Posts Tagged ‘ student ’

Mr. Bones wants you to do Pilates!

October 12, 2013
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I love this time of year! Cooler weather, boots, football, Halloween, Mr. Bones!

Happy Halloween! Mr. Bones is my #2 man, second only to my husband.

HumanSkeletonFront-819x1024

So, its a good time to remind you of how Pilates can keep your bones healthy and why Pilates is recommended for those with bone loss (osteoporosis or osteopenia).

Every cell in your body is living and changing–even your bones! So it’s easy to forget that working out affects not only our muscle/fat makeup, but also our bone development. Those who exercise early in life reach a higher peak bone mass before they begin to lose it. (1)

For those already losing bone density, Pilates can be a huge help, when practiced correctly. Doctors suggest weight-bearing exercise for people with osteopenia and osteoporosis. This includes any exercise that works against gravity like weight training or walking (not swimming, for example).

Pilates can help in the following ways:

  • increasing muscle strength, which supports your bones
  • improving balance to prevent you from falling
  • improving alignment/posture to keep joints working smoothly and prevent injury
  • improving all around flexibility and well-being

Pilates students with bone loss should work less with flexion and rotation exercises as this can causes compression and increase the chance of fractures. (2)

Be sure to consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program. For more in-depth information on Pilates and bone health, click the links below.

(1)http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Exercise/

(2)http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/modifying-pilates-for-clients-with-osteoporosis

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 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

 

Commitment, Clarity, Excitement

June 8, 2012
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Teachers might learn a lot from the acting world. The one thing I’ve found to be imperative in both my acting projects and teaching Pilates: Commitment.

I’ve been working really hard (I’m a workaholic)–reading, practicing, teaching, watching others practice, observing and taking class at all kinds of studios. Guess what: I still don’t know everything that’s out there to know in terms of Pilates.

1. The body is complicated.

2. New research on the subject is infinite and always changing.

3. There are so many different opinions and styles of the method.

Still, I know a lot more than the average person does about Pilates. And yet, my classes still seem to be hit or miss.

I recently taught a class of 28 people and was forced to speak loudly, move quickly and take over the room. I said cues like they were FACT and not only  suggestion. Even adding drama on the last few reps seemed to engage people more fully. That same day I taught a class of 6 people that felt messy, clouded and, quite frankly, boring.

I’m learning that I don’t have to have ALL of the answers to be a good teacher. It’s my job firstly, to be safe, and secondly, to tell my students everything I do know so that they can get the best workout possible. Commit to what you do know and joyfully seek out answers for the rest. Speak like you have a class of 50–not 10, be present so you can be clear with your words, get excited and rock these people’s bodies. Commitment and excitement are key in creating solid classes. I can only go up from here!

 

Pilates Basics, Part 3: Upper Body

April 20, 2012
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In observing classes during my training and teaching classes these past few months, I’ve come to realize that a Pilates class can be totally useless if your teacher does not explain basic Pilates terminology. As with any sport, hobby, or skill, there is a universal vocabulary that makes it easier for Pilates instructors and other folk to communicate.

Don’t worry, no need to take notes. A great instructor will be able to guide a beginner with excellent cueing and will continue to refine the advanced student, but I thought I would outline a few of these basics in layman’s terms for those looking to get the most out of class. See Part 1: The Spine and Part 2: The Pelvis.

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I want to take a short amount of time to discuss what happens to the head, neck and shoulders in Pilates. We are aiming for efficiency, stability and safety in all Pilates exercises, so the alignment of the upper body is often different than in other practices, such as yoga.

SCAPULA: Also known as the shoulder blades, these are the flat bones that sit like wings on either side of the upper spine.

  • It is important to slide the scapula down the back and keep the shoulders away from the ears during nearly every exercise.
  • When in plank or on all fours, the scapula should lie fairly flat on the back, without “winging” or poking out.

