Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pilates Brain: 5 Parts of the Mind

Your mind is just as important as your body in Pilates.  They work hand in hand for the best results.  In fitness we expand the mind by improving memory and intelligence.  Our body learns new motor patterns which are than stored in our "data base" for later use.  Repetition of exercises as well as adding on new skills once those are mastered keep clients challenged.  Know the Pilates brain and your clients will progress quicker.

  1. Intelligence: acquire and apply knowledge or skills...Master the coordination of the 100 and the rest of the system falls into place
  2. Memory: how the mind stores and remembers information...Learn the order and trust yourself to know which exercise comes next, performance anxiety may occur but keep moving with the flow and it will lead you in the right direction
  3. Imagination: a creative and resourceful mind that can form new ideas or concepts...Feel the beach ball you round over in Spine Stretch, pretend you are a ball in Rolling, grow out of your seat to sit taller for Short Box, explore and play with your workouts
  4. Will/Desire: decides on and initiates action with intention...You plan and come to class on time, there is dedication in the practice with a consistent schedule, live your life with passion
  5. Intuition: to understand immediately or have the gut feeling in decision making...Trust yourself to go to your limits and be successful on and off the mat


Friday, October 19, 2012

Health Advice: De-stress

Q: My corporate job can be stressful.  I know that can take a tole on my health inside and out.  My personal trainer warned me that too much stress can cause weight gain and lower my immune system.  Are there ways I can de-stress to prevent this?

A: Yes!  Stress can take a tole on the body.  We are designed for a "fight or flight" response, but not well for emotional daily stress.  You can form healthy habits to help keep stress levels low.  Quit the cigarettes and limit alcohol and caffeine.  Make sure you get 6-8hrs of sleep daily to replenish the body, snack throughout the day to keep your metabolism going, and engage in some form of physical activity you enjoy for at least 30 minutes.  

Beyond those basics, take time to talk and spend time with family, pets and friends.  Plan vacation days off (especially if you get paid time off) ahead of time to allow for breaks in your schedule.  Make time to attend a sporting event, concert, or play.  Walk the mall with a friend, have a spa day alone, or date night in with your spouse.  Remember to laugh by watching a TV show or reading a comic strip.  Take time to slow down and appreciate the small things in life by keeping a gratitude journal or enjoying your morning cup of tea.  Finally, volunteer time in your community by helping out at church or making dinner for an elderly neighbor.  Having a life outside of the stressful work environment can give you the balance your body needs.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Art of Pilates Touch

I was lucky enough to attend "The Art of Physical Touch" workshop at Core Sport lead by Simona Cipriani whom was taught by Romana.  Pilates is all about stretch, strength and control.  Working hands on with your clients will encourage or help in correcting their movement patterns.  Make sure you ask permission and know your client well before moving into touch techniques.  Also keep in mind to use props such as a wooden pole or strap for the feet.  As Joe would say, "You feel it where you need it," and touch can assist in taking you deeper into the system.  

The skin is the largest organ in the body with receptors that can determine heat or cold, soft touch, vibration or pain.  Certain body parts such as the hands and lips have more of these receptors than a knee or elbow.  Keep in mind to use your thigh and hands depending on the exercise.  Below are some examples of useful touch in matwork:

100s/Ab Series: support the upper back/shoulders with heel of the hand or palms to get into the full C curve, spot feet at heels to activate more glute/hamstring or ensure proper tracking of legs

Roll Up/Spine Stretch Forward: feet in loops to ground heels, weighted pole to assist the Roll Up, wooden pole to "roll out the pizza dough" on low abs for Spine Stretch

One Leg Circles: stabilize hips or shoulders with heel of hands, press hand into bottom thigh to help squeeze when circling

Rolling like a Ball/Seal: from the front of the mat slide your foot under client on the roll back so thigh supports the bottom on the balancing point then take away to roll back up

Side Leg Series: straddle the waist with both feet to keep torso steady, line up a wooden pole on the top thigh to keep leg in alignment, palm of hand on top heel to activate more inner thigh

Teaser: thighs help balance the legs in classical Teaser position, client presses tops of hands into your palms to assist rolling up

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Health Advice: Brighten Up a Boring Sandwich

Q: I usually eat a sandwich for lunch at work.  That means I eat one about 5x/week!  Is there a way to make it more interesting instead of just your typical bread, meat and cheese?

A: Start first by working on the outside.  Think spinach wraps, whole grain bread, portabella mushrooms, or tortilla.  Than move onto replacing mayo with hummus, yogurt or pesto.  You will get more flavor and less calories in the spread alone.  Change up the "meat" into shrimp with quinoa, black beans, tofu, avocado, almond butter with apples, or beets.  If its a tuna or chicken salad add in some sliced almonds, dried cranberries/cherries, pine nuts, raisins, carrots or cucumber for a kick.  Finally add in an extra crunch (instead of lettuce) of radishes, sprouts, kale or pickled veggies.