Thursday, August 15, 2013

360 Matwork with Benjamin Degenhardt

 I had the pleasure of meeting Benjamin Degenhardt when he traveled to Plymouth, MI teaching his 360° Pilates Mat Intensive (A nuts-and-bolts approach to Joe’s original Mat).  What an eye opening experience!  The best part?  Taking the time after 5 years of teaching to re-read Joe Pilates book and being able to appreciate his work on a whole new level.  

Sometimes we forget the basics.  We get caught up in the choreography.  Where do we point or flex?  When do I breathe?  Benjamin reminded us to move our bodies and trust it will come together along the way.  The body speaks one language and that is of movement.  Don't get caught up in the preparation of each exercise when the movement is more meaningful.       

Benjamin with an original copy of "Return to Life" signed by Joe himself.
Movement potential is different for everybody.  The Matwork should be your basis for assessing your clients.  Break down each exercise if needed to focus on the activation such as the tailbone curl to start your Roll Over.  If your client is struggling here think about how the different pieces of equipment could assist in creating building blocks to success.  The Mat is their homework and key to having progress in the next session.

Focus on how to create space and support in every exercise.  The image of a flat tire vs. one that is brand new and inflated are great examples of poor posture vs. ideal posture.  Have your clients do the "wrong" way first than have them feel the correct way.  

Prior to this workshop I had a whole process of talking through how when you sit tall your hips, shoulder and ears are stacked up.  You feel length reaching up through the crown of your head.  Blah, blah, blah.  Maybe 25% of them fully understood or could get their body to look tall while seated.  Now I simply say, "Deflate your body like a flat tire.  Now inflate your body."  Poof!  Magic.  Everyone can understand the universal difference and feel their body being lazy compared to fully active.    

Pilates was meant to arouse sluggish blood, work every cell in your body and not be all about having 6-pack abs.  There is a deeper meaning in the work.  It is truly a mind body experience.  One that will transform you from the inside out!  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Break It Down: Pelvic Press

Cool down the body from your intense Reformer session and help tone up your bottom half with the Pelvic Press.

Purpose- Opens up hips, strengthens back and thighs

Preps- Coccyx curls, Bridges, Footwork , Breathing on the Cadillac 

Form- lift hips up several inches so they hover at point where you feel your glutes/hamstrings the most, press shoulder/hands into carriage, feet wide on footbar, straighten legs, pelvis stays low and level

*May not be appropriate for those with low back problems where spinal extension is not well tolerated (disc injuries or stenosis).

Modifications- feet in V position for more support, don't straight legs fully, only bridge and no pressing out, Magic circle/ball in thighs as place holder for more stability

How to Advance- remove springs for less resistance, single leg version, change rhythm of the movement (faster/slower)