I took my first Pilates class during my senior year of college. I needed to add a few credits to my schedule in order to graduate, so I decided to pick-up a fun elective and chose Pilates. I enjoyed the class, especially the part where the final consisted of demonstrating two to three Pilates exercises in front of the class, but I didn’t pick up anymore classes after graduation. Fast forward three years later and I found myself with a severely sprained ankle after what probably wasn’t the best combination of wine, heels that were way too high, and goofing around with friends on a slippery dance floor. I wound up in an aircast, crutches, and physical therapy three times a week.
The physical therapy helped strengthen my ankle and get my range of motion back, but after the sessions allotted to me by my insurance company were finished, I still found my ankle to be weaker than the one that hadn’t been injured. I was given some exercises I could do at home, but then I remembered that Pilates was a low impact fitness method designed to improve strength and flexibility. I started to take some classes as a way to build on what I worked on in physical therapy, so that I could continue to work on getting my strength back and get back into the workout groove after not having been very active for two months.
It was a similar experience that led Aliza Bixon to add Pilates to her rehabilitation program after a back injury and surgery. Transformed by the benefits of Pilates, the dancer and choreographer found a new career path and, along with her friend Shana Kruger, decided to open Pilates on the Beach in 2008.
A neighborhood boutique studio, Pilates on the Beach has attracted a wide range of clientele including high profile athletes, Miami Heat dancers and Dolphins cheerleaders, and clients of all fitness levels and ages. Both private rehabilitation and group classes are offered and with only eight reformers in the studio, group students still get hands on training from instructors. “It’s a great compliment to any sport and physical therapy” says Bixon who sees athletes from golfers to swimmers to dancers, coming to take class.
Every instructor at Pilates on the Beach is certified in Pilates and instructors frequently take continuing education and specialization courses through the Pilates Method Alliance. Specializations include Pilates for Rehab, Pre & Postnatal Pilates, Pilates for Athletes, and the Pink Ribbon Program – a specialization designed not only to help to breast cancer patients regain their range of motion following surgery, but to improve strength, self-esteem, and quality of life.
With over 500 exercises in the Pilates system, classes are offered to cater to all levels and preferences. Bixon recommends the Jumpboard class to those looking for a more cardio intense workout, while the All Levels class can be great for both beginners and experienced students. The studio’s goal is for students to bring the elements they learn in class, like body awareness and posture, into their everyday lives.
Classes are offered mornings, lunchtime, and evenings. Both group and private sessions are available for purchase online and the studio is also part of Class Pass.
Pilates on the Beach is located at 712 W 51st Street in Miami Beach. There is free parking available.
For information on class packages and schedules, please visit www.pilatesonthebeach.com.