It's been another fun week at My Local Pilates. We've been toning and sculpting with the Toning (aka "Magic") Circle, a great piece of classical Pilates equipment for toning upper arms, thighs, backs, bellies and bums! To my clients who haven't used the circle before I hope you enjoyed the classes - the toning circle is also a fantastic way of connecting to your centre; heightening awareness of the pelvic floor and a great teaching tool in correctly recruiting pelvic floor and abdominals. I do have these available to purchase if you wish to use one at home, just drop me a line!
So Rock and Roll...?!
My second "Pilates on the Foam Roller" workshop took place on Saturday at Victoria Park Harriers to a slightly dubious audience! Amongst my regulars were a couple of serious amateur cyclists and half-ironman (or woman!) in training. I know I'm an advocate of all things Foam Roller but it really is a fantastic way of challenging both athletes and the less-sporty alike. No matter how "fit" you are, you are just as likely (and sometimes more, if your sport dictates you working in an asymmetric manner) to have imbalances in the body which can result in a dominant and a weaker side, which may lead to problems later on. The most common reasons are muscular imbalances within the trunk and/or hips and both the spine and pelvis can be affected. The challenge is to identify if you are stronger or weaker on one side and if so by how much.
When we remove the support of the mat and lie supine on the roller, the very unstable Foam Roller can make simple exercises like Knee Folds and Leg Slides suddenly oh so challenging! For instance, doing several repetitions on the right leg before changing to the left will highlight which is more difficult and which feels more fluid and flowing. Knowledge is power. By recognising how you hold your body and whether you hold more tension in one side to the other can add wonders to your Pilates work on the mat!
If this all sounds just too scientific for a Saturday morning, there's one more selling point - less is more on the Foam Roller. All you need is to lie back, get into the "zone" and the roller will almost do the workout for you! We also did a few minutes Myofascial release or "Self-Massage" - probably the less said on this the better! Still, I'm keen to share the benefits, so more on this soon!!
Whilst a cool start to the week, My Local Pilates venues were hotting up nicely as both regulars and newcomers turned out in force for the start of new courses. A record number attended the Healthy Back course; I'm delighted that so many are facing pain head on by re-educating minds and bodies in a bid to combat a condition that's frustrating at best and distressing at worst. To find out more about the Back4Good program and Healthy Back group classes see About Back4Good and About Healthy Back.
After last week's amazing launch, Pilates at Chats Palace has officially begun! By Thursday temperatures had risen somewhat and beer gardens across Homerton and Clapton were calling out, so I congratulate everybody who came- we had a near 100% attendance!
Exercises performed in class are taken from a repertoire by Body Control Pilates. Whilst respecting the heritage of classical Pilates and the pioneer Joseph Pilates, my beginner/improver exercises are designed to be suitable for the modern body who spends much of the day sitting. That said, it's useful to be reminded of the end game (i.e. the classical work) and the exercises as they were performed in the day of Joseph. A fellow teacher shared this video and I'd love to share it with you. My added disclaimer is "don't try this at home" (and certainly not in my class!!).
On a final and personal note, teaching Pilates has become so much more than a means to pay the mortgage; it's a way of life that once embraced will influence everything you do. The way it acutely heightens your body awareness is astounding; the ability to move freely without tension and tight joints is almost an added bonus. To illustrate a point, I've recently begun rowing and can immediately appreciate the likeness of the mind-body connection within Pilates and that same mindfulness needed to row with perfect precision and alignment. Love it!! (and selling pitch over!!).