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Behind the Scenes: Pure Pilates

If you know me, you know I absolutely love pilates and have been practicing for about four years now. That being said, I practice mat Pilates, and after visiting Pure Pilates in Downtown Pensacola, I came to realize that  I have been completely missing out on an entire other world of workouts in the Pilates world.


So, if you’re not familiar, what is Pilates? 

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, who as a child, had illnesses that left him quite frail. He tried to overcome the effects of his sicknesses, by researching different exercise methods. While he was researching, he became fond of the idea of being balanced in body, mind and spirit, so used it to design his own exercise method.

Pilates called his exercise ‘contrology’ because of the way it helped to control and unify the body, mind and spirit, but it was renamed ‘Pilates’ after he passed away.

Since his death, 6 key Pilates principles have been drawn out of his exercise philosophy and are used to continue practicing the ‘Pilates Method’ all over the world!

  1. Breathing —  Pilates believed that breathing is the most important part of exercise and that people should learn the art of deep breathing. Fill your lungs until they feel full and then exhale all the air back out, and that helps you to focus on the exercise and pushes the blood to your muscles.
  2. Concentration — If you focus and become more mindful of each movement, you will get the most out of each exercise. It improves the connection between your mind and body and gives you a better awareness of your body’s movements.
  3. Centering — Pilates called the core the ‘powerhouse’ of your body, from where all energy for exercise comes from. If you focus on your core, you can not only calm your body and your spirit, but help your muscles work more efficiently.
  4. Control — Controlling and pacing your movements will allow you to direct every movement with correct form. Proper, safe and complete muscle control is better for getting good results than speed and high intensity.
  5. Precision — Performing an exercise with deliberate accuracy is more important than doing lots of repetitions with sloppier form.
  6. Flow — Each movement in Pilates should be smooth and graceful – think of ballet! Continuous, smooth and elegant movement as you work from one pose, exercise or movement to another helps increase your strength and stamina.

Susan Clarke, owner of Pure Pilates, founded her two studios based on these principles. Locally owned and operated since 2012, Pure Pilates is the largest Pilates and GYROTONIC®studio offering group classes and private sessions in Northwest Florida. Pure Pilates is the Balanced Body Authorized Training Center for Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training representing the entire Gulf Coast. 

Pure Pilates focuses on delivering a diverse portfolio of workout classes that focus on Joseph Pilates’s principles. They believe fitness is the first requisite of happiness, and our classes focus on developing a meaningful mind-body connection that lasts long after a class or private has ended. 

During my behind the scenes look, Susan showed me around the studio while also letting me try six different pieces of equipment they use in their classes. Watch the video above to see me try Reformer, Chair, Cadillac, Barre, TRX and Aerial — all of which are offered in a variety of different classes at both Pure Pilates locations.

Personally, I love Pilates for a variety of reasons. Pilates is more than just a form of exercise; it’s a way of life that promotes a deep connection between mind and body. One of the reasons why I love Pilates is because it allows me to feel present in the moment.

Pilates encourages a mindful approach to movement, which means paying attention to every detail of each exercise. From the alignment of my spine to the engagement of my core, every movement is deliberate and intentional. This level of concentration helps to quiet the mind and brings a sense of calm and clarity.

In a world filled with distractions and constant stimulation, Pilates offers a sanctuary where I can escape the noise and be fully present. It is a time for me to tune out external pressures and connect with myself on a deeper level. The feeling of being present during a Pilates session strengthens my body but also nourishes my mind and soul.

As a Master Educator, it’s very obvious that Susan feels the same way about Pilates and was an incredible teacher during my visit. Her passion for the practice stems from a long history in dance, physical therapy and trainings all over the world. Check out her full list of accomplishments and certificates here.

Thank you to Susan and the Pure Pilates crew for an awesome day at the studio! I look forward to taking more classes and encourage anyone who’s looking for a new workout or mindfulness connection to give it a go. Click here for a full list of classes and schedule at both locations.