Thursday, April 28, 2005

Powers Pilates: Actress to have local book signing

'Hart to Hart' actress and activist adds author to her list of accomplishments

There's never a dull moment in actress Stefanie Powers' world.

She travels regularly and has homes in Los Angeles, England and Africa.

An animal lover and philanthropist, she is also president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, a public charity dedicated to the preservation of animals.

During a recent phone interview from her Southern California home, Powers shushes her parrot Papuga.

"I'm always saying, 'Quiet' or 'Down' to someone," she jokes. (She also owns seven dogs.)

Powers has appeared in 28 feature films and numerous theatrical productions, most recently, a national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King and I."

Most recognized from her starring role as Jennifer Hart in the 1980s hit TV show "Hart to Hart," Powers can now add author to her lengthy list of accomplishments.

Powers will be in Palm Springs today and tomorrow to promote her book "Powers Pilates: Stefanie Powers' Guide to Longevity and Well-Being Through Pilates." From 6 to 8 tonight, she will sign books at the Peppertree Bookstore booth at VillageFest Street Fair in downtown Palm Springs.

Tomorrow at 7 p.m., Powers will be at the bookstore for a more in-depth conversation.

In the book, Powers steers readers away from the notion that Pilates is a mere exercise fad.

"It's a way of life," she said.

With the assistance of Kathy Corey, a Pilates instructor since 1979, Powers lends her name and experience to the mind/body therapy first created by Joseph Pilates during World War I.

Powers attributes the practice to keeping her young and healthy.

"We do know that we are going to be living longer lives. With that knowledge, one would be foolish not to take the opportunity of taking care of oneself," she said.

At 62, Powers makes the time to stay healthy. Since the 1960s, she has incorporated the Pilates exercise into her fitness regimen.

"I don't like to call Pilates work or exercise. I like to call it body therapy. This is anything but no pain, no gain," Powers said.

Pilates promotes flexibility, balance and execution of movement, she said.

"As a dancer, it made more sense to me than any other physical fitness approach to body control," Powers said.

A fan and friend of Mari Winsor, creator of the popular video workout series Winsor Pilates, Powers works out with the tapes.

"But I know what I'm doing," she said. "For most people who don't know how to connect to their body, they don't know what they are suppose to be feeling," she said.

That's what her book is about. "Powers Pilates" explains the mind-body connection, proper breathing techniques and how to create strength without stressing the body.

"You can keep referring to the book. It's much easier than rewinding the DVD," Powers said.

With step-by-step photos, the book guides readers through Pilates basics, warm-ups, towel exercises, mat and floor work. There is also a section dedicated to more advanced movements.

Throughout her successful Hollywood career, Powers has remained loyal to Pilates. As she says in the book, "the only good exercise is the one you do."

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