/10/2020:

The summer outdoor studio has been a great success! I might do it every year. However, the mornings are getting colder and we know the rain will be on its way soon, so I will be moving everything back inside. In preparation, and to add a further layer of protection (along with masks, cleaning and distancing), I have purchased a Molekule air purifier. This will be running at all times and has been shown to destroy 99.9% of airborne viruses. According to the Molekule website:

“Molekule’s PECO technology has been demonstrated to capture and destroy airborne viruses, including testing of proxy viruses for novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza. While we have not tested on SARS-CoV-2 specifically, Molekule devices do meet the performance criteria recommended by the FDA guidelines for use in reducing exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings.”

In addition, the Molekule eradicates the full spectrum of indoor air pollutants, and is the only air purification technology that can destroy airborne viruses. So, I feel confident that we can work safely indoors with very little risk of virus transmission.

Brace Point Pilates is open and serving clients in our new outdoor studio!

The research on COVID-19 is telling us that transmission is much more likely indoors than outdoors: the virus dissipates quickly in fresh air and sunlight can help disinfect surfaces. 

I have moved the studio outdoors for as long as the weather remains warm enough. It is actually really pleasant! We are on a covered back deck, surrounded by greenery which offers total privacy. There is an infrared heater aimed at the Reformer for cooler mornings. Both the client and I are masked.

Clients enter through the front door, proceed to the powder room to hand wash, then down to the studio. For $80 clients can purchase their own personal straps (made of fabric which is difficult to sanitize between clients). All equipment and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned between clients.

As we move into the darker, colder, rainy days, I will be researching air purifiers, portable room ventilation, and UV disinfecting lights so that when it is time to move back inside, I can create the safest environment possible for my clients, my family, and myself.

Remember that exercise is known to help boost your immune system. During World War I, Joe Pilates was interned in England as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man.

The health conditions in the internment camps were subpar, but Pilates insisted that everyone in his cell block participate in daily exercise routines to help maintain both their physical and mental well-being. However, some of the injured German soldiers were too weak to get out of bed. Not content to leave his comrades lying idle, Pilates took springs from the beds and attached them to the headboards and footboards of the iron bed frames, turning them into equipment that provided a type of resistance exercise for the bedridden “patients.”

These mechanized beds were the forerunners of the spring-based exercise machines such as the Cadillac and the Universal Reformer, for which the Pilates method is known today. Pilates legend has it that during the great flu epidemic of 1918, not a single one of the soldiers under his care died. He credited his technique (which he called “Contrology”) for the prisoners’ strength and fitness—remarkable under the suboptimal living conditions of internment camps, which were hit especially hard by this deadly flu.

So, if you are hesitant to go back to your gym or even your indoor Pilates studio, please consider coming to Brace Point Pilates for one-on-one outdoor training.

No Excuses


Occasionally I meet people who say, “I would LOVE to do Pilates, but my knee (back, hip, shoulder, fill in the blank) is injured or hurting so I can’t do it right now.” Well, when you have a nagging injury or body part that has chronic pain, now is in fact the perfect time to start a Pilates program.

The beauty of Pilates is that it is totally adaptable and can accommodate almost any physical restrictions a client may have. Following the basic principles of good alignment and body mechanics, any Pilates exercise can be modified to account for limitations. For example, if your knees hurt, the Pilates Reformer can allow you to gently begin to rehabilitate the muscles supporting the joint by taking away the forces of gravity, and gradually build up strength so that full function is restored. With the use of various straps and props, the equipment can also be used to keep the rest of the body healthy and strong while the injured part recovers. When I taught Pilates at Pacific Northwest Ballet, dancers injured or recovering from surgery were able to keep the rest of their bodies fit and primed for ballet so that the transition back to full time dancing was practically seamless.

Additionally, a good Pilates instructor can help you figure out why you are hurting in the first place – often pain is the result of compensations due to poor joint alignment. Simply by learning proper placement and muscle recruitment, full function and pain free range of motion can be regained.

If you are concerned about starting a Pilates exercise program because you are currently suffering from pain or an injury, please contact me ( so we can discuss your specific situation and determine how Pilates training can get you back to feeling great!

Wheelchair, Walker, Cane – NO WAY!!


For about a year I attended a business meeting that met in a room at a senior living facility. I saw so many seniors in wheelchairs, with walkers or canes. “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT!!!,” I wanted to shout at the age 30, 40, and 50 something people in my meeting. I could see that many of them did not take care of their bodies through any sort of regular physical fitness program. But if they didn’t wake up and start doing something, one day they too would be resorting to a wheelchair, walker or cane to get around. I feel passionately that old age does not have to mean debilitating physical limitation.

Barring a catastrophic accident or serious illness, there is no reason that a person in their 60’s and older cannot live a functional life and maintain independence and freedom. I look to my parents as an excellent life lesson: my dad, age 84, can travel, take out the garbage, bike to his office, drive, lift stuff, work out at his gym, ski, and go out in the sub zero weather of this current Midwestern winter without suffering any consequences. My mom, also age 84, can no longer drive, uses a cane or walker in the house, a wheelchair in the airport (though she no longer feels confident to travel), is housebound, cannot walk to the mailbox, grocery shop, clothes shop or go the theater by herself, could not pick up her baby grandson (!) when he was born, and cannot get up off the floor if she falls.

What’s the difference? My entire life I have seen my dad play squash, run, bike or go to the gym to workout every day. Every. Single. Day. My mom, on the other hand, did nothing more strenuous than take a leisurely walk after dinner, when she felt like it.

Yes, as we get older, things deteriorate, we get stiff, we get arthritis from wear and tear of our joints, maybe we gain a bit (or a ton) of weight. Injuries and scar tissue accumulate. We can deal with the incremental creeping changes until one day we wake up and need a home care assistant to help us get out of bed!

