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Body Flo Studio: At the Cutting Edge of Pilates Instruction

By Marina I. Jokic

An admirer of Pilates' founder Joseph Pilates, Diannah Williams often references his personal experiences and his resolve to heal himself. Joseph was born in Germany in 1883 and was plagued with a sickly constitution during most of his childhood, which inspired him to strengthen his body.

As a young man, he lived in England and taught self-defense to officers from Scotland Yard, eventually being interned as an enemy during World War II. During his internment, Joseph developed a unique exercise system which utilized equipment made with springs attached to hospital beds. His invention allowed bedridden hospital patients to exercise using only their body's resistance. This was only the first iteration of his equipment, which would pass through several redesigns.

Pilates immigrated to New York in 1926, and ended up opening a fitness salon with his wife. The new exercise program gained popularity quickly and became a fitness phenomenon starting in the 1960's. In the late 1980's, the media began covering Pilates extensively, and the workout gradually entered the mainstream. Today, over ten million people practice Pilates in the U.S.

Williams was always inspired by Joseph's story and success. After finishing her professional fitness training, she wanted to teach Pilates in Lilburn as there were no such studios anywhere in the vicinity. Her work, however, eventually took her to Watkinsville where she opened Body Flo Studio and delved deeper into the discipline often in one-on-one sessions with her students.

"Because Body Flo is a small studio, the student receives a personalized program that meets his or her needs," she said.

Pilates is a unique type of exercise in that it uses the body's own resistance to produce efficient results. It requires a trained instructor to guide and assist the student, to observe for any compensatory movements that might be taking place and correct them. Williams herself has been trained extensively. She's a third generation instructor and has earned over 600 hours of coursework.

At Body Flo, there are a variety of ways you can train depending on the equipment you want to use. For instance, the reformer session uses a horizontal table with a bed that slides along a track. There are varying levels of resistance that can be adjusted to fit your fitness level and preference, and this particular session is available as a private or group course.

The "tower" offers a secure and challenging environment for people, especially those struggling with poor balance and muscle weakness. The "stability chair" is another Pilates apparatus that challenges the core through a repetitions of horizontal repose, sitting up, and standing.

The benefits of practicing Pilates regularly are countless, but Williams wants to highlight that the discipline is such that it never fails to challenge the student. It is adaptable, flexible, and highly customizable. Pilates increases strength, balance, and flexibility while creating better breathing patterns. But most of all, Pilates improves your sense of wellbeing.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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