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Maintaining balance for fun and health Richard Pena | Sat, Oct 13 2012 12:00 PM

I went over to the Bonita Pilates and Yoga Center the other day and had a pleasant and informative talk with Renee Carlson, the young lady who owns and operates the establishment.  I had been alerted to Carlson by local resident, Barbara Scott, who spoke quite highly of the concept and the ones offering it to the members of the community.

I was not completely unfamiliar with pilates.  My daughter, Coni, has been a practitioner of the art for some years.  On her visits here she generally had a CD that she would play and then practice what the learned person on the tape was telling her.  At that time I thought it was just another form of exercising, something a little more sophisticated than the usual jumping jacks or sit-ups or some of the old standards of which we were more familiar.

Carlson, I learned, is highly qualified to speak on the subject of physical fitness having been involved in the profession for most her adult life.  She is a California girl, born and raised in the Los Angeles area and attending those local schools, that included a couple of degrees from the University of Southern California and the University of the Pacific in Stockton.  She readily admits to being a Trojan.

From what I could gather pilates is closely related to yoga when it comes to our physical well being.  Basically it is the art, and it is an art, of properly learning to use body muscles as they aid adjacent muscles thereby making the entire human being more efficient.  On the long run it is a method that enables the student to take control of one’s whole body.

The controlling factor, says  Carlson, in pilates, as well as yoga, is in the spine.  We learn to use muscles that are going to aid other muscles as they relate to the spine.  We often hear the admonishments, “Sit up straight,” or “don’t slouch “ or similar cautions.  The idea, of course, is to practice using the muscles that are on the other side of the action, thereby enabling the body to remain in an erect position, a posture that promotes total efficiency.

Pilates will teach the one that practices the art the efficient and practical method of using one’s bodies to enhance either a correction of bad habits or reinforce those things that promote physical therapy.  It is an excellent method employed by those physical therapists who are aiding those who have suffered injuries, notably those maladies relating to sport accidents.

The reasons for which one would come to Bonita Pilates and Yoga Center is varied.  One reason would be for those wanting a leaner, fitter body.  One could also learn those exercises and bodily actions that promotes improved posture and balance.  Oddly enough the classes would also enhance one’s concentration.  It also would promote greater flexibility and range of motion.  Most important it would lower one’s stress and tension and promote a higher level of energy and vitality.

The Bonita Pilates and Yoga Center was originally in the Bonnie Brae Center.   A few months ago the center took up new quarters in the Bonita Center, upstairs at the Vons Center on Bonita Road.  It is a handsome, expansive space divided in two, the pilates area and the yoga space, the latter most closely resembling a dance studio.  They are pleasant, inviting spaces.  For one’s general health and enhanced living we highly recommend pilates and yoga.

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