For Lia Bartha, Pilates is an investment in the future.
The longtime dancer was unsure of how to nurture her body once she stopped—until she discovered Pilates while treating her scoliosis. The practice, which is all about caring for the spine and finding alignment, immediately relieved her pain and started her on the path to a new passion and career.
Ultimately, while at home with kids, she created her specific program, B The Method, which incorporates movements inspired by classic Pilates with less equipment and props, offering a much-needed moment of restorative quiet and calm.
Here, Bartha explains how happiness can emanate from all over the body:
LIVE THE PROCESS: Can you describe your relationship to fitness before and after you discovered Pilates?
LIA BARTHA: I was a dancer my entire life, so I never really thought about exercise until I was in college. I had stopped dancing and spiraled into an unhealthy routine of lots of cardio because that was what all my friends were doing. I was depleted, out of control and not feeling great about my body.
I discovered Pilates because of my scoliosis. I was working a corporate job with excellent health insurance, which allowed me to take private sessions to help with my back pain and discomfort from sitting at a desk all day. After only a few sessions, I felt more connected to my body than ever before and the back pain eased tremendously. I knew the practice would be impactful if I continued, so I did, and eventually turned it into a lifestyle and career.
LTP: What was it about Pilates that changes your entire perspective? What makes it so different from other forms of exercise?
LB: I love how each movement has a purpose and focus that is much deeper than just how you look on the outside. It’s about mobility and functional strength in the body. It’s about caring for your body in the present to protect your body for the future. Pilates is different than other forms of exercise because the focus is on the health of the spine. Without a healthy, mobile and strong spine, your body will be prone to injury, poor posture and the discomforts that come with those things.
LTP: How and when did you come to develop B The Method? What is it exactly and how is the approach unique?
LB: I developed B The Method a few years ago out of my bedroom as a way to incorporate the techniques and philosophies of classical Pilates with minimal space and equipment. I had two young children, a need for efficiency and effectiveness and a desire for a strong and healthy mind and body connection. I used my experience from teaching hundreds of different bodies to develop exercises using my favorite prop—the mini stability ball—that focused on true functional strength. I began to introduce these exercises to my private clients who shared the benefits I was experiencing: strength, length, mobility and a deeper connection between the mind and body. B The Method is a low-impact, deep, restorative sequence of unique exercises that work the entire body throughout each series to lengthen, strengthen and protect your body for the future.
LTP: What does the word “nourish” mean to you?
LB: Nourish, to me, is enrichment of the mind and body. I try to nourish my life by being kind to my mind and body on a daily basis. The mind and body can tell you so much about your health, if you truly take the time to listen and learn. B The Method has been hugely nourishing to my mind and body because it releases tension, allows for a moment of deep breath and meditation and reminds me how powerful and important it is to care for your body. I become more connected after moving in this way and, therefore, want to feed my body properly as well.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
LB: To me, happiness is the look of a person when they have treated their body and mind with respect, love and kindness. You can read it all over their body and it’s very infectious.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
LB: The saying “Live The Process” is much like the reasoning behind the name “B The Method.” You can go through the motions or you can be them. I try to incorporate this concept on a daily basis by filtering out the excess noise, so that I have space to think, breathe, listen and learn.