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.


Pilates ‘bite’

Happy weekend everyone.

Hope no one was washed away by all the rain.  Not a very good August so far is it!!

I have just spent a lovely afternoon with my daughter, mum and dad,  in the garden with her mad bulldog pup.  She is so entertaining.   However I did work earlier and met a lovely new lady for a Pilates Assessment this morning,  so a Pilates ‘bite’ in an otherwise lazy day. Tomorrow,  I  have a great rideout planned  with our Harley friends, so I’m really banking on a decent day to lead them all.  And we are off the Highclere Castle……..Downton Abbey… to some.  I am really looking forward to seeing the place as I have never been before.  Also I’m  really hoping I don’t take any wrong turns, never a good thing when you are leading a load of Harleys!!  The route we are taking (if I don’t get lost) is a lovely route throught he countryside and should be a great ride.

So, not much Pilates for me this weekend!!   Although I thought I might have a Pilates ‘bite’ myself and do a few exercises before I go tomorrow.  And I thought I might share them with you if you wanted to have go too.

Single leg stretch with Jackie Brealey

Pilates ‘bite’.

Starting with a couple of Roll downs.   Don’t “lock’ the knees back, and keep the arms and head heavy.  See what they are like at the beginning of a workout  as well as at the end.  The difference is quite noticible.

Onto the floor for 10 spine curls, stretching the top of the head away from the bottom of the spine.  Treating the spine like links in a chain, lifing and lowering one vertebra at a time.

Straight into a set of single leg stretch, keeping your curl up with your chin tucked in, your tailbone long and your legs stretching out of your  pelvis.

Into a set of double leg stretch.  Reach the legs out of your pelvis.

Turn onto your front for a set of dart and then cobra.  Imagine your spine at the front of your body and keep it long again,  reaching the top of the head away from the tailbone.

Up into four point kneeling for catstretch. Keep the shoulders away from the ears and naval to spine in flexion and extension.

Back into standing for two more roll downs, re-stack the spine from the bottom to the top and this time they should feel easier!.

And there you have it, a weekend Pilate’s ‘bite’.  Enjoy.

Have fun for rest of your weekend.

Cat stretch flexion with Jackie Brealey




Gently does it……..

Well, we eased back into the Pilates swing of things slowly.  Very slowly on my part after mislaying the key to the hall of my first class!  That is one of the problems of having a partly packed up house for moving!  Will this this house move ever, well…..MOVE!

My classes were all back to normal though some of my venues were swapped about a bit!  August is always a funny month,  both with clients and the school children on holidays.  School holidays always affect my lovely people with children as they sometimes can’t make daytime classes, and affects some of my Pilates venues as one is in  a Children’s Club hall and another does maintenance ALL August!  Very inconvenient!  I do try and remind my ladies and gents of the venue changes, however I still have people occasionally turning up in the wrong place!  Always sorted by a quick text or phonecall.  Brains always go on holiday in August too, and sometimes mine!!

I did say I would be lenient with them all and ease them in gently with slightly easier exercises, however I didn’t make it too easy.  Gotta keep them on their toes, and I did get a few text’s saying certain ‘things’ ached.  However One or two this morning said they felt fine after last week’s class…….so I soon fixed that.  Had them surrepticiously clock watching and wishing for after class coffee ‘rewards’.   That’ll teach you!!

It wasn’t all tough stuff though, this week.  I have been doing some foot and leg alignment work with the therabands, which I also ‘took’ with me to the classes I covered at the Berystede.  I like covering the Berystede,  the ladies and gents are so welcoming and always open to the challenges set by a slightly different set of exercises from a different teacher.  I have a lot of cover classes there this week and a lot more for the rest of the month.  I love my own clients but it is always great to meet new Pilates people and help with their particular body problems too.  Re-align, re-shape, repair really does apply to everyone in one form or another.  As tough or as gentle as you need it to be with your body.

high spine curl with arms extended and single leg extension

And……..Gently does it, doesn’t really apply to the rest of the week, hey people, you have had enough time for “gently”, so from now on, for those who want the challenge, it’s gonna be hard!

See you soon!

