pilates personal training

 

 

Interview on Pilates•ology Web Site
 
 


Inside the Pilates Studio: Christina Maria Gadar

by Andrea Maida

In some ways this interview is one of my favorite “gets.” Christina and I have actually never met in person. We do share a similar training lineage, but I know her only through her facebook page and her wonderful videos that she has posted on both FB and YouTube. Her work as a practitioner and her beautifully selected Pilates content clearly reveal a deep devotion and love for the Pilates Method. I simply must get to Florida so I can catch up with this fascinating woman! Family, a thriving Pilates business and “The Flying Squirrel” what more could you hope to find in a Pilates instructor? So I couldn’t resist and I sent her a message…thank you so much Christina for the time and thought that you gave to my questions.

1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?

Christina Maria Gadar: The standing semi-circle performed on the Cadillac or guillotine apparatus is the most delicious exercise. It encompasses the three most important Pilates skills: deepening the powerhouse, articulating the spine, and opening the chest. The first time I saw it performed I fell in love. To get the most out of it you need to perform it with rhythm, as Romana says: “Do it with music in your soul.” It is absolutely divine!

I also love the “wave” performed with the push thru bar during the squirrel on the Cadillac apparatus because it has made me push myself to develop my powerhouse more than any other exercise in the Pilates Method. For eleven years I convinced myself that I could never perform that “wave” because I was too flexible and didn’t have a gymnastics background. I knew Romana believed I could do it some day since she had me try the preparation exercise for it, but I completely lacked the confidence in myself. I had to develop the mental strength as well as the physical strength and I had to move out of my comfort zone. I recently performed the full version of it (six years after Romana introduced it to me).

2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.

CMG: I think our least favorite exercises are the ones we need the most. The stomach massage series has been one of my least favorite exercises because it challenges me all over. It truly works every part of the body. I have a funny picture from my first private lesson with Romana back in 2000. I’m in stomach massage position, sitting closer to the edge of the carriage than I ever had experienced before working with Romana. At first glance it looks like I’m smiling, but truly I was using everything (including my teeth) to help me stay upright.

3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?

CMG: What turns me on about the Pilates method is that you never reach the end. When I was a young dancer I was in such a hurry to become a professional only to realize that my time in ballet school was in some ways better than being a professional. Since the very beginning of my training as a Pilates apprentice I have savored each moment. Currently, my favorite Pilates challenge is working on the Pilates principle of flow (creating the maximum effect through minimum of motion). It is one of my favorite Pilates principles because it requires all of the other five Pilates principles (control, concentration, centering, breathing and precision). It is where the science of Pilates becomes an art form.

4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?

CMG: My idea of earthly happiness is fulfilling one’s potential. I believe Pilates plays a direct role in my happiness. Jerome (one of Romana’s protégés) explained to me that one of the beliefs in Greek philosophy was that to attain supreme achievement you needed energy. Pilates helps you reach your potential because it gives you energy. When you do Pilates very well, you only use 25% of your energy and the remaining 75% of energy goes in a reserve to fulfill your achievements in life. In the words of Joseph Pilates: “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?

CMG: The greatest misfortune (in relation to Pilates) would be to see people get more sedentary and lose the mobility in their joints. Joseph Pilates observed the natural movement of children and animals. The Pilates Method is nature. It is safe and natural movement done within the frame of the body. Unfortunately people seem to be getting more and more out of touch with their bodies. My goal is to improve the quality of people’s lives through the work of Joseph Pilates.

6. What is your favorite Pilates word?

CMG: My favorite Pilates word is “oom-pah,” a word Romana has used a lot to put rhythm into our movements. I have notebooks filled with quotes from all of my Pilates mentors and my absolute favorite quote comes of course from Romana. I love when she says: “Squeeze the juice out of the exercise, don’t just tickle it!” Her cue makes me go so much deeper into the movement. Performing the exercises (and transitions) with rhythm, accents, and shading adds a whole new layer to the work. Pilates truly is much more than just a workout.

7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?

CMG: Hearing the words “neutral spine” sends horrible chills down my own spine. It reminds me of the tainted and hybrid forms of Pilates that certainly do not measure up to the original intentions of Joseph Pilates. I love what Romana says with respect to all the people who are putting their own twist on Joseph Pilates’ work. Romana just says “make your own name famous.”

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

CMG: I would love a profession that incorporates the Portuguese language because I am so passionate about Brazil (I have dual citizenship with Brazil). I also have a passion for animals, so a profession that involves animal rights would be very fulfilling. In the meantime I’ll have to settle for teaching the elephant, monkey and seal in Portuguese to my Brazilian Pilates students!

