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'My mission is to bring people out of their previous physical situations and into a new physical reality," says Orly Oren, one of Israel's top Pilates teacher sand owner of Orly Oren Pilates Studio in Tel Aviv, a charming and sunny studio in central Tel Aviv.
Oren is a woman who loves bringing physical improvement to her students. "I believe that movement heals the body."
Pilates was originally created and developed during World War I by Joseph Pilates as a system of aerobic-like activities meant to improve the rehabilitation of German soldiers returning from the war. Through precise movements aimed at bringing about control and form in exercise, Pilates's methods aided soldiers in strengthening key muscles that would accelerate their recovery. Pilates believed that the combination of mental concentration and centralized focus on the core torso muscles within the abdomen would provide balance and improved alignment for the spine, more effective breathing and improved blood circulation for the body.
In the spirit of Joseph Pilates, Oren works with students of all ages to help them achieve their goals of fitness and a new healthy lifestyle. Having studied Pilates since 1988, Oren has been learning the nuances of Pilates training all over the world, and has become the only Israeli authorized by the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) gold certification and one of only two hundred Pilates teachers in the world with this honor.
In 2007, based on the Pilates principals of exercise, Oren opened her own studio in Tel Aviv, adhering to the original 34 principal movements passed down from its creator.
"Pilates makes your abdominals stronger, it makes your back stronger, and your posture becomes lengthened," she explained. "It really gives your body the full range of motion that you used to have when you were a child.
"We sit most of the day in front of the computer, our backs have become compressed, our spinal disks are not filled with blood, we have become couch potatoes from our days at work," Oren continued. "After working with Pilates, the everyday functional and cognitive abilities, coordination and movements of our bodies are increased."
Oren divides each lesson into four parts, where the students of various levels and ages move around the studio using each of the machines Pilates' himself designed to perform resistance exercises. The exercises are not centered on brute weight, but rather the perfection of the motion and how it is performed properly at the correct pace.
Within the past two weeks, Oren acquired a foot corrector, heavy resistance bands and a special device which trains students in effective breathing. Oren's studio is the only facility in Israel with these specific pieces.
"I try to keep things interesting for my beginner to advanced students by acquiring more equipment and offering more exercises which adhere to the thousands of exercises Pilates himself developed," Oren said.
Pilates is often performed on the floor, where Oren has the students using various props, such as weighted balls, a magic circle for resistance and a baton; each add a dimension which make Oren's workouts more challenging and focused.
When Oren is teaching, she bounces from student to student, offering insightful instruction in a spontaneous manner, and maintaining an acute understanding of each student's strengths and weaknesses at any moment. The constant attention allows for Oren to improve her students' workout from class to class, thus improving their skill levels progressively. According to Oren, when someone is motivated, "they can turn around their physique in two to four months depending on their health and workâ€¦but a real change comes after 30 consistent lessons."
Pilates has proven, over the years, to be a progress universally enjoyed by men and women.
"In the last twenty years, Pilates has really grown up. Today, everyone is doing it. In the last month, almost all of my new students have been men," she said.
Today, with fast and dynamic classes, Oren is shaping Pilates in Israel to be one of the most popular exercises for all people of all ages.