Darci Brawley Talks Everything Pilates
Written By: Erica Johnson
Photographed By: Erik Isakson
Expert: Darci Brawley
Credentials: Owner of Pilates On Purpose
Q: With all the ways there are to exercise, what first drew you to Pilates?
Darci Brawley: Our body is our instrument through which we experience life. Being asthmatic as a child, I know the importance of breath control and awareness. I have been an athlete my whole life and started weight training at the age of 16. In 1995, I began to research different exercise theories and began my private training practice. Finding that Pilates made so much sense, I obtained my Pilates certification through Balanced Body, and then continued to refine my practice. To further my knowledge, I worked in a physical therapy clinic for the next seven years. I was exposed to many different kinds of bodies and movement patterns that needed different treatment options, not to mention the aging populous and the explosion of technology exasperating improper posture! Pilates incorporates breathing, core strength, focus and quiets the mind as well as giving you a sleek, toned body.
Q: What inspired you to open Pilates on Purpose and why did you choose that name?
DB: The years that I spent in the physical therapy clinic provided invaluable experience while working with those with injuries and developing treatment plans. I saw very clearly that Pilates was a better solution almost every time. When I developed a considerable following, I realized that I had a gift! I felt it was my responsibility to share. Serving others with this knowledge and experience is my divine gift, passion and purpose. It was with great purpose that I opened Pilates on Purpose. Many people do not realize that Pilates has been around since the 1930’s. Why do you think it continues to grow in popularity years later? I see Joseph Pilates as the Einstein of physical movement. The philosophy of balancing the body from the inside out has only expanded. We live longer. To ensure quality and vitality of life, we must strengthen and maintain as well as manage stress. Mindful movement is what Joseph Pilates taught so long ago and it’s even more important now.
Q: Can you explain what the Reformer is and how do you help newcomers get accustomed to it?
DB: The design of the Reformer is genius—it can be assistive or resistive. There are about 900 exercises available on this one machine. Our Reformers are state-of-the-art Balanced Body Wood Reformers with towers. We recommend that our new clients have an initial private session. We evaluate the individual and their needs, then apply Pilates exercises accordingly. By the end of the session, the new client has a basic foundation on which to build. Our studio supports the ongoing individual practice by keeping classes intimate and personal.
Q: How can Pilates help someone with physical issues or limitations?
DB: It can fix back pain. This is my specialty. I effectively use Pilates-based movements coupled with other modalities to achieve lasting results for my clients. What is amazing about Pilates is that the platform is applicable for someone with limited movement due to injury all the way to someone that could perform in Cirque du Soleil. I work with those desiring to stretch and strengthen, the weekend warrior, and the pro athletes. Be it golfers, surfers, volleyball players…they all see amazing improvements with Pilates. Even those with breathing difficulties due to pregnancy or in the process of rehabilitation, we provide modifications to facilitate their progress. My oldest client is 94! Pilates works for everyone.
Q: Your philosophy is “Body, Mind and Soul.” Can you explain the meaning behind that?
DB: So, here’s a little Darci-ism for you: ‘The Human Body: Divine Design. Crappy Use.’ Let’s give ourselves a break! At Pilates on Purpose the soul can be nourished as the body is supported and positively challenged. I believe the greatest stealer of joy is the external comparison that we all do subconsciously. The most impactful part of the practice is transitioning to consciously focusing on and acknowledging a divine connection within. This leads to the best place on earth—a place of gratitude! At Pilates on Purpose we pause life to redirect the mind’s focus through physical exertion. In so doing, the soul is renewed!
Q: Why is Pilates beneficial for both men and women?
DB: Men may not think that Pilates is for them, until they start. I have found men to be the most loyal, consistent clients once they begin. They seem surprised to discover that they can move pain-free, improving their focus and drive. The mental discipline that comes with Pilates and the power they feel makes them devoted clients. For women, many are looking to reclaim their physical health. They may want to get strong, but dislike the idea of ‘bulking up’ by lifting weights. Pilates gives you those long, lean lines, toned arms, tightens your ribcage and core. It’s a freeing feeling to have your clothes fit better and to feel good all the time. The science of Pilates is now recognized world-wide. The American Medical Association recommends Pilates as a treatment for back pain as opposed to opiates. Let’s be pain free, conscious and intentional! As Joseph Pilates said, ‘the mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.’ Let’s be healthy, strong, and take the world on!
Pilates On Purpose
234 E 17th St, Ste 106
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Ditch the Treadmill and Give Pilates On Purpose a Try