CLICK on one of our most frequently asked questions to learn more

Where is your core?

Your 'core' or 'core torso' refers to the area of your body between your diaphragm (breathing muscle separating your chest from your abdomen) and your pelvic floor. It includes all of the joints of the lumbar spine and lower thoracic (chest) and the pelvis. The deep muscles that support this region include the transversus abdominus (deepest abdominal layer), the multifidus (deepest back muscle), the pelvic floor and diaphragm. A double-layer bag of fascia surrounds and supports these muscles. This 'inner core unit' of fascia and muscles give the spine its stability and work in an anticipatory manner (i.e., the muscles contract prior to movement of an arm or leg) to protect the spine from injury.

What is core-based training?

Core-based training focuses on restoring the timing and proper sequencing of your deepest muscle groups, or 'local stabilizers'. These are key for controlling joint movement and sustaining joint stability – qualities that can diminish due to repetitive movements of daily living, high-demand sports training, a trauma or pain resulting from an injury. Every region of the body has local stabilizer muscle groups: the shoulder girdle, hips and pelvis, knees, wrists, etc. Core-based Pilates training uses alignment corrections, tactile cues and imagery to teach you how to activate the local stabilizers of your 'core torso' synergistically, and then adds exercises to strengthen these deep muscles during integrated, whole-body movements. We welcome you to read more about core-based training on the website of Diane Lee & Associates: www.dianelee.ca

What is "Mindful Movement" and mind-body exercise?

Mindful Movement starts with the understanding that the body and mind are interconnected in everything that we do. Mind-body forms of exercise help to reduce stress and bring a calmer state of mind through a focus on breathing and precise, controlled movements. STOTT PILATES and ZEN•GA* are mind-body exercise methods that take an intelligent and mindful approach to fitness. Like the MELT Method®, all of these mind-body techniques work on developing both kinesthetic awareness and proprioception. Kinesthetic awareness refers to a sensory skill that our body uses to know where it is in space, and proprioception refers to the internal sensors in our joints, muscles and fascia that provide our central nervous system with information need to produce stability and coordinated movement. CorSano Pilates uses Mindful Movement techniques as part of an integrated approach to teaching core-based, whole-body conditioning.

Why is Pilates one of the fastest-growing methods of exercise?

People are becoming increasingly interested in fitness modalities that keep them feeling fit and looking good, help relieve stress and improve their quality of life. People also want a workout program that they can look forward to as a source of energy and a way to internalize and focus their thoughts. Many celebrities and professional athletes such as Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Sting, Rod Stewart, Martha Stewart, Sofia Coppola, Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and do Pilates for these very reasons. However, you don't have to be a celebrity to do Pilates! Pilates offers tremendous benefits to men and women of all ages and all abilities. The perfect complement to cardiovascular exercise, Pilates helps develop optimal strength, flexibility, endurance and posture without building bulky muscles or stressing joints. More and more people are realizing that an investment in Pilates is one you make in the rest of your life.

What is the difference between STOTT PILATES and other Pilates methods?

STOTT PILATES incorporates modern exercise principles, including the latest thinking about spinal rehabilitation strength training, fascial integration and athletic performance enhancement For example, some approaches may promote a flat back, whereas STOTT PILATES exercises are designed to restore the natural curvatures of the spine and rebalance the muscles around the joints. There is a strong emphasis on scapular stabilization, lumbo-pelvic placement and postural alignment, along with optimal muscle activation. The repertoire of Matwork and equipment-based exercises contains a full range of preparations and modifications that caters to many different body types and abilities. The STOTT PILATES method also focuses on functional fitness, making it applicable to everyday life.

How does Pilates differ from weight training?

Pilates and weight training can be combined in a fitness program, and are a great complement to each other. However unlike weight training, Pilates teaches you to work from your deeper ('core') postural muscles to your superficial muscles. This ensures stability of the body's support structures such as the spine and pelvis before engaging the larger muscles that create movements. In each Pilates exercise, the focus is on the quality of each movement instead of the number of repetitions or "sets." In contrast to weight lifting—which functions by strengthening muscles in isolation—Pilates recruits groups of muscles simultaneously and is three-dimensional (i.e. exercises can be performed using all planes of movement), making it a highly functional form of strength training. Pilates exercises can be performed on a floor mat or using specialized resistance equipment such as the V2Max Plus* Reformer*, Cadillac and Stability Chair* . Using springs instead of weights, Pilates equipment provides resistance that more closely resembles natural muscle contractions. There is greater resistance at the muscle's strongest point of contraction and less resistance on the initiation and completion of the contraction, so there is less stress on tendons and ligaments.

