Urban Body’s Maria Yu unveils the secrets for getting into and staying in shape this spring and all year long.
Urban Body San Jose’s co-owner Maria Yu
Maria Yu was a professional dancer for 17 years before eventually breaking into the world of Pilates. Now, as a certified Pilates instructor, Yu teaches and mentors the classic Pilates method at San Jose’s Urban Body, where she’s a co-owner. Here, Yu breaks down how to get into shape this season—both inside and outside the gym.
TIP 1: FIND A MOVEMENT MODALITY THAT BRINGS JOY
“My favorite quote at Urban Body San Jose is by Gyrotonic founder Juliu Horvath,” says Yu. “He wisely states that the ultimate aim is to be at home in one’s body and to experience exercises as a creative and delightful experience.”
TIP 2: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR THOUGHTS
“Thoughts are powerful; bring awareness to yours,” says Yu. “Make a mindful effort to encourage body positivity, and resist negative thoughts that will only hold you back from achieving wellness.”
TIP 3: GET YOUR REST
“The power of sleep is underestimated in the fitness realm,” says Yu. “It should be a non-negotiable part of your wellness routine. A good night’s sleep will give you the power to perform and push during workouts, and it’s crucial for muscle recovery.”
TIP 4: BREATHE
“Learning how to breathe is a superpower,” says Yu. “Mindfully coordinating one’s breath with movement can be life-changing. As said best by Joseph Pilates, before any real benefit can be derived from physical exercise, one must first learn how to breathe properly. Our very life depends on it.”
TIP 5: BECOME WEDDED TO MOVEMENT
“Get into the habit of walking and taking the stairs whenever it’s an option,” says Yu. “Pilates noted that change happens through movement, and movement heals. We set ourselves up for success when we rely on good habits rather than willpower.”
TIP 6: PRACTICE SELF-CARE
“Self-care is not an indulgence but necessary—I’m saying this as a mother of three small children and a small-business owner,” says Yu. “We must learn to drop the guilt and give ourselves the care and love that we give others. Support yourself by finding a movement practice that brings you mental and physical well-being. We must invest in our wellness because having our health is having wealth!”