Pilates for everyone

Toning circle Pilates with Jackie BrealeyWell, we have now been in the new house for over 6 months, and it feels like all the nightmare’s we faced in the whole process are far and away behind us.  We LOVE it here and I guess eveyone did tell us it all happens for a reason, and I have to now reluctantly agree, we did end up with the best of the lot.  So nice to be able to now  be making it our own (much decorating needed to bring it into this centuary, you would not believe the layers of embossed wallpaper) and concentrate on teaching more people Pilateswithjackie !!

It has been a difficult few months with family emergencies and many of my lovely people off with nasty bugs and now hoping that all this is behind us as the month progresses.

I have had a wonderful response to my website and facebook page and so many enquiries from people wanting to join “my gang”.  I have felt very privileged with all the compliments on how much my classes and 1:1’s have helped and although there are always people that move on for one reason or another I have increased all my class sizes and have a great full class at another school.  Massive thanks to Sabrina for ringing the praises of the Pilates effect on her body and encouraging the teachers to join her in a brand new class at the Hermitage school near Woking.

I have had more enquiries in December than ever before and again this last week, that I am beginning to feel I need more hours in the day to fit in the assesments……but hey I’m not complaining.

I also have a lovely husband and wife team I teach at their home.  It is a late session but I have to admit they are so entertaining that this matters not.  They are very competative, and funny but work incredibly hard and this makes it a joy to teach them.

My class at the Berystede is proving very popular with people fighting (metaphorically speaking – they don’t actually resort to fisticuffs in the hallways) to get on to the list.

We have quite a few more guys in the classes now and I believe the biggest improvements I see in bodies are usually in the guys.  The benefits far outweigh the ‘stigma’ of joining what most deemed to be a ‘ladies’ exercise regime.  They know know its not just for the girls, Pilates is for everyone!!

So people, expect more!!  We will see the return of the roller next week.  The toning circles have been fun this week, and mighty hard work.  Even my glutes have been complaining|!!

 

Spring into a new body……with Pilates

Well the spring is officially upon us, though I am quite sure the bad weather  is not done with us yet!  Looking out at all the blossom and having seen such a fantastic display of daffodils this year maybe I am wrong.  However with the spring comes the urge to purge…….bad habits, weight, clutter and lazy muscles!!  Well,  good news, Pilates can help with some of those.

Spring is an ideal opportunity to find a new fitness regime and what better way than to ease into it with a one-to-one session Pilates session in the comfort of your own home.  I can come a long at a convenient time and discuss what you think your problems are regarding exercise and your body.  I can run through  all your questions and fears and we can check out your strengths and weakness’s so we can get you moving in the right direction and strart re-aligning and re-shaping your muscles.

Spring time gives me a determination to get as fit as possible for those lighter evenings and the promise of some sunshine. The unburdening of all those winter jumpers  is like shedding your winter coat and becoming “leaner”.  Pilates helps with toning the muscles to become leaner and stronger, ready for the summer months when I can spend more time out doors………yes, even when the good old British weather doesn’t play fair.

Spring also is an invitation to start eating more healthily again.  I always struggle in the winter months because I feel I need to eat more to keep warm……a myth I’m sure, but my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!  I have my juicer out again and have really cut out a lot of sugar from my diet.  A difficult one for me as a real sugar-holic!!  I am also trying to increase my water intake and decrease the coffee, tea and …….gingerbeer!  I knew it was sugary but whoa, not that much!  Tying to add fresh ginger to my juicing and lemon to my water, great for internal cleansing and digestion.  And soon it will be salad season, and I can resist the pasta/potatoe urge for some greenery.  Love it!

