Stars choose Pilates over fad workouts
Renowned Pilates instructor connects the body and mind through six key elements
CHAMPAIGN, IL—Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, and even Ozzy Osbourne have touted the benefits of Pilates, an exercise that has become popular among Hollywood’s elite trend setters. But world-renowned Pilates instructor Rael Isacowitz says Pilates offers more than a fad exercise with a quick fix. “Pilates is not just an exercise, but a system that should be integrated into every facet of life,” he explains.
In his upcoming book, Pilates Anatomy (Human Kinetics, 2011), Isacowitz and coauthor Karen Clippinger take an inside look at Pilates through anatomical illustrations that break down the muscular involvement in every movement and analyze each exercise on this basis. But before an anatomical understanding can be reached, Isacowitz says practitioners must develop a foundation for Pilates through six key elements that connect the body and mind.
“The way in which each person integrates these principles into the practice of Pilates and life itself is individual,” Isacowitiz explains. “The important issue is that the execution of each exercise and the practice of the system as a whole are not just a careless imitation of the exercise steps, but rather a process focused on learning how the exercises are executed and applying these six principles in accordance with your current physical and mental acuity.”
For more information, see Pilates Anatomy.
About the Authors
Rael Isacowitz is a world-renowned practitioner and teacher of Pilates. He has over 30 years of Pilates achievement and is a prominent lecturer and teacher at symposiums, universities, and studios around the globe.
Rael earned his bachelor of education degree from the Wingate Institute, Israel, and holds a master of arts degree in dance from the University of Surrey, England. During his career he has worked with numerous Olympians and many professional athletes and dancers.
Rael’s early Pilates teachers included Alan Herdman and thereafter several of the first-generation Pilates teachers (known as the Elders). To Kathy Grant, Ron Fletcher, Romana Kryzanowska, Eve Gentry, and Lolita San Miguel, Rael owes the inspiration and friendship that have guided his career.
Rael has mastered all levels of the Pilates repertoire and is noted for his unique athleticism and passion for teaching as well as his synthesis of body, mind, and spirit. In 1989, he founded Body Arts and Science International (BASI Pilates), which has developed into one of the foremost Pilates education organizations in the world. At present, BASI Pilates is represented in 20 countries.
Rael has authored the definitive book on Pilates (Pilates, Human Kinetics), published a series of training manuals on all the Pilates apparatus, produced DVDs, designed the revolutionary Avalon equipment, and created Pilates Interactive, the groundbreaking Pilates software. He is a regular contributor to several industry publications. Creativity and energy suffuse his work. For Rael, teaching Pilates is the ultimate gift. Isacowitz resides in Hood River, Oregon.
Karen Clippinger is a professor at California State University at Long Beach, where she teaches functional anatomy for dance, body placement, Pilates, and other dance science courses. She is also on the faculty for Body Arts and Science International (BASI Pilates), where she teaches Pilates certification programs. Furthermore, she teaches continuing education courses for BASI Pilates and other prominent organizations.
Ms. Clippinger holds a master’s degree in exercise science. Her lifelong passion is to make anatomical and biomechanical principles accessible so that people can better understand their bodies, improve technique, and prevent injuries. Her textbook, Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology, exemplifies this mission; reviewers have lauded the book for its combination of scientific comprehensiveness and practical wisdom.
Before joining academia, Clippinger worked as a clinical kinesiologist for 22 years at Loma Linda University Medical Center and several sports medicine clinics in Seattle. She has worked with hundreds of professional dancers and elite athletes and consulted for the U.S. Weightlifting Federation, U.S. race walking team, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. During that time she was drawn to Pilates because of its tremendous versatility and profound benefits for people of varying abilities and aspirations.
Clippinger is a renowned presenter in Pilates, dance, anatomy, and biomechanics. She has given more than 375 presentations throughout the United States and in Australia, Canada, England, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Clippinger was also an exercise columnist for Shape magazine for four years. She resides in Long Beach, California.
Chapter 1. Six Key Principles of Pilates
Questions for Rael Isacowitz and Karen Clippinger