Monday, September 24, 2012

Break It Down: Boomerang

The Boomerang is a mat exercise well worth adding in once you are more advanced.  It is a combo move that will test balance and coordination.  Use it in place of Teaser or as an advanced version of Rolling.    

Purpose- Rid the body of toxins, massage the spine, hamstring/back/shoulder flexibility

Preps- Roll Up, Roll Over, Rowing, Rolling, Open Leg Rocker, Teaser, Hamstring stretch

Form- Stay in flexion with legs piked, Roll back first than switch crossed ankles, unroll into Teaser than add butterfly arms stretching to toes, no weight on the head and neck when rolling backward

*Avoid if you have low back or neck problems, are pregnant, have glaucoma, or high blood pressure.

Modify- Leave out the shoulder stretch or Teaser balance, spot client be bracing their feet against your thighs and assisting at their arms

How to Advance- add in a pause once in Teaser, try to touch fingertips behind back, use less momentum

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Health Advice: Safe Cooking Oils

Q: I often cook at home to help control my calorie intake.  Sometimes I use olive oil and other times I use butter.  What would be a healthier cooking oil to use?

A:  Even though it tastes good, butter may not be the best option when it comes to cooking.  Olive oil is a much better option.  The best one would be hazelnut.  If you're concerned about GMO, it's likely that corn, soy, and canola oils are genetically-modified. 
All of the following oils are low in "bad" fats:

  1. hazelnut oil
  2. olive oil
  3. flaxseed oil (needs to be refrigerated)
  4. avocado oil (good for cold spread)
  5. almond oil (good for salad dressings)
  6. canola oil (can fry foods)
  7. apricot oil
  8. sunflower oil (can fry foods)
  9. pistachio oil
  10. peanut oil (good for salad dressings)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teaching Inspiration

Being a teacher has its ups and downs.  No two days are alike; especially in the Pilates world.  Teaching Pilates makes you more patient, humble, and creative.  You have to have a passion to pass onto others.  Your clients will feed off your energy and progress through your direction.  The method is yours to pass on.  

I live daily by this quote: 
"The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires." 
-William Arthur Ward

Here are some other quotes to motivate:

"By learning you will teach; by teaching you will understand." 
-Latin Proberb

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." -Albert Einstein

"You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." -Woodrow Wilson

"No matter how good you get, you can always get better and that's the exciting part." -Tiger Woods

"Nine-tenths of education is encouragement." -Anatole France

"The key to mastering any new job is finding the right mentor." 
-Carolyn Kepcher

"A master can tell you what he expects of you.  A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations." -Patricia Neal  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cultivating Your Spirals

In taking a workshop lead by Jenna Anderson on Cultivating Your Spirals I discovered another layer to Pilates.  We often hear about inward and outward rotation of the limbs, yet there has to be a balance between the two for optimum strength and stability.  "Spirals" are a yoga term to describe this same balance in the body.  Using them works deeper into the joints and requires more stabilizers to activate.  

How do you find them?  Start standing to active your lower spirals.  Toes and knees face out in a wide stance.  Lean forward as if for a Deadlift, feel the outer thigh/glutes up into the hips activate to bring you back up to standing.  Now bring your feet parallel standing tall.  Feel as if your big toes are pulling together doing the same movement.  This time you should feel more inner thigh/pelvic floor activation (inner spiral).  Move now onto all fours in a Tabletop position to find the upper body spirals.  Put a majority of the weight into the webbing of skin between your thumb and first fingers.  This should rotate the inside of the elbows to face one another.  Now imagine you are twisting a door open to allow the inside of the elbows to face away from you (outer spiral).

Once your clients understand these concepts focus on using one set of spirals for each workout and alternate each class.  This will provide more of a complete workout overall.  In time, build up to finding the balance of the spirals in certain exercises to generate the most strength/stability.  

Practice Pilates exercises:

  1. Plank/Tabletop: have the inside of your elbows face each other than away from you, work on finding the balance, add on Bird Dog or Reverse Knee Series for a challenge
  2. Push Through: without moving hold onto the bar with palms facing up to have a broad collarbone, try to keep that open as you flip the palms to face down, now do the exercise while maintaining
  3. Feet in Loops: touch the heels together with each leg circle, focus on which part of the foot is pressing into the strap more
  4. Elephant: rotate the legs into different positions to active more outer thigh or pelvic floor
  5. Standing Balance with Circle: press in with either heels or big toes more to get the whole hip working