Serving All Bodies and Ailments at Aligned Pilates
Stretching My Ballerina Bones with Erin Griffin on Chapala Street
By Jean Yamamura | January 27, 2022
The equipment may sound austere, like the Reformer, or more whimsical, like the Cadillac, but working out at Aligned Pilates delivers a bold and direct dose of good-sweat euphoria with better awareness of both internal and external balance.
Pilates comes in many flavors, from the classical strengthening exercises developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s to more liberal utilizations of the apparatuses, but Aligned’s proprietor Erin Griffin modifies her approach for each client. They include people recovering from joint replacements and surgery, athletes and dancers, and even brides-to-be as well as individuals with multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, scoliosis, and even polio survivors. Pilates is not a cure, but Griffin, and her group of therapists and instructors, can help people fine-tune control of their spine and limbs.
As a one-time ballet student, I had a minor collection of aches and pains to share with Griffin, who explained how the springs, ropes, chairs, spine correctors, ladder barrels, and foot and toe correctors worked. Her first demonstration was on the Cadillac, a souped-up version of the Reformer. That’s what that Pilates developed amid World War I, when he was interned in Britain as a German alien and attached springs to hospital beds so patients could tone their unused muscles.
Though resembling instruments of torture, these straps instead cradle a hand or foot as you push or pull against the resistance of the springs or ropes to manipulate separate muscle groups. I was concentrating on the unusual sensation of pushing against a spring when Griffin noticed one shoulder slightly out of alignment with the other, and applied her warm hand to the scapula to coax it into the right spot.
While touring the five studios at 1516 Chapala Street, where her team integrates other therapies such as massage and muscle release, Griffin explained that the handsome rooms were set in a home that dated to the 1910s. Full of windows and light, open and airy with multiple doors, the spaces felt like a COVID-free haven.
The assessment and private session package starts at $250, which may feel like a hit on the pocketbook. But what’s it worth to painlessly walk on air?
Group lesson rates for multiple classes can be as low as $26 per class; please see website for massage, release, individual classes, and other offerings and rates; 1516 Chapala St.; alignedpilatesstudio.com