General FAQs

How is Pilates With Teresa different from other Pilates studios?

Teresa’s sessions include:

  • Postural analysis
  • State of the art equipment including Avalon and TRX
  • Video of key portions of your session for home practice
  • Physical therapy manual techniques as needed
  • Specialties: Osteoporosis, Injuries, Pregnancy, Dance
  • Documentation of progress to structure future sessions
  • Pilates and beyond with a healthy dose of humor
  • Massage with bongers at end of session

How often should I take Pilates classes to get results?

The following quote from Joseph H. Pilates says it the best.

In ten sessions, you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference, and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body.

Though the idea of a whole new body in 30 sessions may be stretching things, you can definitely expect to feel more energized, taller and more toned after just one class. As with any discipline, practice and consistency is key to maximize benefits. 2-3x per week is optimal. Since that is not practical for many people, some of my clients take 1 private or 1 semiprivate a week supplemented by a home exercise program designed for them. I encourage autonomy and give my clients mat exercises they can do at home to continue to address their goals. The more diligent you are with the exercises, the greater the results.

Is it safe to do Pilates everyday?

Yes, but our view of Pilates is not just class exercises. It is an on-going discipline with principles practiced throughout your day. You can draw on these Pilates principles while at the supermarket practicing core control as you glide your cart away, then toward you. Practice axial elongation as you drive your car, lengthening your spine to see in the rear view mirror. You can practice conscious postero-lateral breathing during stressful work meetings. When taking classes, be mindful of giving your muscles enough time to recover. If your muscle is fatigued, precision and control may suffer so listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. Also give your mind and body time to integrate the work that you are doing. Remember, it is a practice and you need to be patient with yourself.

What kind of clothing should I wear when taking a Pilates class?

Wear whatever you feel comfortable in that doesn’t restrict your movement. As for footwear, in general barefoot or socks is fine. If you’re doing standing work and have osteoporosis or low bone density, don’t wear socks, or wear socks with grips like ToeSox to prevent slipping and falling.

What should I expect in my first session at Pilates With Teresa?

You can expect the following in your first session:

  • Evaluation of range of motion, strength, flexibility, medical history assessment and postural analysis along with an introduction to the core principles and exercises of the Pilates system
  • Manual physical therapy techniques when appropriate

Do you specialize in particular populations?

I work primarily with:

  • Men and women with osteoporosis and spine disorders
  • Pre/postnatal women
  • Dancers and competitive athletes
  • To learn more about my Stanford University classes covering topics such as osteoporosis, posture and flexibility, visit My Offsite Classes

What kind of equipment do you have?

I utilize a lot of different equipment in my studio including:

  • Standard Pilates equipment (Reformer, Trapeze Table, Step Barrel, Combo Chair)
  • Avalon System® of Pilates equipment
  • TRX Suspension Training integrated with Pilates principles
  • Ballet Barre
  • Physioballs, BOSUs, foam rollers, rotating discs, bongers and fitness bands round out the studio environment

Is Pilates safe for Pregnancy?

Absolutely! Pilates is a great way to celebrate the changes your body will undergo by strengthening and stretching key muscles. See Pilates for Pregnancy.

What makes Pilates different from other exercise forms?

The things that differentiate Pilates include:

  • Pilates focuses on core stabilization and working the whole body symmetrically in a functional way that has crossover to our daily lives.
  • Unique equipment designed by Joseph Pilates, unlike anything else you’ve experienced.
  • Emphasis on breath control and harnessing the mind to effect change in the body which is powerful and at times, life changing.

What exactly is Pilates?

Pilates is a system of exercise that helps to not only build flexibility, but also strength, endurance, and coordination. The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. It was originally used as a rehabilitation program for prisoners of war and was later found to be of great benefit to anyone seeking a higher level of fitness. Pilates originally called his method Contrology, because he believed that his method uses the mind to control the muscles. Exercise science caught up to the principles that Pilates had been teaching all along, and now we enjoy the rich evolution of the Pilates work that we have today.

Will I be sore after my session?

Pilates does not fatigue the muscles to exhaustion, rather it uses movement patterns, mental focus and muscle memory to build strength and awareness into the body. Pilates leaves you energized and while you may experience some soreness as your body experiences changes, you will not experience debilitating soreness.

Since you are a physical therapist can I see you under my insurance plan?