So, hoping Spring is an incentive to you all too.  To get fit, ditch the sugar, and join a Pilates class!Downward facing Dog with Jackie Brealey

 

Welcome to Mr Pilates

The Pilates method practised by so many of us now in so many towns, counties and throughout the world all origionated because of one determined and special man, Joseph Pilates.  Mr Pilates himself was in fact German and born in 1880,  into a woking class famly in Dusseldorf.  There is little known about his family and childhood except for the fact he was a sickly child and reprted to have suffered from rickets, ashma and reumatic fever but by the age of 14 he managed to re-build his body enough to pose for anatomical drawings.

Joseph used the influence of a new awareness of health and exercise of the time to explore the physical effects of strength and gymnastic training on the body and mind.  He devised through his own transformation his method of mind/body training.  He came to England in his 30’s and worked as a circus performer and a boxer amongst other things, one of those being a fitness teacher to detectives in the Police force.

When war broke out he was interned but continued to expand his knowledge and fitness methods, practising on other internees.  And during this time he designed the “reformer’.  A machine to be used as a help to strenghten muscles with the use of pulleys and springs, helping work with assistance or resistance and  this machine is very much a part of the pilates studio world now and a brilliant aid to body fitness and alignment.

Mr Pilates was convinced there was a connection between poor posture, sedantry lifestyles and ill health, and studied many forms of exercise and fitness such as yoga, bodybuilding and even acrobatics to use as a whole body exercise experience.  The need to engage mind and body and use flowing movements and slower fewer repetitions can help you contol your body.    Used correctly and regularly it helps to re-align, reshape and repair bad posture, weak muscles restore a balanced and stronger body.

The most common phrase I hear when new clients either come to watch classes or when they watch me teaching them basic exercises in assessments is “oh you made that look so easy………..and it’s not is it!!”  No it’s not, I have been doing Pilates for 20 years and teaching for 10 and I still find certain things challenging.  Yes, injuries can make things difficult but with the right kind or re-conditioning at class or in a one to one session you can start to help make the changes you need in your body to get back to your best “you” physically.  No, it will not happen over night and you will have to work hard for it but with the right kind of direction from your Pilates instructor and a willingness to see it through then anything is possible.  Mr Pilates proved that in his own body and in all his students.  Photographs of his students before and after his teaching really do show incredible results in body alignmnent and muscle definition and strength.

Mr Pilates was certainly an inspitation to me and all my fellow instructors, and now to my clients too.  An inspiration to want to do better, to re-align, reshape and repair my body, and to keep going because even when I have made one target I know there will always be more challenges so i can set new targets.

Sadly Joseph Pilates passed away in 1967 from smoke inhalation whilst trying to save some of his studion equipment in a fire.  He was 87 and in great physical shape and I see no reason to believe he would not have gone on many many years more.  I have clients in the 70’s and 80’s who are amazing and have really increased their movement and strength as a result of their Pilates.  It is an exercise regime for all ages, shapes, sizes and fitness levels.  Joseph Pilates was a true inspiration.  Come and join me at a class or have a one to one and be inspired too.

high spine curl with arms extended and single leg extension

Pilates for runners

 

Pilates for runners

Why runners should do Pilates
We’ve got the lowdown on all things Pilates and why it’s so good for runners.

by Georgia Scarr

“What is Pilates?

Pilates is often compared to yoga, but they actually have very different backgrounds. While yoga is a centuries-old practice with close links to spirituality, Pilates is a mind and body conditioning technique developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. Classes feature exercises to improve core stability and encourage healthy posture. Various pieces of equipment such as stability balls, resistance bands, foam rollers and Pilates studio equipment, like Reformers, may be used.

“What we’re really trying to do is teach people how to move better,” says Lynne Robinson, co-founder and director of Body Control Pilates. “We have three fundamentals – the ABCs. One is correcting the alignment of the body (A), then working on your breathing (B) and centring (C), which is core stability.”

Why should runners do Pilates?

Core stability is essential for good running technique and to help avoid injury. “In terms of runners, sometimes a slight imbalance in the body will go on to create problems because it’s such a repetitive movement that you’re doing. Even a small adjustment in your posture or in your core stability can make a huge impact,” says Robinson.