9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?

CMG: Romana has said that “Joe is churning in his urn” with all the altered versions of his method that are being taught. My hope is that he would be proud of my commitment to teach his method in its purest form as he delivered it to Romana, and she delivered it to me. Perhaps in his heavy German accent he could say something like: “You verked der bodies vell!”

10. What did you learn today?

CMG: It is true that I am constantly learning (and re-learning when reviewing my notes). My current teaching goal is to use my energy and touch more than my words to communicate with my students. As I was reviewing my notes today I came across a note on breathing through the nose. I’m always telling my students that breathing through the nose works much deeper and that breathing through the mouth is a more shallow way to breathe. I also tell my students that “relax” does not mean “collapse.” But I was reminded today that we breathe through the nose to avoid collapsing in the powerhouse. Just think of the control it takes to lower the wunda chair pedal when coming down from a pull up. The exhale through the nose during the lowering of the pedal does indeed help one stay in the powerhouse.

See Christina in action in an exercise it can take years to master: The Squirrel

I’ll let you know when I get there…

 

 






christina maria gadar

Health Report
Fitness and health news you can use.

Pilates Power
By Hannah Wallace, Sarasota Magazine

Certified Pilates instructor Christina Maria Gadar helps us debunk five misconceptions about “the Pilates Method.”

 

Just for women
Founder Joseph Pilates was an avid boxer—as well as a beer and cigar lover. Rumor has it, according to Gadar, that kegs were the basis for Pilates’ original barrel apparatus, and the steel keg hoop inspired the magic circle accessory. Nearly half of Gadar’s clients are male.

Like Yoga
“While Pilates is a wonderful complement to yoga,” Gadar says, “Pilates does not repeat poses often, and doesn’t require holding poses for a long time.” Most Pilates exercises are done for three to five repetitions, allowing the practitioner to maintain good form before the body fatigues. On the apparatus, the idea is to keep the springs constantly moving (with control), so that the body is always moving.

For Dancers
Although dancers were among the first to discover Pilates (they use it for conditioning), Pilates can be a well-rounded primary exercise regimen for anyone—“or cross-training for golf, tennis and more,” says Gadar.

Just Stretching
“The fact that dancers—who are already flexible—flock to Pilates is proof that this is a misconception,” argues Gadar. In addition to building flexibility, Pilates exercises generate both strength and control.

All the same
“When I was certified in 2000 by Joseph Pilates’ protégé Romana Kryzanowska,” says Gadar, “only graduates of Romana’s program could legally say that they taught Pilates; all other teachers had to label their work as ‘Pilates-based.’” That distinction no longer exists. Be sure to ask about your instructor’s credentials, “not only to gain the benefit that true Pilates can provide,” she adds, “but also to avoid injury.”

 


 

 

 

 

 


After two surgeries and being restricted from lifting anything heavier than 5 lbs. my strength and muscle tone had diminished quickly. I started Pilates with Christina two months post-op and within the first two months of training I was already starting to feel toned and muscular in all the right places.
-A grateful student

Christina is calm, insistent and patient. Her approach is well organized, considerate and keeps me coming back. Pilates is now a part of my weekly routine and I love it!
-Kathy S.

 

I appreciate Christina’s comprehensive knowledge of the body’s muscles, capacities and limits. I also think I’m better able to enjoy my life because of regular Pilates instruction.
-Martha M.

 

I have been studying Pilates with Chistina for 3 years and find the workouts to be very challenging both physically and mentally. I also workout in a boxing gym and find my balance and coordination to be at a higher level from Pilates.
-Richard K.

 

Pilates exercises my whole body without putting strain on my joints. It is a wonderful complement to my other athletic activities.
-Brad B.

 

Christina easily adjusts the workout for any injury, which enables me to continue to workout through the healing process. After two lessons a week for the last three years, I feel stronger than ever.
-Dawn E.

 

I always thought I would be happy if I could maintain my body as I aged, but working with Christina I have also improved my strength, flexibility and balance. In fact, the results are outstanding.
-Barbara N.


We all try to get value for what we buy or invest in. I feel that this ongoing investment in my own health and future, as Christina delivers it, provides great value to me.
-Bruce H.


Christina is a personable, knowledgeable and fun teacher. This very disciplined form of exercise challenges my core more than weight training or yoga and makes sports and just standing up straight easier!
-Antoinette M.