Picks and Pans Review: The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning

updated 05/26/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Philip Friedman & Gail Eisen

Like the Nickolaus Technique, which it preceded, the Pilates method demands careful breathing and controlled body movement, but it doesn't disdain sweat. The aim here is to stretch and shape the body while simultaneously improving the psyche. Based on the teachings of the late Joseph Pilates, a German gymnast and circus performer turned fitness expert, the book offers 69 illustrated exercises. Explanations are highly detailed and the authors, novelist-movie producer Friedman and CBS researcher Eisen, preach that one near-perfect execution is more valuable than many sloppy repetitions. Actress Candice Bergen, choreographer George Balanchine and dancers Suzanne Farrell and Jacques D'Amboise have all endorsed the method. (Doubleday, $12.95)

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