What’s the difference between matwork Pilates and Reformer Pilates?

Both classes work the same muscles in the same way, but just with different challenges. Matwork takes place on the floor and can be done without any equipment or with small items to make it more challenging (such as balls, bands and rollers). Reformer classes use Universal Reformers (see one here). These are frame structures with springs and pulleys that provide resistance as exercises are carried out, and give a symmetrical grid to work in.

What are the benefits of each kind?

With Reformers, the closed chain environment provides a particularly effective workout. “We can really work on correcting hip, knee and ankle alignment, and improving the tracking of the knee”, Robinson says. “Particularly useful for runners with knee problems, we can focus on the vastus medialis obliquus, one of your quadriceps. Even though runners often get strong quads, this stabilising muscle can be weak. There’s also a Reformer attachment called a jump board, which is great for improving your running action.”

In terms of matwork, Robinson says the main benefit is “you can do matwork anywhere, in particular before and after your run. Unless you live above a studio you won’t have access to the equipment 24/7.” Additionally, Pilates accessories are widely available to buy if you wish to supplement your routine.

“With the Reformer, you probably get slightly quicker results than you will do just doing the matwork, however realistically most runners are not going to have access to a Reformer before and after they run. So, what they’ve got to do is come up with a few simple exercises to do.”

 

 

New Year, new start, new you!

Happy New Year to everyone out there.  I hope all those of you who were poorly over the festive season are all better  now.  All the decorations are down (even if not packed away)  and we are all ready for a positive January.   All those choccies and mince pies are eaten and  looking forward to new start with an exercise regime ready for a post Christmas body and a new you!

On a personal note,  my own 2016  had a negative start this week!!!.  Another vendor pulling out in exchange week……how unlucky can we be on the moving house front.  What did we do to deserve all this hassle with trying to buy a new home!  We are doing our best to keep busy and stay focused in the hope that this will all turn out for the best……eventually, but quite hard at the moment to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  So, only one thing for it, forget it, line myself up with more work, throw ourselves back out there and start having some fun.  We have been so long in limbo, we have foregone our social life somewhat.  We are now on house 3, so fingers crossed 3rd time lucky!

Pink mat with Jackie Brealey

And, throwing myself into work I am looking at running some more Pilates sessions in January, in Bagshot, Ascot, and Bisley.  Had some great holiday cover sessions at Pennyhill and the Berystede and and going to use my spare time to do a massive leaflet drop in Bisley, West End, Chobham and Lightwater, and the surrounding area to encourage those people who have thought about Pilates but not quite got around to actually doing it, to pick up the phone and join a class.  Good exercise for me amd hopefully bring some more bodies to the Pilates “table”.  Everyone needs a fresh, new start at this time of the year and what better way to kick off your 2016 fitness regime with a Pilates session or classes.  I know I am not alone in this as I have already had a lot of enquiries about assessements and class timeables.  We all need a little help to get motivated and what better way to do that than with a PIlates class.

Eagle radio had a successful Advent competition, with some great advertising for local business, me being one of them, offering classes or one-to-one Pilates as one of the prizes.  I am looking forward to meeting the lady who won all 24 advent day prizes.  Congratualations Claire.

Lets do it people, new year, new start, new you!!

Just want to wish my gorgeous hubby a very happy 7th Wedding anniversary.  Love you more than ever x

2015, last post …………

Well, it has been a hectic month or two.  I have been very remiss again with my updates.

Star Pilates with Jackie Brealey

We had our lovely American friend staying all November, consequently all our spare time was spent shopping and sightseeing with Marilyn.  And a great time was had by all!  I have spent more time shopping in November than in the the last 5 years……phew, the lady can shop, I was on my knees.  Talk about last post, last legs I think.  We did have a fantastic month though so i’m not complaining. We went for cocktails and a fab meal up the Shard.  The Christmas decorations were stunning and the food delicious, and we decided two sweets were probably enough between the three of us (we all have small appetites!).  Fell about laughing when they turned up and they weren’t big enough to feed a sparrow!!

