Pilates Principles

Listen to Michael King, founder of the Pilates Institute UK, explaining the Pilates principles.


October 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink Pilates Friday, 15. October, 10-11am

in Hampstead/London

With all of us being ‘women in their best years’ I thought it would be a good idea to raise money for breast cancer care.

Therefore I have decided to run a free & fun Pilates class on Friday, 15 October – from 10-11am – at St Andrew’s church hall in Hampstead (Finchley Road/Frognal Lane)

This will be a more fitness related Pilates session using some groovy tunes. The exercises will be a bit more energetic and offer modifications of the original repertoire. The class is aimed at healthy adults at all ages and fitness levels and will be easy to follow.

I won’t charge a fee for the class, hoping for generous donations towards breast cancer care. All proceedings will go to this charity.

It would be fun if you could wear something pink for the occasion. And please bring as many friends along as possible.

RSVP via email or txt on 07976 183 158

I’m looking forward to seeing you at the


For more information about breast cancer care please visit

I support Breast Cancer Care

October 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment

How to make the most of your Pilates session

First of all make sure your teacher knows

If you have an injury or a physical condition that might affect your ability to exercise (e.g. slipped disc, pregnancy, shoulder/knee problem, feeling physically tired on that specific day etc) please let your Pilates teacher know. You may feel that those issues are private and/or not worth mentioning but your teacher needs to know in order to guide you through a Pilates session safely. Your instructor can provide modifications of the exercises to avoid putting stress on the affected area.

Also, tell your teacher if there’s something you never quite understand (e.g. the breathing technique, core stability or neutral position of the spine) or if there’s a certain exercise you struggle with. Your teacher will then be able to give you more specific instructions or will even make some time before or after class to explain your issues on a one-to-one basis.

Second – don’t compare yourself to the person next to you

In a Pilates group session have you ever found yourself thinking ‘she’s so much slimmer than me’ or ‘I’d wish I’d be as flexible as her’ or ‘if I only could execute the movement as beautiful as her’? It can happen very easily and we all have been there I’m sure. But, don’t let your mind go there! As soon as you lose the focus on your own body you lose your centre and you stop paying attention on how your body feels, on your form, on your breathing and most of all on your concentration. You need the coordination of all these elements in order to perform your Pilates technique with energy and to make progress. Your body still gives you the most subtle and most important kind of feedback that can help improve your exercise technique.

I don’t mean that you can never look over at your friends and smile and enjoy the moment, but there’s a difference between having fun in class and self-sabotaging your efforts by telling yourself that you’ll never be as good in Pilates as the person next to you.

Next time you gaze over your shoulder to see how much better your class mate is stop your thoughts right there! Remember, you do Pilates just for yourself!

Third – apply Pilates into your everyday activities

After taking up Pilates you will soon start to be more aware about how you’re standing, sitting and moving. You will start thinking about the position of your pelvis while walking and you might feel different muscle groups working harder while others can relax a bit more.

You will become aware of spinal rotation while reaching one arm behind you to put your coat on. Or reaching one arm forward and twisting your spine while reaching into the kitchen cupboard.

You will notice how you place your feet onto the ground to get up from a sitting position. How to connect your core muscles while bending down to pick something up from the floor. You will learn how to use your abdominals in order to prevent lower back pain while lifting and carrying your child.

You will try to avoid a slouching posture in front of your computer and instead feel the length of your spine and the openness of your chest.

In short, you will improve your overall posture.

Pilates might even help you to progress in other sports techniques as you learn to use your muscles more efficiently.

September 26, 2010 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Top 3 Reasons to do Pilates this Autumn

1.  If your skinny jeans are feeling a bit tight after the summer try Pilates. It’s a full body workout that will flatten your tummy and will leave you energised.

2.  You deserve one hour for yourself after dropping the kids off to school.

3.  Keep your exercise levels up even during the cold season.

Classes start on Tuesday, 7 September / Thursday, 9 September – 9:40 – 10:40am.

At St Andrew’s Church Hall (corner Frognal Lane/Finchley Road).

If you’re new to my classes you’re welcome to a free trial session before signing up for the course.

Please book in advance as places are limited.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my classes!

September 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm Leave a comment

The difference between Pilates and Yoga

Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.
Joseph Pilates

 mind & body

We’re constantly bombarded by the media about physical fitness. There are tons of reasons why we should get off our chairs and be active in today’s increasingly automated and sedentary culture.

Practicing any exercise does not only result in a good appearance, but also reduces stress and brings peace and overall harmony to the body & mind.

