Posts Tagged ‘ mind-body connection ’

Donation-Based Pilates for a Good Cause

March 19, 2014
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March MATness is here!

Here’s another Mat Opportunity: donation-based Pilates for a good cause. If you are in NYC, my friend Christen Sindelar-Long’s class is raising funds for her niece, Kelly, who has Tuberus Sclerosis Complex and Infantile Spasm Complex. Read more about Kelly’s story here. You can get your body moving AND help out a precious kid–that’s an hour well spent, my friends!

Kelly

 

When: Thursdays, 9am until the end of April

Where: Pilates on Fifth (you must arrive early to fill out a form and bring socks!)

Who: You! Me! Everyone! (Taught by the amazing and lovely Christen Sindelar-Long)

How Much: $20 minimum donation

Why: Sweet Kelly

Peace out, Pilates People.

Working on Your Shins–First Reader Question!

January 27, 2014
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A reader of mine posted this question to Facebook a few days ago. (He’s also my husband, y’all, and I did NOT put him up to this, surprisingly. What a cutie!)

Hello Mrs. Prime,

I have a question. I couldn’t think of anyone else better to ask, so it’s up to you to help me out here! I saw your post/picture on ‘optimal seated posture.’ Well, to be honest, I’m tired of sitting. I don’t have a fancy standing-optional desk. Is there any benefit to kneeling while working at my desk as a break from sitting? It feels pretty good to stretch out my hip flexors (…if that’s a thing). Thanks in advance!

-A fan

Here is the picture I posted about optimal computer posture for anyone who missed it:

Computer_Posture

Dear a fan,

Nice thinking! Theoretically, giving the muscles a break from the position they are in for an extended time is a great idea! Realistically, it may not be beneficial to stay and work in this position.

Kneeling can feel like a nice break from sitting, but most people’s bodies won’t allow them to stay in proper kneeling position for too long, especially when they are focused on something else.

1. For people with tight hip flexors, keeping no crease in the hips for a long time can require a lot of glute action and become very tiring if you haven’t built strength there.

2. If the hips do crease, chances are the front hip bones will fall forward and the tail will reach backwards and up (called an anterior tilt). If the pelvis stays this way, you can get tight in the lower back. (See picture below; the one on the right is anteriorly tilted).

ANTERIOR-PELVIC-TILT

3. Depending on the height of your desk, you will probably have to raise the arms very high in order to type while on your knees. This will likely cause stress in the upper traps and other neck muscles.

What to do?! MOVE. I suggest to my clients that they stretch for even just three minutes every hour they spend at their computer. Some simple options:

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Mermaid

Pec Stretch

Cat/Cow

Keep the questions coming!

Best,

Stephanie

Podcast!

June 18, 2013
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There’s a first for everything and last week I did my first podcast with the wonderful Joel B. New on his podcast, Something New. We discussed what it’s like to be a singing, dancing, acting, Pilates instructor and then sang one of Joel’s songs.

Download here (Episode 13) or enjoy below.

mza_3515069973700975172.170x170-75 

Schedule Changes

June 1, 2013
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Hello all!

Please note that my schedule has changed slightly. I now have a Sunday CoreAlign class at Pilates on Fifth. I’ll be teaching pretty steady through September with a few days off in August.

I’m talking about:

CoreAlign

NOT:

coraline

See Video for more:

 

Pilates Basics: Breathing

April 14, 2013
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It’s back to basics this April! Let’s talk about breath–one of the central principles of Pilates.

The primary type of breathing used in Pilates is costal breathing–the rib cage expands side to side and front to back allowing the abs to stay engaged. Think of lateral movement especially–side to side. And also think of puffing out the back of the ribs when sitting or standing. The benefits of this type of breathing are that you can increase your ribcage elasticity and stabilize the torso for motions that require mega-support from the abs. Exhalation could be passive or active, but remians controlled and smooth. However, breathing this way for too long can cause anxiety in some.

Research has shown that diaphragmatic breathing reduces stress and relaxes people. Diaphramatic breathing is allowing the diaphragm to drop and may give you the feeling of filling the belly with air, although the air does not travel down that far.

Your Pilates breath should be different than your all-day regular life breath. It’s not beneficial to walk around keeping the abs zipped up and breathing only into your ribcage. You train the muscles in Pilates to be there when you need them for stability…not so you are stuck like a statue the whole day. The torso should move freely.

It’s a good idea to take breaks in Pilates and allow 3 or 4 diaphragmatic breaths to calm the body and deepen your oxygen intake while in a pose that requires less balance and less stability for the spine–say, child’s pose or half-bend forward. This is also a great way to release/stretch the lower back.

BREATHE

 

Good Morning, Starshine!

March 1, 2013
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After teaching 7am classes twice a week for the last 6 months, I must weigh in on what it’s like to unite mind and body in a morning practice. The Yoga Room is offering a special 7am challenge, so now is the perfect time to start.

Before we get to the good stuff, you should know that science says you’ll have less of an appetite, more energy, more mental acuity, sleep better and be consistent in your practice by carving out exercise time in the morning*.

But, what I’ve noticed is that the morning is full of possibilities! You have a blank canvas to paint on. A nighttime yoga or Pilates practice carries the baggage of the day with it and much of the class will be spent undoing the tension from that day. In the a.m., you have a brand new, and hopefully rested, body to utilize which will take your practice even further.