December was equally busy, have to admit there was quite a bit of partying as well as working!  I had some great fun in the classes on the run up to Christmas despite quite a few being off poorly.  And I was lucky enough to be covering quite a few classes at Pennyhill and the Berystede.  2015, has been great year workwise, the cover classes and all my own clients. This is my last post for 2015 and I want to thank everyone for their support and attendance in this last year.  Love you guys.

Wishing everyone a great new year, and may 2016 bring you all the health and happiness………..and Pilates you could wish for. :)

Endings and fresh starts!

Well, it has sure been a rollercoaster year with highs and lows, excitement and dissapointment!  Hopefully coming up to the festive season we can we can forget about all the crap and stress ONE woman caused us for nearly nine months over our hopes to move house and truely move on!

It has been like a year in limbo, waiting for something that we eventually realised was never going to happen.  Why put your house on the market, spend 8 months going through the motions and then going to ground at the last hurdle!  Finally 4 days after our supposed exchange date she emailed to say she was withdrawing……no reason, no apology, no consience and no manners.  There really should be a change of law and practice in this country with house sales.  I guess I am naive enough to believe there is some good in everyone, I have amazing family, friends and clients and they all have the same values and morals as me and therefore I was shocked she could have been so aweful.  And so………

We have found another house, resold ours, everything is moving forward (hopefuly with no hiccups this time!)  Endings and fresh starts!

Pilates classes are all going fabulously……..that is mostly due to my great and lovely hardworking clients.  There have been some pretty horrible things going on in other people’s lives and my problems pale by comparison.  I am humbled by the strength and determination of some of my peeps to keep going when things appear so hopeless…..they know who they are and I I hope they are out of the worst and moving forward on more posotive notes.   It is very difficult not to be moved by other people’s plght’s knowing what they face and I hope in some tiny part I have been able to help with a shoulder, an ear and an exercise or two!  Love you guys, you do inspire me……..Endings and fresh starts!  Keep possitive!

Floating Arms with Jackie Brealey

It has been a pleasure to teach not only my own classes but so many cover classes at the Berystede and Penyhill Park.   And now due to a moving on of one of the instructors at the Berystede I am very privaliged to now have one of my own classes to teach there on a Friday morning.  I will still be available for cover here and elsewhere but it is great to be a permanant part of the team there.  Best of luck Gary for your future classes.  Endings and fresh starts!

And finally some Pilates news…….. I have had a suprise call from a certain local radio station about being part of their Christmas promotion.  Very excited about that, great advertising for me and I love the music they play!  Will let you know more soon……….Watch this space…….No endings but could be some fresh starts!!!

Keep up the good work Pilates peeps!!

 

Working hard at the development weekend!

Well as another weekend draws to a close, i’m left wondering where it went lol! Actually I did pack a fair bit in!! After a lovely full week of classes, and a new lady on Tuesday (whose name I will never forget as its the same as yours truely) good to see you Jackie! One client with a suspect broken toe and a couple with bugs……..yes the cold evenings are taking their toll! Everyone working hard …….as always…..And yes I too worked hard on Saturday morning! I’m sure all my people will be pleased to know I was working  my butt off in a class at the anual Pilates Body Control development weekend. I woke this morning with a aching glutes and legs! Yes it hurts me too when I do a whole class! Had a taste of my own medicine!  Also had 3 very interesting lectures on the benefits of Pilates as a tool to combat backpain and from a surgeon who operates on spinal problems. The surgeon was very entertaining, funny and very engaging. Usually my mind wanders but he really kept me interested, so much so I actually stayed beyond finishing time to watch a cervical disc operation on film! Not my thing normally (bit queezy usually) but it really was fascinating stuff. The guy really enthused abiout his work. But also great to know he respects the stuff we Pilates instructors are trying to do to help with back pain and movement. And good to see the problems that people cope with on a surgical scale so we are more aware of what we have to deal with in class sometimes,  and how we are working them.
Sunday morning and we met up on the bikes to attend a Bike awareness meet run by Guildford Fire Station. Slight hiccup with a couple of bikes, resilting in a broken thumb which needs surgery (not mine, phew). And daughters bulldog pup! She has returned home this evening so relief from the mad hairy one! Again phew!!

