By Kelley Carlson
Husband and wife David and Doreen Hall form the core of Pilates People in Carmel Valley.
The couple have been in business for 10 years, offering a variety of services that include Pilates training for all skill levels, physical therapy and acupuncture.
Pilates is a system of exercises developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates in Germany. The method is designed to strengthen and build control of muscles, especially those used for posture; it requires precise control of movements and awareness of breathing.
It’s recommended that clients new to this discipline enroll in one-on-one classes “to get familiar with the concept of Pilates and the equipment,” Doreen said. “You will have a better outcome.”
In addition to private lessons, duet classes are available by appointment, in which two people work with one instructor for a lower fee.
Several group classes are offered daily, and because the class sizes are small — there’s an average of five to six people per session — sign-ups are required. The offerings cover the spectrum — on the gentler end, there’s I Love My Back, which emphasizes core strengthening without stress on the spine; yet there are also faster-paced, more intense classes with a “boot camp-inspired style,” Doreen said. And, of course, there are options at the intermediate level, as well. Some of the classes incorporate functional fitness training, in which people use their own body weight in upright positions through exercises that carry over into everyday life.
New on the schedule is the Tone Teen and Core workout class, which is “designed from head to toe to work on common posture, strength and flexibility issues with teens, presented with fun music and in a light and friendly environment,” Doreen said.
Along with these sessions, all of the trainers at Pilates People have the ability to work with women who are pregnant or in the post-partum stage, Doreen said. Class availability depends on the number of participants.
There is a stigma in regards to men participating in the Pilates program, David acknowledged, but he added that a lot of professional athletes perform the exercises.
“I work with a lot of high-level, athletic men; they gain huge benefits,” David said.
The Halls also incorporate Pilates and its principles through Carmel Valley Physical Therapy, located in the same office as Pilates People.
“We don’t use physical therapy aids, and therapists spend the whole time with the patient,” Doreen said.
Between Pilates People and Carmel Valley Physical Therapy, there are 12 employees.
“We have extremely high-caliber trainers,” David said. “We do a lot of additional education with them.”
Doreen added that all of the physical therapists have more than 10 years of experience. She herself has been in the field for more than 20 years, having graduated from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy. After trying Pilates, Doreen said she realized “that it provided a forum for exactly what I was trying to do with my back stabilization patients, and I decided to incorporate it into my treatments. The results were so great that I eventually designed my whole practice around it (Pilates).”