Peeling Back the Layers of Pilates
rē•defined with B The Method.
Lia Bartha wanted to find a means of healing her body and mind simultaneously to reap the benefits of awakening meditative practices and a low-impact full-body workout. Furthermore, she sought to accomplish all of this sans the large, bulky equipment traditionally associated with these pilates practices. Instead, she wanted to find a routine that could fit seamlessly into busy days yet still provide the ability to foster a mind-body connection.
Over the years, Bartha has forged her own rē-imagination of pilates, putting her spin on classical methods with exercises developed to adapt to a small stability ball. Bartha weaved her background in ballet and swimming to tie in all of the muscles in the body, all while tapping into the mind. Through the development of what is now known as B The Method, Bartha came out the other side with a challenging regime that worked the deep muscles, forging a connectedness between the mind and body.
The inception of B The Method
When developing B The Method, Bartha was inspired by accessibility and babies. Bartha tells rē•spin that a traditional pilates reformer felt not only clunky but was limited, too. In addition, she noticed that as an instructor, she was becoming tired of the monotonous exercises, a feeling that her clients echoed. Bartha explains that she “craved more of a mind-body connection,” not to mention that the price of group exercise classes had become increasingly more expensive to keep up with.
In 2014, Bartha gave birth to her first daughter, disrupting her routine and heightening her craving for something new. At the time, she had stopped teaching and going to the gym, spending her time developing an exercise that mirrored a stripped-back version of pilates. Instead, the flow was more accessible and able to be done at home using a deflated stability ball as the only tool. In addition, she explains, “I found that when used in specific ways, the ball forced me to engage my core while serving as a conduit for connection throughout the body.”
Simultaneously, she expanded her knowledge to encompass nutrition, studying the topic in addition to pelvic-floor health and the mind-body connection. Through her studies and extensive past with pilates as a practice, she dreamed of finding a way to bring everything together. In her world, there could be an intersection, creating a holistic approach to touch on multiple facets of our well-being and become part of our routine.
What is B The Method?
Today, B The Method is a curated flow of movements that draws inspiration from pilates, swimming, and dancing. These practices can be done anywhere, whether at home or traveling, with little to no equipment. Bartha emphasizes that all can join and go at their own pace, offering modifications for different ages and experience levels. While B The Method retains some roots of pilates, the two diverge paths regarding equipment and practice.
“We focus on spinal health, much like traditional pilates, but adding in many other elements like cardiovascular health, oppositional length and reaching, body-weight resistance and even development of every muscle,” she adds. “It’s truly a full-body experience. The classes are also designed to get you into a meditative flow-state through breath and movement to add in the mindful element that is so incredibly important.”
Adopting B The Method pilates into our routine
When folding the ethos of B The Method into our practices, Bartha first suggests that you learn about the neutral spine, including how to find it, why it’s essential, and what it provides for us both short and long term. When we exercise in a neutral spine, it can assist with posture, decompression of the spine, lower back pain, and functional strength.
Aside from the neutral spine, she also emphasizes the notion of ensuring your foundational practices and low-impact. B The Method focuses on ensuring that you’re not harming yourself to get into shape. Low-impact exercises, when done right, are effective and can help protect you from injury and become foundational to all your fitness practices and regimes.
There’s a particular focus on being present, too. Today, several fitness regimes provide distractions in the form of intricate tools and gadgets, dim lighting, and loud music, all of which can distract you from the workout itself. How can we fully embrace our mind-body connection if we’re provided with distractions that can cause our focus to drift? This not only affects the sanctity of the workout but can lead to the possibility of injury, too.
“At some point in the fitness industry, instructors became motivational speakers instead of trainers with a deep understanding of how the body functions,” she says. “I personally find this approach a bit condescending. Also, in my own life, I was feeling distracted by my phone and computer and all the noise of my busy day, and I was craving an hour of just being present in my body. B The Method offers a holistic approach because full-body fitness should also include mental health.”
rē•imagining the standard pilates practices
With any exercise, there will be similar benefits when it comes to strengthening our body and testing new limits. For B The Method, its practices help strengthen and sculpt and improve our mood and self-esteem. But above all, Bartha created B The Method with eternal health in mind. She explains, “The low-impact, core-focus will protect you from injury while strengthening your core (and mobilizing the spine), which is the foundation for longevity in not only every exercise and sport but every movement.”
She also emphasizes the focus of her practices on the pelvic floor; an area often left out of other fitness modalities. We need our pelvic-floor muscles to stabilize our core while assisting with bodily functions, including bowel movements and sex. Bartha jokes, “So if we’re going to highlight one benefit of B The Method, let’s go with better orgasms.”
There’s the effect on traditional fitness culture, too. Bartha explains, “For as long as I can remember, there’s been a heavy focus on results and an obsession with ‘before and after’ photographs. The problem with this marketing technique is that it boils fitness down to weight-loss and aesthetics.”
“I’m not saying that we shouldn’t want and expect positive results from all of our hard work, but to lead with it just feels cheap,” she adds. “Everyone’s body is different, and health is way more than a number on a scale. Put in the work, and you’ll see the results. The key is to do it right and build strength from the inside out.”