I do not accept insurance plans. I can provide a detailed invoice and my professional license number so you can submit your sessions toward your flex spending account, if you have one through your job.

I travel a lot. Any hints to keep up with my Pilates practice while on the road?

Click here for easy tips to integrate Pilates and keep your body intact while traveling.

I’m not very flexible and have a hard time sitting up straight. What can I do to modify?

Often people have tightness in their low back or hamstrings. Bending your knees or sitting on a firm pillow or book to elevate your hips can help. It is always best to focus on achieving a straight spine (which is part of your powerhouse muscle group) versus straight legs.

How can I avoid a sore neck when I lift my head off the mat?

It takes time to develop the strength and endurance to support the head. Remember that your head weighs about 10-12 lbs, the weight of a bowling ball. Allow yourself to lower your head during repetitions if your neck requires a rest. Over time, your strength and endurance will improve. Make sure you’re not keeping your head facing the ceiling when you lift your head as you’ll create unnecessary tension. Keep your head in line with your spine as you lift up, neither hyperextended with your chin jutting up, nor excessively flexed with your chin touching your chest. A helpful prop I often use with my clients to alleviate neck strain is the Stretch-eze, a loop of lycra material that supports the head focusing the work in the core, where you want it. This is available for purchase on my website.

Pilates seems to have its own terminology. What does it all mean?

Pilates definitely has an entire language and imagery that seems to accompany the exercises. Here are some of the more commonly used terms and their meanings. Core Strength. This refers to the muscles of the trunk that help to stabilize the spine. Though most people think of the abdominal muscles as the core, true core strength also encompasses the muscles of the back, the pelvic floor and the diaphragm. Core strength is developed through the coordinated effort of all of these muscles. Core strength allows us to move through life in a functional way with ease. Imprinting. When lying on your back, draw your abdominals “in and up” so the spine lengthens along the mat and the bones of the entire spine are pressed into the mat. This eliminates any space between the spine and mat and this technique is associated with the Classical style of Pilates. Neutral Pelvis. This refers to the reference point for the placement of the pelvis in many exercises. When lying on your back, the front of the hipbones are level with the pubic bone, all parallel to the floor. If standing up, those 3 bones would be in the same plane, but perpendicular to the floor. Postero-Lateral Breathing. In Pilates we keep some level of abdominal contraction on the inhale to stabilize the spine during certain exercises. When you inhale, while maintaining a level of abdominal contraction, expand the lungs and ribcage in both a backward (posterior) and side direction (lateral). It’s truly a 3 dimensional expansion that takes time to master so instead of getting hung up on the breath pattern at first, just breathe! You don’t want to hold our breath at all. Powerhouse. The term Joseph Pilates used to describe the musculature of the center of your body. It includes the abdominals, pelvic floor, the muscles surrounding the hip joint and back extensors. The powerhouse is the physical and energetic center of the body and the focus of all Pilates exercises.

What specific type of exercise helps build bone and prevent osteoporosis?

There are two types of exercise that build and maintain bone density. These exercises are:

  • Weight-bearing
  • Resistance/strengthening

Examples of weight-bearing exercises are walking, jogging, stair climbing, team sports and standing Pilates exercises. Examples of resistance or strengthening exercises are those that use free weights, resistance machines – like Pilates exercises on the Reformer, Cadillac and Arm Chair, and exercises that incorporate arm and ankle resistance bands. Note: If you have bone loss or osteoporosis or if you are frail, always check with your healthcare provider first before starting a new exercise program. In addition to those types of exercise, you also need to maintain specific alignment guidelines so you don’t risk fracture. Those with low bone density (osteopenia) as well as osteoporosis need to maintain a “neutral spine” (no rounding of the back called “flexion”) and no twisting in combination with flexion. 
Be sure to review this info from the National Osteoporosis Foundation before starting strength (resistance) training. Here are two reviews and an article about how these exercises help strengthen bone: The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: a review. Bone density improvements are very individual depending on many factors, such as age, family history, medicines that deplete bone, low body weight, diet, to name a few. The goal, however, is to avoid fractures. Having stronger muscles helps you stay on your feet with better balance and also adds more padding to bones so that if you do fall, it’s a softer landing. Strength training and fractures: 

In this study, there was no significant difference in the control group’s and the exercise group’s spinal bone density at 2 years when the study ended. But, there was at ten years when they brought the participants back and the exercise group had 3 times FEWER vertebral fractures. Amazing! Maximal strength training in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis or osteopenia. Remember that maximal strength training does not necessarily equate with 100% effort. I don’t advise effort that intense because of the risk of injury. It’s always best to start gradually, giving your body time to adapt to the exercises. Then, start to progressively increase frequency, intensity, or duration. In Pilates remember that quality of movement is of uppermost importance. Fewer repetitions done mindfully reap great benefits.

