I’ve struggled with bad posture as far back as grammar school. I was the tallest in my class, and slouching was my favorite habit. I’ve taken Pilates classes here and there, and Krista Merrill has the magic touch. She is an avid learner and brings innovation to the mat.
With Merrill Pilates, you receive a customized practice. She finds the right tools to make your body stronger and healthier, and she is one of the few people in Chicago who I know of who uses Redcord to create a more enjoyable practice.
Krista, How long have you been practicing Pilates, and what made you interested in teaching?
I became interested in Pilates in 1994 when one of my college dance teachers offered a Pilates mat class. I loved it! It changed my body and improved my posture. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with others. I was certified by Romana Kryzanowska in 1998 after completing 600 hours of training.
You specialize in Redcord Pilates – what are the principles, and who should practice it?
I was introduced to Redcord suspension training in 2007. Redcord is unique in that it uses bungee cords and slings to off-weight and support your body while you train on the unstable red ropes. This allows you to work out without pain or compensation. Redcord is suitable for all levels of fitness, from the elderly to the elite athlete. For example, you could regress a push-up by using the bungees around your pelvis or you could do a push-up with your hands and feet in the red cords.
I love the combination of Pilates and Redcord. The roll-up in the Pilates mat can be challenging for many people, but when you put someone on the Cadillac with the assistance of springs, it becomes much easier and a great way to learn how to engage your core and articulate your spine. Regress to progress seems to be the way to go, and both these systems allow you to do that.
I was told to practice Pilates after an injury, but I was intimidated by all the equipment. Can you explain the difference between mat and reformer?
Joe Pilates designed some of the apparatuses for his clients. I know the pedi pole was made for an Opera singer. When WWI broke out, Joe [who was German] was interned in England as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man. It’s here that Joe started to come up with his ideas for the Cadillac by removing springs from beds of his fellow soldiers. He attached the springs to the headboards and foot boards so those that were bedridden could exercise. The reformer also has springs for resistance and a moving surface, which adds an extra degree of difficulty, which was great for the dancers Joe began to work with when he settled in New York. The mat is really the heart and soul of Pilates, but if you are only doing the mat, you are missing out on so much! So much of what is done on the pieces Joe invented help you get deeper into the mat work.
To schedule a session with Krista, contact her atMerrillpilates@gmail.com. The Merrill Pilates studio is located at 1030 W. North Ave. in Chicago.
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