Guess not all working!  All work and no play makes Jak a very dull gal!
Off to bed now, ready for another Pilates week! Nght peeps :)

 

Downward facing Dog with Jackie Brealey

PIlates……… and breathe!

Well its Friday again and I’m looking forward to a nice leisurely weekend………….or maybe not!   A least I can have a wee lie in.  However I’m fairly sure I will still be awake at 6!! I am speaking severely to my body clock each week but it is just not listening……and breathe!

The problem really is…yes for those who know me….all about moving!  Or not in our case.  How in the world can something take this long and then fall apart at the finishing line.  Well for all of you folks in England you will know,  it’s not over till exchange. (….and breathe!)   We are truely at our wits end and it consumes our every day lives.  When on Earth is someone gonna do something about the house buying process in this country?  I was under the misaprehension that all people have SOME good qualities, some semblance of decency and honesty when dealing with their fellow human beings.  I have this week been proved wrong on all fronts!  I am at a loss to understand why any person would market their house for sale and assure you at every opportunity they are serious and then suddenly after 8 months of waiting for the exchange of contracts………nothing!  No word, email, no call…….(and breathe!)  And then finally when you think nothing cold flaberghast you anymore, they contact you with “we want 25K more”!!!   Didn’t see that one coming!!!  I could understand anyone trying their luck with a few thousand more or even ‘actually we have changed our minds’, but that, no I was not expecting that!  I am left seriously wondering about the scruples and morals of this woman……and have decided she has none, (and breathe!).  So after waiting 8 months with many assurances of their seriousness on selling, on  the day of exchange, she moves the goalposts.  Not once in this whole process has she ever had the decency and courtesy to actually tell the truth and we are now left with no prperty and no sale of ours as they can wait no longer.  And our poor buyers have given notice on their rental, so they are effectively homeless with their 6 year old.    So, with all this in mind, I am glad to have had my lovely Pilates clients to help me through the week.  Rant over,  Pilates………and breathe!

In the great scheme of things, it is only a house.  We have a lovely home here and we are lucky to have a roof over our heads, loving family, food on the table and reasonable health (hubby did break a rib falling down the stairs……twit!) Last Saturday we were volunteer workers at the disabled waterski lake with a party of wheelchair disabled.  They are a great bunch of ladies and gents who have all accepted their disability and get on with their lives.  I am not saying they found it easy, but their determination and sense of humour is a humbling thing as helper and gives you a true prospective on the quality of your own life!  And one of my own Pilates clients with a very debilitating form of MS cried when I told her our move was dead in the water.  She copes everyday with the pain and compilcations of the condition and who am I to bleat about my life.  And I told her so.  It’s only a material thing.  We will get over it, something better may come a long.

Everyday in my personal life I am reminded of how many hardships family, friends and clients have to cope with and I am humbled.  Pilates is a good way to lose myself.  It is a great way to re-balance my  mind and my body and I am lucky that (on the whole) my mind and body obey.  The people out there who live with their difficulties and overcome, and my lovely clients, many of whom have their own problems and still come to class, also work hard to make a better body for themselves.  I take my hat off to you all, I am impressed everyday by your continuing efforts and hard work to improve your bodies and minds.  If I can help in any small way to help them then it gives me inspiration, satisfaction and hope.

