Pilates is a method of exercise in which the mind plays a very big part in controlling the muscles while they are in use and San Francisco pilates is a fast-growing industry. Essentially, Pilates focuses on the postural muscles of the body that keep the spine supported and the body balanced. It's proven to be a godsend for people with bad backs and poor posture, and if you live in San Francisco and are interested in giving the practice a whirl, check out our guide to some of the best studios in town.
Centered Body Pilates
601 Kansas Street (at 18th Street) (415) 920-9133 Centered Body
Located in Potrero Hill, the bright and airy Centered Body Pilates studio offers an "integrated holistic approach to Pilates fitness that focuses on muscular balance, symmetry, total body conditioning, and a centered core." Both private sessions and small group classes are available, and the instructors are wonderful (I took classes with Lynn Welch, and she helped me greatly with my tense left shoulder). If you are a beginner, take advantage of the special introductory offer of three private sessions for only $150. There are also private and semi-private training sessions available for you to take at home (i.e. the instructor comes to you). You can purchase gift certificates, private and semi-private sessions, group classes, and the special introductory package online through their official website.
3423 Balboa Street (between 35th and 36th Avenue) (415) 386-9008 Elevation Pilates
This Richmond District Pilates mecca provides private, semi-private and drop-in group mat, ball, and prop surfing classes to students practicing at all levels. Yoga instruction is also offered in addition to Pilates, with classes occurring every day of the week. Elevation is well known for their incredibly unique golf conditioning Pilates class, which assists golfers in mental focusing and club head speed and accuracy (Tiger Woods trains in this Pilates method). Rehabilitative classes are offered as well. For information on rates and class policies, visit their official website.
EHS Pilates (energy, health, strength)
1452 Valencia Street (between 25th and 26th Streets) (415) 285-5808 Ellie Herman Studios
This award-winning San Francisco Pilates studio was formerly owned by Ellie Herman who has since moved all of her studios to the New York area. EHS sill offers innovative instruction incorporating elements of dance, yoga, and gymnastics into their practices, which aim to strengthen bodies in need of strengthening, and healing bodies in both mild and extreme pain. Classes are taught at five different levels, with one being beginners and five being super-advanced, and drop-in, pre-registration, and package price rates are available.
1067 Market Street (at Jones Street) Suite 1008 (415) 553-7885 Grace Pilates
Elegant, relaxed Pilates studio takes you miles away from all the hustle and bustle located right out front of its doors on Market Street. The Pilates teachers here work to "change the muscular and skeletal structure" of the body, as well do work that assists in the way you breathe and helps improve circulation. Floor and mat classes are available in both private and duet sessions, with individual sessions ranging in price from $12 to $90. Discount cards-in which you pay a large sum of money up front for a specific number of classes-are also available. All ages and experience levels are welcome, too!
San Francisco Pilates
870 Market Street (at Powell Street) Suite 913 (415) 987-7265 SF Pilates
This conveniently located downtown Pilates studio is a great spot to hit if you're tied to a desk in the financial district and in dire need of exercise. It is a well-equipped, intimate space with mat Pilates classes in private lesson, duet, and group class formats. Even if you don't work or live near downtown, this studio is easy to get to-the Powell Street BART and Muni station is a stone's throw away, as are all the major Market Street bus liners. There are five and ten class cards available for purchase, or you can pay as you go along (which is something you might want to do if you are new to the practice).
Third Street Pilates
2325 3rd Street (at 20th Street) Suite 318 (415) 503-0200 Third Street Pilates
This massive and sunny Pilates studio is housed in a loft with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering customers the opportunity to practice in a space that gives their mind and body plenty of room for a workout. In addition to the many Pilates classes (mat and ball and mat classes are offered Monday through Saturday, with space limited to 10 people), Third Street also offers instruction in gyrotonics, a practice that blends yoga, tai chi, gymnastics, swimming and dancing. Call or email to book an appointment with one of the wonderful instructors, all of whom offer different takes on Pilates, and all of whom guarantee you a great workout.
The Body Gallery: The Art of Personalized Pilates
1527 Baker Street (at Bush) (415) 776-6641 The Body Gallery:The Art of Personalized Pilates
The Body Gallery is a lovely escape from the day's stress, accented with exotic plants, flowers and artwork. It is a tranquil studio that is never overcrowded, loud or distracting. It creates an environment to encourage a total mind body experience, perfect for all levels of training. Since 1998 The Body Gallery has been gaining acclaim for it's distinctive approach of one-on-one customized Pilates sessions. No matter what needs you have: rehabilitation, pre/post natal or a super challenging workout, personalized training is more effective and efficient than group workouts and overcrowded classes. You'll get the personal attention that is crucial to understanding the form and precision of the Pilates method, enabling you to achieve the results you desire.