There are three main components to physical fitness – cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Everyone needs to get a minimum of 150 minutes (preferably more) of cardio exercise per week, two or three sessions of strength training, and two short sessions of stretching per week. Pilates combines strength and flexibility training and is an excellent way for seniors to improve their balance, core strength, muscle mass and joint stability. My older clients experience improvements in balance, reduction of knee pain, greater shoulder mobility and overall improvement in their ability to function effectively in their daily lives.

It’s never too late to begin a strengthening program and if anything, it becomes even more important as we age to lessen the impact of the aging process.

To learn how Brace Point Pilates can help you improve the quality of your life today and tomorrow, contact us today.

The Benefits, History and Principals of Pilates


From Wikipedia..

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that may help build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core or center, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.


Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates, a physical-culturist from Mönchengladbach, Germany. During the first half of the 20th century, he developed a system of exercises which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. Pilates believed that mental and physical health are interrelated.

In his youth, he had practiced many of the physical training regimes available in Germany, and it was from these he developed his own work. It has clear connections with the physical culture of the late Nineteenth Century, such as the use of special apparatuses and claims that the exercises could cure ill health. It is also related to the tradition of “corrective exercise” or “medical gymnastics” as typified by Pehr Henrik Ling.

Pilates published two books related to his training method: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934, and Return to Life Through Contrology in 1945. In common with early twentieth century physical culture, Pilates had an extremely high regard for the Greeks and the physical prowess demonstrated in their Gymnasium.

His first students that went on to teach his methods and open studios, and most prominent include: Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Maja Wollman, Mary Bowen, Carola Treir, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Lolita San Miguel, and Mary Pilates, Joseph’s niece. Contemporary Pilates includes both the “Modern” Pilates and the “Classical/Traditional” Pilates. Modern Pilates is partly derived from the teaching of some first generation students, while Classical preserves and promotes the original work as Joseph Pilates taught it.

The method was originally confined to the few and normally practised in a specialised studio, but with time this has changed and Pilates, in whatever form, can now be found in community centres, gyms, and physiotherapy rooms, and many other fitness services offered by Pilates-inspired businesses who have mixed their own understanding of Pilates with other disciplines. A variety of “modern” schools of Pilates, heavily influenced by a physiotherapeutic approach to Pilates, have adapted the Pilates system in different ways for reasons unknown to and unapproved by its creator, Joseph Pilates, and by the contemporary schools of Authentic Pilates who continue teaching his method. Joseph Pilates died as sole master of his own method and still controlling the intellectual property of it, including his apparatus: a fact that only changed with the Lawsuit of October 2000.


Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen, two students of Romana Kryzanowska, published the first modern book on Pilates, The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning, in 1980 and in it they outlined six “principles of Pilates”. These have been widely adopted—and adapted—by the wider community. The original six principles were concentration, control, center, flow, precision, and breathing.

Pilates demands intense focus: “You have to concentrate on what you’re doing all the time. And you must concentrate on your entire body for smooth movements.”This is not easy, but in Pilates the way that exercises are done is more important than the exercises themselves. In 2006 at the Parkinson Center of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, the concentration factor of the Pilates method was being studied in providing relief from the degenerative symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

“Contrology” was Joseph Pilates’ preferred name for his method and it is based on the idea of muscle control. “Nothing about the Pilates Method is haphazard. The reason you need to concentrate so thoroughly is so you can be in control of every aspect of every moment.”All exercises are done with control with the muscles working to lift against gravity and the resistance of the springs and thereby control the movement of the body and the apparatus. “The Pilates Method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy.”

For practitioners to control their bodies, they must have a starting place: the center. The center is the focal point of the Pilates Method. Many Pilates teachers refer to the group of muscles in the center of the body—encompassing the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs—as the “powerhouse”. All movement in Pilates should begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs.

Flow or efficiency of movement
Pilates aims for elegant sufficiency of movement, creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. Once precision has been achieved, the exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina. In other words, the Pilates technique asserts that physical energy exerted from the center should coordinate movements of the extremities: Pilates is flowing movement outward from a strong core.

Precision is essential to correct Pilates: “concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value”.The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones. Pilates is here reflecting common physical culture wisdom: “You will gain more strength from a few energetic, concentrated efforts than from a thousand listless, sluggish movements”. The goal is for this precision to eventually become second nature, and carry over into everyday life as grace and economy of movement.

Breathing is important in the Pilates method. In Return to Life, Pilates devotes a section of his introduction specifically to breathing “bodily house-cleaning with blood circulation”. He saw considerable value in increasing the intake of oxygen and the circulation of this oxygenated blood to every part of the body. This he saw as cleansing and invigorating. Proper full inhalation and complete exhalation were key to this. “Pilates saw forced exhalation as the key to full inhalation.” He advised people to squeeze out the lungs as they would wring a wet towel dry. In Pilates exercises, the practitioner breathes out with the effort and in on the return. In order to keep the lower abdominals close to the spine; the breathing needs to be directed laterally, into the lower rib cage. Pilates breathing is described as a posterior lateral breathing, meaning that the practitioner is instructed to breathe deep into the back and sides of his or her rib cage. When practitioners exhale, they are instructed to note the engagement of their deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and maintain this engagement as they inhale. Pilates attempts to properly coordinate this breathing practice with movement, including breathing instructions with every exercise. “Above all, learn to breathe correctly.”

Exactly what is Pilates?


According to Wikipedia…
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, and popular in many countries, including Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. As of 2005, there were 11 million people practicing the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States alone.
Pilates called his method “Contrology”.
Here’s the entire Wiki entry