Thank you to all of you who make each day a Pilates…….and breathe! day.  It helps balance and repair my faith in humanity, and you all make me proud to help in any way.  You make me smile on a cloudy day.

stretch by Jackie Brealey

Pilates in the Press

Well hello everyone.

Hope you are all enjoying this August Bank Holiday weekend despite the weather which is only good for ducks!!

I would love to have been out and about on the Harley or in the garden but this dingy low pressure has really put paid to the summer hasn’t it!  So instead I have worked!  I have been covering classes at Pennyhill Spa and The Berystede over the weekend, and not minded one iota as we couldn’t ride out!  Love covering these classes, I get to meet lots of lovely new people ……and teach a few I already know.  They have really worked hard over the last four days and I have to say, “very proud of them”!

Classes have been quiet over August with so many away on their holidays (and a few”injured”).  Loking forward to seeing most people back a regular classes this week and I believe most people have returned from their travels.  For those who have been reguarly attending classes in August, it was business as usual and a lot of hard work………as always! Thank you for not making me Billy no mates in the the last few classes!

There have been a few articles in the press recently about Pilates.  Pilates to help the menaupause, Pilates to help back pain in the over 40’s  and Pilates for balance.  Always great to be endorsed by the press for Pilates exercise, particularly as practioners and knowing how much it has helped with so many body issues.  We have to remember how many Footballers, Rugby players and Tennis players who regularly practice the Pilates methodology and how it can help with alignment and repair in the body.

Side leg lifts with Jackie Brealey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a copy of one of the articles in Press written by Lisa Rapaport.

(Reuters Health) – Older women with lower back pain who add pilates to their physical therapy routine may see improvements in balance and reductions in fear of falling that don’t result from other types of exercise, a Spanish study suggests.

Researchers followed about 100 women aged 65 and older, offering all of them physiotherapy twice a week with 40 minutes of nerve stimulation and 20 minutes of massage and stretching exercises. Half the women also received hour-long pilates sessions twice a week.

After six weeks, the women who did pilates reported a reduced fear of falling, while the other women didn’t. Pilates was also linked to greater improvements in balance and reductions in back pain.

“Pilates exercises focus not only on physical but also on psychological development, and mind-body interaction is the main principal of the method,” lead author Dr. Fidel Hita-Contreras of the University of Jaen in Spain said by email.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives, and the risk increases with age. Symptoms can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden sharp pain that makes it difficult to move.

Fear of falling is a major health problem among the elderly, associated not only with actual risk of falling but also with less physical activity, avoidance of daily activities, and lower quality of life, Hita-Contreras and colleagues note in the journal Maturitas.

Pilates uses a series of controlled movements to improve core strength, posture and balance. The exercises concentrate on strengthening muscles in the lower and upper back, hips, buttocks and inner thighs.

Although pilates is widely recommended by doctors and physical therapists as a tool to improve balance and reduce falls, few studies have evaluated its effectiveness in women over 65 living with back pain, the researchers note.

At the start of the study, the women were about 71 years old on average and generally within a healthy weight range. Most were married, almost half had at least some college education, and slightly less than a third were still working.

Researchers used a questionnaire to assess fear of falling at the start and end of the study.

To detect changes in balance, researchers gave the women a timed test requiring them to stand up from a chair, walk three meters, turn around, and sit down again. They also questioned women about pain associated with these activities.

The study is small, and the results may not apply to younger women, the researchers acknowledge. More studies are also needed to evaluate the long-term effects of pilates, the authors note.

Still, the results add to evidence that pilates can have a positive impact on balance after less than two months of workouts, said Cherie Wells, a physiotherapy researcher at the University of Canberra in Australia who wasn’t involved in the study.

“While improvements may be even greater with a longer pilates exercise program, women may find improvements as early as six weeks,” Wells said by email. “I would think, though, that it is important to maintain strength and fitness with ongoing exercise to prevent decline in the future.”

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/1K2NNoa Maturitas, published online August 3, 2015.