Is Pilates like Yoga?

In some respects Pilates is like Yoga. Both emphasize breathing and smooth, long movements that encourage the mind-body connection. The difference is that while Yoga requires moving from one static posture to the next, Pilates generally flows through a series of movements that are more dynamic and progressive and often incorporates resistance equipment. Pilates also places importance on core stability targeting the deepest layer of muscles ('local stabilizers'). These smaller muscles help stabilize and protect the joints, which, in turn, help prevent injury when the larger muscle groups are recruited for full-body movements and athletic performance. CorSano Pilates incorporates ZEN•GA*—a unique blend of the foundational principles of both Yoga and STOTT PILATES*—into group class programming and clients' personal training sessions for a unique fusion workout.

I have a bad back/weak neck muscles/my body aches all over. Will I be able to do Pilates?

Yes! Pilates is low-impact and focuses on core-based training, which strengthens the muscles that support your spine and pelvis. Although you always should consult your physician before starting any exercise routine, a CorSano Pilates workout for those with chronic pain is gentle and controlled. CorSano Pilates has expertise in working with people who are injured, recovery from surgery or suffering chronic pain. Your instructor will modify exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your ability and monitor your improvements. In a Private Session training setting, you will have the instructor's full attention. She will ensure that you are doing the exercises correctly and avoiding movements that may not be recommended for your condition. Initially the focus of your programming will be on core-based training combined with MELT Method® techniques designed to release tension and rebalance the body's natural healing and stability mechanisms. Progress may be slow, but a consistent workout schedule with appropriately chosen exercises, attention and focus will ensure you see results.

What are connective tissue and fascial planes and why are these concepts important as part of my fitness training program?

Connective tissue is a web of fluid-based biological tissue that supports, protects and stabilizes the body. Fascia (from the Latin word, "band") is a specialized type of connective tissue that surrounds individual muscles, groups of muscles, bones, blood vessels and nerves. Organized in fascial planes – or layers – fascia connects structures within the body, allows structures to smoothly glide over one another (e.g., muscles and bones) and transfers forces throughout the body. Fascia is a vital part of our musculoskeletal system; its integrity affects our balance as well as the range and control of our movements. The MELT Method® rehydrates connective tissue and improves balance and stability of the entire neurofascial system for effortless, pain-free living. Fascia-oriented training (such as STOTT PILATES and ZEN•GA* works to maintain the elastic properties of fascia that help achieve and sustain a resilient, healthy body that moves fluidly and efficiently.

What kind of results can I expect from CorSano Pilates?

Consistent training will help you not only see results, but feel results too. If you are new to exercise you will notice improved core stability, flexibility and muscle tone of your entire body. You will learn breathing awareness and tension release. You will improve your alignment, reducing joint stiffness and chronic pain. Your posture will likely improve considerably; especially in a Private Session training setting where an exercise program can be carefully customized to lengthen your tight muscles and strengthen your weak ones. If you're already active in sports or other physical activities, a CorSano Pilates program can complement your current exercise routine by improving your muscle balance and function, core strength, balance, endurance and coordination. For those of you who come to CorSano Pilates following an injury, we have the knowledge, specialized equipment and appropriate exercises that can rehabilitate quickly and safely while optimizing stability and function. CorSano Pilates will challenge you at a level that is safe and effective for your body.

How quickly will I see results?

The average active person doing 2-3 sessions per week will see results within 10-12 sessions. Most clients train at CorSano Pilates once or twice weekly and supplement their Private or Semi-private training with a group MELT-Pilates class and some kind of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aqua fitness, etc.). Your results will vary depending on your goals, your commitment, your current fitness routine and whether you have any existing injuries or special conditions.

Can Pilates help me lose weight?

Pilates can be a positive addition to your overall weight-loss program. The most successful way to achieve weight loss is an exercise plan that includes an aerobic component coupled with a strength-training component, such as STOTT PILATES, and following a balanced diet. Aerobic exercise is important to aid in weight loss, but to lose and keep the weight off, you need to increase your lean muscle mass and muscle tone with a strength-training program. The more muscle tone you have, the more likely you are to burn calories efficiently and lose weight. Exercise such as Pilates has also been shown to increase the circulating levels of serotonin and endorphins in the body that may contribute to improved mood, increased energy levels and may help you resist poor food choices. Pilates also helps support weight loss by improving posture and self-esteem—two important physical and emotional benefits associated with weight loss and overall well-being.