There are two types of exercise techniques that naturally have mind & body awareness embedded into their practices: Pilates and Yoga. They have many physical similarities, but their philosophies are different, with yoga tending to take a more spiritual or universal approach.

Yoga is a physical fitness regime originated in Northern part of India, in ancient period. The history of Yoga dates back to almost five thousand years ago and takes an approach of using the mind, body and spirit. Yoga is explained as a lifestyle, instead of just an exercise. It works towards offering a path to physical and mental well-being. It also includes all the exercise routines in conjunction with a healthy diet, relaxation, meditation, and breathing skills.

Pilates is not an ancient practice as Yoga. It is just eighty years old and invented by a German athlete, Joseph Pilates.  The Pilates method, inspired by certain Yoga poses, works towards conditioning the entire body.

Pilates exercises are very much directed toward developing core strength and efficient movement habits that translate into daily life.

Yoga poses also develop core strength. But Yoga is more stretch and flexibility oriented, and perhaps, less interested in daily movement mechanics than in expanding consciousness through movement.

Yoga works more on the internal body, the controlling of the spiritual nature allowing for the movement, whereas Pilates focuses more on concentration to allow for a strengthening of the muscles. The mere concentration from both, create a feeling of well being.

Pilates and Yoga both focus on the breath and movement working together. Pilates includes inhaling via nose and exhaling through the mouth and Yoga concentrates on utilizing the nose for both inhaling and exhaling.

Both Pilates and Yoga give great attention to concentration, balance and the controlled movements of the muscles. With either exercise you will never see an individual that is performing vigorous or jerky type movements.

The goal of both of the exercises is definitely the same, relieve stress and provide the person with peacefulness while strengthening the muscles.

If a person is specifically looking for training to tone and build abdominal muscles, then Pilates usually is a good choice.

If a person is searching for quiet time, stress relief and improved flexibility, then Yoga typically is a good choice.

Pilates and Yoga can be effective in achieving most physical fitness goals. None of the two physical fitness systems has negative or side effects on the body, if performed correctly.

There are many similarities and differences between Pilates and Yoga. The decision as to which exercise is best must come from personal preference.


March 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm Leave a comment

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is marked on the 8th of March every year.

The first International Women’s Day was held 99 years ago. The success of the first International Women’s Day in 1911 exceeded all expectations. Men stayed at home with their children for a change, and their wives, the captive housewives, went to meetings.

To celebrate International Women’s Day please donate a free mammogram by clicking on the pink ribbon.

One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Please remember to click every day to fund free mammograms and give hope to women in need. Every click counts toward the goal of early detection, which allows for the best possible treatment options.

March 8, 2010 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

The top 5 exercises

According to Elizabeth Quinn, an exercise physiologist and fitness consultant who has been writing and editing health information content and working with athletes for over a decade, there are 5 exercises that in her opinion every athlete should do to stay strong and prevent injuries.

Even though we’re not athletes we still want to stay fit and strong. Therefore I had a look at the recommended exercises and noticed that they are mainly strengthening exercises and in one form or another they are part of any Pilates session. But in addition, I believe it’s important to release tight muscles, mobilise joints and do some stretching too and in a well designed Pilates class these activities are always included.

Here are the 5 exercises we must do:

  • The Plank
  • The Side Plank
  • Overhead Lunges (with weights)
  • Push Up
  • Interval Training (cardiovascular workout)

What is almost impossible to include into a Pilates session is the cardiovascular workout. Interval training is an excellent option for those who want to add cardio to their overall training program. I recommend doing the cardio workout separately from Pilates as both training ideas require a lot of focus.    

Now let’s have a look at each exercise and see how we can adapt it to Pilates using the Pilates principles (concentration, control, centring, flowing, precision, routine, isolation, breath, isolation).

For the top 5 exercises instructions please download the pdf file.

February 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm Leave a comment

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Pilates Sessions in London/Hampstead

SantisPilates is based in northwest London.

My Pilates Matwork classes are aimed at busy mums who deserve an hour of mind & body awareness after dropping their children off at school and who want to develop strength and flexibility.

If you are looking for Pilates Matwork classes or private one-to-one sessions in Hampstead/London NW3 please contact me via email sabine@santispilates.com or call 07976 183 158.

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Dear Sabine,

I benefit so much from your classes. Your instruction is always knowlegable and helpful. Even in a class setting you are able to give indiviual attention to everyone.
Having moved from London, I can see physically how much I benefited from your classes. I am hoping that I will be able to find a pilates insturctor as wonderful as I had with you.
Thanks again,

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