shelbourne Physical Therapy

Pilates Victoria

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Pilates in Victoria is not just exercise but a way of life!

Pilates Shelbourne Physiotherapy VictoriaOur modern studio has skylights to bring in the natural light to create a bright and warm atmosphere. We carry the highest quality of Stott Pilates Equipment Reformers, Arc Barrels, Cadillac and Stability Chairs. Our Certified Pilates Instructors offer group, private and semi private classes for all ages, physical abilities and fitness levels. Physiotherapists Robyn Elliot,  Penny Salmas and Kathy Murdoch have extensive post graduate training in rehabiliation by Stott and Polestar Pilates. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Robyn Elliot has extensive post-graduate training in Clinical Pilates and can ensure you are exercising safely and effectively.

Pilates is being pursued by a population of people who are striving for a new sense of body awareness, attention to detail and physical fitness. Pilates is excellent for everyone ranging from rehabilitating patients to elite athletes. There is something for everyone!

Pilates is a body conditioning exercise program that targets the deep postural muscles of the abdomen and spine to improve core stability and strength. Pilates provides clients with and without pain a method of exercise that focuses on correct movement quality, core stabilization and postural correction. The Pilates method is a system of movement and therapeutic exercise developed over a span of 60 years by German born athlete and Physiotherapy pioneer, Joseph H. Pilates. Utilizing the specialized equipment he designed, the method works by toning muscles as well as balancing muscular force at the joint level. It stimulates circulation through facilitating muscular flexibility, joint range of motion and proper musculoskeletal alignment. In addition, it promotes new neuromuscular patterns, heightened body awareness, and more precise coordination. All these things combine to help prevent future re-injury and reduce – even in some cases alleviate – chronic pain altogether. Clinical Pilates with our qualified Instructors caters to clients of all abilities as we adapt the exercises to suit your individual needs. 

Pilates Studio Instructors Victoria, BCContact our friendly Studio Coordinators:
Jenna Miller, Chloe Fitzgibbon, Freesia Dorval or Laurian Green at 250-598-9828 ext 2

Why Pilates?

  • Develops strength, flexibility and endurance
  • Flattens abs “core”
  • Improves posture and alignment
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Prevents injury
  • Heightens body awareness
  • Challenging and diverse

Clinical Pilates at Shelbourne Physiotherapy: Become Stronger, Fitter & More Flexible

Clinical pilates is a form of exercise guided by Physiotherapists for rehabilitation and prevention of injury. It is an adaptation of the original pilates method, incorporating current scientific knowledge and physiotherapy expertise.Clinical pilates is instructed on a one to one or small group basis using floor exercises and spring loaded equipment to develop and train the deep abdominal and spinal muscles to provide stability and strength. Our Shelbourne Physiotherapy professionals use exercise to treat pain, but clinical Pilates has not commonly been considered part of the traditional treatment model and that could be a missed opportunity for providing a system of complete care to clients. Clinical Pilates, which emphasizes the restoration of full-body functional movement through exercises that challenge posture, balance, strength and stability, is one of the most empowering, safe and progressive ways to deal with patients’ persistent pain and chronic conditions. Pilates is an inclusive form of exercise which aligns with the current literature and practice of physiotherapy and pain science. Clinical Pilates enables clients to participate in exercise when they would not have been able to otherwise.

At Shelbourne  Physiotherapy our focus is on accurate diagnosis and treatment of pain and injury as well as optimal postural alignment and biomechanics. 

Clinical Pilates follows 6 key principles (the 6 “C’s”):

  • Centring – activating the smaller (tonic) muscles to stabilise the spine.
  • Conscious Breathing – conscious and correct inspiration breathing (diaphragmatic) to stabilise the spine.
  • Core Alignment – “neutral” positions are maintained around the joints of the body.
  • Control – limit movement to mid ranges.
  • Concentration – intentional and informed mental focus on the body part/s.
  • Coordination – feeling of ease during a movement.

While these principles provide the foundation for pilates, applying them to any form of exercise will generally produce a safer and more effective movement.

The original pilates repertoire was done on the floor (matwork).  Modern day pilates may also incorporate the use of a variety of apparatus’ to allow a greater range of exercises and progression of exercises.  The most common is a piece of equipment called a reformer, which uses springs to provide resistance.  Others include the Arc Barrel or Cadillac, wunda chair, and exercise balls/discs.