What is your return policy?

Full refund for cost of items if returned within 30 days of delivery, unopened and unused. (shipping not included) If items in original condition are returned past the return window, you’ll receive 80% of the items price. If DVD’s are removed from plastic wrap, you’ll receive 50% of item cost. Items returned with missing parts or show obvious signs of use, you’ll receive 50% of the items’ cost.

BoneSmart Pilates® DVD Related FAQs

If I don’t have osteoporosis or osteopenia, would the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD be useful for me?

Yes absolutely. The BoneSmart Pilates® DVD addresses correct and healthy body alignment and offers a safe method for improving strength, flexibility and balance that is useful for anyone interested in aging with power and grace.

What if a particular exercise causes pain or doesn’t feel right, should I work through it?

Absolutely not. If an exercise results in pain, please skip that exercise. As an example, if the Pilates mat abdominal exercise (Chest Lift) with the miniball under the upper back feels unstable or causes discomfort, (or you’re not sure if you’re doing it right) there are plenty of other core exercises included in the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD. Listen to your body and skip whatever doesn’t feel right for you.

What other conditions would the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD be appropriate for?

The BoneSmart Pilates® DVD can be beneficial for many different conditions including herniated discs, a stiff neck, or what I’ve coined in my area, the “Silicon Valley Slump” (rounded posture from too much computer work). You’ll learn healthy ways to keep your spine in a safe position while engaging in your daily activities as well as while performing the exercises on this DVD. It’s not possible to give personalized advice here but I would suggest that you check with your medical provider to assess whether the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD would be safe for the nuances of your particular situation.

Is there a Download or Streaming option available?

We are working on that but at present, it is not available. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this webpage and we’ll keep you updated.

How long is the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD?

The DVD is 2 hours and 19 minutes long. Teresa has integrated her 30+ years of Pilates, movement experience and physical therapy to create an effective, accessible, safe and well balanced program.

Do I have to watch it all at once?

Definitely not. The BoneSmart Pilates® Program is divided into sections that you can view one at a time. We recommend that you watch each tutorial before attempting the workouts to benefit from the alignment cues and nuances that you might not pick up by just watching the workout. If in doubt, it’s best to do it in small chunks so you don’t get overwhelmed.

How much time will I have to spend doing the BoneSmart Pilates® Program?

In general, spending 10-30 minutes at a time with the BoneSmart Pilates® Program is an excellent idea.

The workouts are of varying lengths so depending on what you want to concentrate on and your time constraints you can do a mini workout targeting your hips for 5 minutes or a 30 minute comprehensive mat workout.

How important is the BoneSmart Pilates® Prop Bundle?

The BoneSmart Pilates® props make many of the exercises both safer and more challenging. Several of the workouts are designed without props but to take full advantage of the entire BoneSmart Pilates® Program, you are encouraged to obtain the Prop Bundle.

That is why we offer a significant discount when you purchase the DVD and Prop Bundle together. We want you to receive as much benefit as possible from the beginning and ongoing.

Keep in mind though that you can do certain workouts like the hip blaster and bone dance, without the prop (a resistance ankle loop) and still benefit. We want you to be safe and stable first before adding challenge.

You are of course welcome to put your own kit together. You’ll need a 9inch inflatable miniball, 5-6 foot resistance band (depending on your height), a tennis ball carefully cut in half. (Don’t cut it yourself if you have vision or fine motor issues) and a resistance ankle loop available for purchase separately in the props section of my website.

Can I purchase the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD and Prop Bundle locally where I live?

We currently don’t have distribution agreements with any retail outlets.

If you live in or near Mountain View, California, you are welcome to come by Teresa’s studio to purchase your copy of the BoneSmart Pilates® DVD, get the Prop Bundle and meet Teresa. Email her directly at teresa@pilateswithteresa.com to set up an appointment.