CERVICAL SPINE: This section of the spine (top 7 vertebrae) can be very delicate in certain positions, so it’s important to think of the cervical spine as a continuation of the thoracic (mid-spine) motion. It’s also helpful

  • In neutral, the ears should fall above the shoulders and you should imagine space between each cervical vertebra.
  • In extension, the cervical spine should extend inline with the amount of thoracic extension. Try not to throw your head way back!
  • When flexing the spine, gently nod your chin but do not crunch it to your chest to ensure that no strain is put on the cervical spine.
  • In inversion (roll over, etc) be careful not to put weight on the cervical spine alone; balance your weight between the scapula instead. Be sure to remove any pillows that were under the head to elevate it during other exercises.

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These are some VERY basic terms and alignment ideas. Pilates is about detailed, efficient movement and knowing these basics will help you better communicate with your teacher to get the best workout possible. I will try to come “back to the basics” as I find out what my students struggle with most.

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: a word from Joe Pilates

April 14, 2012
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I am reading Joe’s Return to Life book on contrology right now and finding it insightful and sometimes…silly. Pilates was truly a way of life for him. He didn’t even stop thinking about it when he was bathing. Here’s what Joe has to say about getting clean:

While conceding the fact that nowadays practically everyone of us routinely indulges in daily baths, experience has nevertheless taught us that only a small minority really achieve thorough cleanliness thereby, from our point of view. In our opinion, the correct technique to use in accomplishing this highly desirable result is to use only a good stiff brush (no handle) since this type of brush forces us to twist, squirm, and contort ourselves in every conceivable way in our attempts to reach every portion of our body which is otherwise comparatively easy to reach with a handle brush.

There you have it, folks!

I’ll be posting another Pilates Basics (Part 1: Spine, Part 2: Pelvis) article this week before Pilates for Performers, which is on April 21st at 3:30pm.

Pilates Basics, Part 1: The Spine

March 13, 2012
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In observing classes during my training and teaching classes these past few months, I’ve come to realize that a Pilates class can be totally useless if your teacher does not explain basic Pilates terminology. As with any sport, hobby, or skill, there is a universal vocabulary that makes it easier for Pilates instructors and other folk to communicate.

Don’t worry, no need to take notes. A great instructor will be able to guide a beginner with excellent cueing and will continue to refine the advanced student, but I thought I would outline a few of these basics in layman’s terms for those looking to get the most out of class.

Let’s start with the spine, which is a central point of focus in Pilates. Joe Pilates said:

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”

PARTS OF THE SPINE:

  • Cervical-Neck area, upper seven vertebrae
  • Thoracic-Middle, next twelve vertebrae
  • Lumbar- Lower, bottom five vertebrae

SPINAL FLEXION: Similar to a cat stretch; the head and tail are curling to the front of the body, engaging the abs (in any position).

SPINAL EXTENSION: Similar to a cow stretch; head and tail are reaching up and back from the body, engaging the back muscles (in any position).

SPINAL ROTATION: Wringing out the waist and rotating the torso to one side while maintaining a stable, still pelvis.

Next Up, Part 2: The Pelvis.

 

Don’t forget: We will have a Pre-Patty’s Pilates for Performers on March 17th at 11am at Ripley Grier. E-mail stephaniedjoiner@gmail.com to RSVP, or like heels together, toes apart Pilates on Facebook.

A Lifelong Study

January 28, 2012
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My test is in 3 days. I’ve been studying my glutes off!

My biggest lesson is that the learning NEVER stops. I have a study buddy who I meet with once a week to prepare for the test and discuss Pilates. We come up with tons of questions. When I ask the teachers of our course, they have great answers, but sometimes respond with, “You don’t need to know that for the test.” One said, “Most people don’t even come up with these kind of questions before the test.”

It’s appalling, but it’s true. There’s SO MUCH information, they couldn’t possibly cram it all into one little test. I’m learning selective material–stuff to get the ball rolling–but the learning will not stop when I pass a silly test. It’s like TAAS, TAKS, SATs, Regents…they can’t possibly measure and test students on everything.

Pilates will be a lifelong study, like almost everything in my life. The good news is that it so directly pertains to my life as an artist. I’m looking forward to being an eternal student of the human body as a means of creating and communicating stories.

Wish me luck!

 

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