Rehabilitation Clinical Pilates can be the perfect protocol for neuromuscular re-education, offering new pathways of movement to the injured client. Working together with your qualified Pilates instructor, you will explore the best path to improve motor learning.

Pilates at Shelbourne Physiotherapy integrates motor control, motor reprogramming, biomechanical counseling, proprioceptive and kinesthetic training required for dynamic stabilization.

Our goal is to restore muscle balance lost by poor posture, habitual adaptations and compensations due to injuries. Our Pilates rehabilitation instructors are problem solvers that work with clients and suggest options for more efficient training to achieve optimal movement patterns. The result is that our client works with less muscle and joint stress.

The Clinical Pilates environment may be the missing link in your health care program. Rehabilitation Pilates should elicit improved awareness while training core stability, functional strength, coordination, flexibility, balance and effortless breathing. Core stability is the foundation of core strength. This improves athletic performance as well as rehabilitative conditioning.

Clinical Pilates is a modified form of Pilates method that integrates the principles of rehabilitation, core stabilization, and movement retraining with the Pilates principles of control, balance, focus, and  breath.  At Shelbourne Physiotherapy & Pilates, you are under the supervision of a certified therapist with training and extensive knowledge of spinal and peripheral stabilization.  Pilates is effective for: 

  • General conditioning
  • Early Active Rehabilitation
  • Injury prevention
  • Sports Conditioning and Performance
  • Spinal conditions including pain, surgical, scoliosis, postural dysfunction
  • Pre and Post Natal Women
  • Continence and Pelvic Floor retraining
  • Medical Rehabilitation - MS, Fibromyalgia, Breast Cancer, Post Motor Vehicle Accident

 Clinical Pilates is particularly beneficial when treating:

  • Back and neck problems
  • Ankle and Foot injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Repetitive stress injuries
  • Muscle strains and imbalances
  • Pre and post-natal weakness, aches and pains
  • Arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Athletes of all levels
  • People who need rehabilitation for muscle and joint injuries
  • People with poor posture, chronic tension, and fatigue
  • Anyone who wants to practice a non-impact strengthening and stretching program

Six Pilates Principles

For many, these six principles are the foundation of the Pilates approach to exercise. Their application to the Pilates method of exercise is part of what makes it unique in the fitness world. It is important to note that Joseph Pilates did not directly set out the Pilates principles. They are concepts distilled from Joseph Pilates' work by later instructors. Because of this, there is not always agreement in the Pilates community about the order of the principles, the specific words used for certain concepts, or the number of principles. Nevertheless, you will find some version of the Pilates principles--similar to what I present here--to be part of almost any Pilates training program you pursue.Joseph Pilates originally called his work "contrology." He considered this to be a body/mind/spirit approach to movement founded on the integrative effect of principles such as centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. Whether one is working out on a mat or using Pilates equipment, like the reformer or cadillac, these basic principles infuse each exercise with intention and fullness of expression:

  1. Centering: Physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the powerhouse area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from center.
  2. Concentration: If one brings full attention to the exercise and does it with full commitment, maximum value will be obtained from each movement.
  3. Control: Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices.
  4. Precision: In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body.
  5. Breath: Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. He advocated thinking of the lungs as a bellows -- using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise.
  6. Flow: Pilates exercise is done in a flowing manner. Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all exercises. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. Pilates equipment, like the reformer, are very good mirrors of one's flow and concentration as they tend to bang around and suddenly become quite "machine-like" if one loses ones control and flow.

The Pilates principles may sound a bit abstract, but the integration of these principles accounts for the balance, grace, and ease that one can experience as a result of practicing Pilates. These six Pilates principles are essential ingredients in a high quality Pilates workout. The Pilates method has always emphasized quality over quantity, and you will find that, unlike many systems of exercise, Pilates exercises do not include a lot of repetitions for each move. Instead, doing each exercise fully, with precision, yields significant results in a shorter time than one would ever imagine.

Pilates is a Unique Method of Exercise.

