I had always thought Pilates was one of those goopy, New Age-y exercise programs. Then again, the buffest woman I ever dated ran a Pilates studio. So, after falling off the fitness wagon, I decided to try Pilates as a way to ""get in shape to get in shape."" First, I learned I was wrong about Pilates: it is a rigorous discipline that places a premium on form, posture, core strength and body awareness. Fran Darnell at Bridge Pilates is a gem. Her gentle and cheerful bedside manner masks a tough as nails instructor. She works with you patiently until you get a movement series down properly, all the while giving you a hard and exhilarating workout. Fran explains the purpose of each exercise and why even a slight shift in posture affects which joints and muscles come into play (she could probably teach a course in Anatomy). She offers endless encouragement, and teaches you to listen to your body so that you can unlearn the bad habits that lead to back aches and muscle pulls, \r
The setting at Bridge Piltates is great: intimate and quiet, so you don't feel like you're working out on the stage at Carnegie Hall. The studio is conventiently located even if you don't live in Brooklyn (it's a block from an F train stop; a five-minute walk from an A train stop), and the instruction fees are very reasonable, especially when compared to those at other, larger places. Go.