In the end, when everyone else is gone, you are stuck with YOU (and your body). Spend time with YOU at the very start of your day. Why not give gratitude, challenge your body, and create space before you press on and work to please everyone else? To live your whole day in a body that’s connected to your mind, breath, and spirit is a wonderful thing. It brings about a mindfulness that changes the way you think, move, connect with others, and make decisions.

For tips on how to become an early riser, check out Leo Babauta’s article in one of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits.

Details on the 7am challenge and TYR Rewards are here. See you bright and early!

image

*http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/lose-weight-with-morning-exercise
*http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/new-study-suggests-morning-workouts-key-cutting-hunger-cravings-article-1.1158645

Pilates Practice

August 24, 2012
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I’m surprised when people offer up an excuse about their lack of flexibility or “core” strength when avoiding Pilates workouts.

Do you never bowl again because you can’t get a perfect 300?

I’m a huge fan of the yoga “practice” approach. You show up, you do your best and you thank yourself at the end. With persistence, things start to change including your body, your practice, and your belief in yourself.

It’s the same in Pilates; through practicing daily, the method will make you stronger. You can thank yourself each session, or you can wait for your body to thank you down the line.

So what if you can’t get your legs straight in teaser? That isn’t the point! The point is to find a spinal shape that works towards getting you stronger and more stable. And in the process, you’ve learned some lessons about your body: both challenges and strengths.

Pilates isn’t about creating perfect shapes; perfection implies no room for growth. Pilates is about growing in awareness, efficiency, and movement. You’ll never know what’s possible until you try.

 

Practice is the best of all instructors.

-Publilius Syrus

 

Olympian Sessions: Just for fun!

August 1, 2012
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So, I’m obsessed with the Olympics. It would be a huge challenge and dream come true to train or even work out with athletes of that calibre. Though I’m no sports expert, here’s what I would work on with these inspired athletes to ensure that their training keeps them balanced and functional in life. Click on the links to see videos!

Rowing:

Variations on Swan: Rowing requires a slightly flexed spine and tons of abs, so I would make sure their thoracic spine gets some good extension as well.

Single Thigh Stretch on Reformer and Extensors on the Chair: These athletes train for hours sitting with their legs out in front of them. It’s important for them to stretch the hip flexors and continue to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings.

Swimming: 

Standing Cadillac work, Side Splits on Reformer: Being in the water creates a different pull on the body than when moving through real life with gravity. I would focus on functional movements to increase balance.

Gymnastics:

Back Rowing: I would take advantage of these athletes’ grace and choreographic strengths. This exercise also mobilizes the spine fluidly, hopefully releasing them from the sometimes rigid lines they must maintain when in the air or balancing.

Mermaid/Side Bends: Though I am sure they have strong obliques, I’ve been watching any and all gymnastic events and am surprised by the lack of true lateral flexion in the spine (side bending). These exercises isolate that direction and sculpt the waist.

Go USA!

 

Pilates is for YOU! Check out my article…

June 26, 2012
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It’s easy to think of women in lulu, drinking Starbucks and flapping their “Hundreds” hands whens someone says “Pilates.” But, Joe Pilates trained boxers, soldiers and dancers. No matter who you are, Pilates will benefit you in some way. Read the article on the subject I wrote for a friend’s eNewsletter here!

Melinda is an excellent health coach and fitness teacher in the city. I can’t recommend her enough! Visit her website for nutritional info, coaching, and holistic health.

Pilates Playtime on Vacation

May 25, 2012
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Traveling this summer? You can relax, get sun, stay connected and get benefits even from 15 minutes of Pilates a day–requiring no special equipment. In fact, taking a few moments to check in with your body will likely improve your vacation in more ways than one. It is always  best to talk to a trainer to personalize a workout (call me, maybe!), but you can also try these ideas on for size.

I recommend finding five exercises to practice. Each one should move the spine in a different direction (there are four, basically, and I added neutral for stabilization).

1. Flexion: Curving the spine bringing the front of the ribs and front of the hips closer together. (Hundreds, Cat Stretch)

2. Extension: Curving the spine bringing the tail and the head further behind the body (still lengthening out). (Swan, Cow Stretch)

3. Lateral Flexion: Bending the spine to one side bringing the shoulder closer to the hip on that side. (Side Bend, Banana).

4. Rotation: Rotating the shoulders and upper spine one way while keeping the pelvis neutral (wringing out the waist). (Spine Twist, Obliques)

5. Neutral: No movement, but spine stabilizes in the natural position (with abs engaged). (Plank, Watchdog)

Important Note: Bones don’t move themselves! Think about the abs and other core muscles that are creating the movement from within, rather than mindlessly forcing yourself into a shape. It’s only 15 minutes–make it count, body mind and soul!

Make sure you warm up and start with neutral or flexion before moving on to the other directions. If you are feeling ambitious, warm up with a few yoga sun salutations, or go for a brisk walk to get the breath moving!

This short routine will prime both your mind and body for a longer, better, more relaxed vacation day. Encouraging your body to return to your hardcore workout schedule after vacation will also be easier since you kept in touch with your body while away–it’s the only one you have!

Thanks to my friends at Pilates on Fifth for making great Pilates accessible online. I tried to use their videos when possible. 

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