Core strength and torso stability, along with the six Pilates principles, set the Pilates method apart from many other types of exercise. Weight lifting, for example, can put a lot of attention on arm or leg strength without attending much to the fact that those parts are connected to the rest of the body! Even running or swimming can seem like all arms and legs, with either a floppy or overly tense core. Ultimately those who really succeed at their sport learn to use their core muscles, but in Pilates this integrative approach is learned from the beginning. Modification is the key to Pilates exercise success with a variety of populations. All exercises are developed with modifications that can make a workout safe and challenging for a person at any level. Core strength is the foundation of Pilates exercise. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and back. When the core muscles are strong and doing their job, as they are trained to do in Pilates, they work in tandem with the more superficial muscles of the trunk to support the spine and movement.As you develop your core strength you develop stability throughout your entire torso. This is one of the ways Pilates helps people overcome back pain. As the trunk is properly stabilized, pressure on the back is relieved and the body is able to move freely and efficiently.

Who can benefit from Clinical Pilates in Victoria at Shelbourne Physiotherapy?

In short, everyone can benefit from pilates. Whether you’re looking for improved sports performance, recovering from injury or simply wish to improve your general well-being, the 6 “C’s” of pilates can be adapted to accommodate your goal/s.

Regardless of your background pilates will improve your strength, flexibility and balance.

8 Things to know Before You Take Pilates Classes

Why choose Shelbourne Physiotherapy for your pilates instruction?

  • Fully equipped Pilates studio in a light and clean environment
  • Experienced and fully qualified Physiotherapists and Certified Physiotherapy Assistants providing expert instruction
  • Expertise: Thorough assessment and individualised programs
  • Convenience: A central and convenient location in the Greater Victoria Area, close to Oak Bay, Saanich and the Uplands.

Pilates Research Evidence

Can a Pilates Exercise Program be effective on Balance. flexibility and muscle endurance? A Randomized Controlled Trial

Pilates Method Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

The Effects of Pilates & Yoga Participants on Engagement in Functional Movement and Individual Health level

Benefits of Pilates in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Effects of Pilates Exercise Programs in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review

The Influence of the Pilates Method on quality of life and bone remodelling in older women: A controlled Study

Examination of a Subgroup of Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Likely to Benefit More From Pilates-Based Exercises Compared to an Educational Booklet.

One Year of Pilates Training for Ankylosing Spondylitis: A Pilot Study.

The effects of Clinical Pilates training on walking, balance, fall risk, respiratory, and cognitive functions in persons with multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial.

Do Health-Related Quality of Life and Pain-Coping Strategies Explain the Relationship between Older Women Participants in a Pilates-Aerobic Program and Bodily Pain? A Multiple Mediation Model.

Perceived benefits, rationale and preferences of exercises utilized within Pilates group exercise programmes for people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions: A questionnaire of Pilates-trained physiotherapists.

Effect of Pilates Intervention on Physical Function of Children and Youth: A Systematic Review.

Pilates exercise focused on ankle movements for improving gait ability in older women.

Effectiveness of the Pilates method versus aerobic exercises in the treatment of older adults with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial protocol.

Effect of Pilates Mat Exercises on Neuromuscular Efficiency of the Multifidus and Internal Oblique Muscles in a Healthy Ballerina.

Effects of Pilates on fall risk factors in community-dwelling elderly women: A randomized, controlled trial.

Effects of Pilates training on sleep quality, anxiety, depression and fatigue in postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial.

The effects of Pilates vs. aerobic training on cardiorespiratory fitness, isokinetic muscular strength, body composition, and functional tasks outcomes for individuals who are overweight/obese: a clinical trial.

Effects of Whole-Body Vibration Versus Pilates Exercise on Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized and Controlled Clinical Trial.

Application of Pilates-based exercises in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain: state of the art.

The Effectiveness of Pilates Exercise in People with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review

Systematic Review: Strategies for Using Exercise Therapy To Improve Outcomes in Chronic Low Back Pain. 

Pilates versus general exercise effectiveness on pain and functionality in non-specific chronic low back pain subjects

Effects of Pilates-Based Exercises on Pain and Disability in Individuals With Persistent Nonspecific Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

Exercising on Different Unstable Surfaces Increases Core Abdominal Muscle Thickness: An Observational Study Using Real-Time Ultrasound.


“STOTT PILATES conditioning will help you develop optimal strength, flexibility, endurance and posture without adding bulk or stressing your joints. The perfect complement to cardiovascular exercise, athletic training or rehabilitation, STOTT PILATES exercises will leave you looking toned, feeling revitalized and moving with ease"

Shelbourne Physiotherapy Stott Pilates reformer


What is Pilates
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