Pilates isn’t just stretching for girls and dancers, or another name for yoga. Karl Henare, Founder of Kia Kaha Studios busts the myths and tells us what to expect from a Pilates class.

I know all about Pilates but I’ve never tried it….

Pilates; you’re familiar with it. Karen down the road swears by it. She seems like one of those ‘naturally fit’ types who can easily touch her toes though. She probably just goes along for a good stretch and a bit of a social thing. Doesn’t even break a sweat. Definitely not for me, no, I like to feel like I’ve actually done a workout.

While you may be familiar with Pilates and have preconceptions of what it involves, the reality can be quite different. Karl Henare, founder of Kia Kaha Studios busts some common myths.

It’s for dancers and girls. Or dancing girls.

Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates definitely wasn’t a Josehphine. A manly man. A German-American ex gymnast and bodybuilder who taught wrestling and self defence during World War 1. Pilates was invented for men. Kia Kaha Studio’s founder Karl Henare is a man. Men, you’re most definitely welcome in our classes and we’d love to hear how you feel at the end. Ladies, get your partners along and let them feel the burn!

Pilates is pretty much just stretching right?

Definitely not. Stretching (and increased flexibility) is a by-product of Pilates, which in its essence is full body, strength-based training. While your muscles are at work, be prepared to flex the muscles of your brain too. Coordination (proprioception) – where and how the body is moving during a Pilates class – strengthens and reinforces the bond between mind and muscle. 

It’s really just another name for yoga isn’t it?

Traditionally, physical postures only make up a small part of ‘yoga’, with breathwork and meditation equally important aspects of a holistic practice. Pilates takes more of a functional and scientific approach to movement, focussing on strength without an OM or reference to ‘the divine self’ in sight! Pilates does have a sneaky little secret though, while you’re concentrating so hard on moving your arms, lifting your legs, listening to instruction and breathing, you are in fact being very ‘mindful’ and may just be taking some steps towards meditative movement.  We challenge you to think about what you’re going to cook for dinner!

But I’m just not that flexible.

Then you definitely need Pilates in your life! Modern lifestyles aren’t kind to our range of movement, and as we age mobility tends to decrease. Think about the handstands, cartwheels and monkey bars of your youth! While a Pilates class might not have you back there (straight away), you might just be touching your toes again soon. 

What can I expect from a Kia Kaha Studios Pilates class?

  • Sweat
  • Challenge
  • Pain (the good kind. In the moment and likely in the next day or two – hello muscles you didn’t know existed)
  • A laugh
  • A community 
  • A workout leaving your body feeling good, not punished

Consider the myths busted..go on, try a Kia Kaha Pilates class