Pilates time is here again……

‘Hey everybody, I’m back!!  From the sunny Mid-West (America, not England, obviously)

We had a fantastic time on holiday,  staying with our very good friends Jerry and Marilyn in St Louis, U.S.A.  They were their usual fab hosts. After an unbelievable long travelling day with a 5 hour stopover wait in Chicago we finally arrived at 9 in the evening on 6th ready for sun , ‘floatin’ in the lake and  great company.  The weather was  pretty pants for the first 3 days and I was beginning to wonder if the weather was ever going to get better!!!  Then, the sun came out and we breathed a great sigh of relief and boy did the sun shine, it sure did get hot!!  It was very humid and sticky but where better to spend hot sticky days but on the lake, so we packed our cossies and headed South to the cabin close to Kinkaid lake in Ava, Illionois.  Well, the entire holiday was pretty much spent  in the water, consequently I now look quite pruney,  tanned but pruney!  I’m a raison!!

Needless to say we didnt get much Pilates time in or any other exercise for that matter…..well unless you call balancing on a ‘floaty’ for 6 hours a day exercise.  I will tell you that does engage the tummy muscles! But boy we did have some funtime…..and beer, quite a lot of beer, and soooo…… now I need to get my body back into shape! So:-

‘Pilates time is here again,  get into class and bring a friend,

It’s tough but fun and you know when

You’ve have a good class you’ll feel such gains! ‘

It is time to don that exercise wear, remember those Pilates moves and re-engage those abs!

Seriously Pilates people,  classes resume  next week starting Monday 9.30,  so see you all next week.  I’ll be gentle with you………….maybe…..

For those who did carry on Pilate-ing while I was away, highly commendable,  I hope the wee Pilate’s exercise routine I left with you was at least practised occasionally. And for those who didn’t….oh well, we can ‘re-intoduce’ you! Pilates peeps who come to class I’ll see you next week, and those of you who don’t, well, I hope to see you in the future.

Jak’s back!!Downward facing Dog with Jackie Brealey



Pilates exercises at home

A great week in class this week, although the weather did make it quite difficult to do anything too strenuous.  So i concentrated on standing, balace and footwork.  It meant we didnt overheat too much.  We did intersperse it with some classical exercises but the heat and dehydration did mean many of my clients had bad cramp.  Ladis and gents more fluid is needed when it is hot, and i don’t mean alcohol!!

So, as I am now away for a few weeks, my lovely ladies and gents will be left to their own devices!  I am sure there will be a few to busy or away themselves but for those of you wanting to keep in the spirit them maybe try Pilates at home with a few exercises every other day or a couple of time a week just to keep the strength and flexibility going.

Day 1.  Start with balancing on one leg and hold for up to a minute using the core, repeat with the other leg.  Side bends x 2 each side followed by standing arm openings 4 each side.  Then onto all fours and 4 repetitions each side of threading the needle followed by 4 cat stretches.  Onto the back and 10 spine curls.  Single leg stretch 12 repetions (reps), double leg stretch 12 reps,  Hip rolls 6 either side.  Turn over onto the front and 6 dart, followed by 6 cobra or diamond press.  Then onto the side for 8 side leg lifts on both sides. Back up to standing for 2 roll downs.  10 or fifteen minutes and you are set for the day.  A few exercises everyday will help keep you in shape.

Cat stretch flexion with Jackie Brealey

I will be thinking of you doing your Pilates exercises at home, hopefully some of you will do something!!

Well, that is me done for a couple of weeks now as I am off on holiday.  I will be teaching out in the USA as the my friend we are staying with has asked me to teach her a few exercisesto use regularly to improve her core stability and stregth and flexibility.  I’m looking forward to that, though I am sure we will still be chilling, swimming and filling with a few cocktails.

St Loius here we come!!

See ya’ll in a few weeks x

Highways and holidays

inside thigh stretch with Jackie BrealeyEvening all, end of another great week.  Well a great week Pilates wise……….NOT moving house wise.   Good thing it has been another busy weekor I may just have gone insane!  How can it take one solicitor so long to complete this, such incompetance!  Not my solicitor I might add, but our vendors.  With only a week before we hit the highway and head off on holiday to the U.S. it is incredibly frustrating to still not have a moving date!  He now is insisting his clients have somehow sent the documents somewhere other than his office.  It’s is enought o make you want to commit murder!!

Anyway rant over, my lovely clients have kept me sane this week with hard work and encouraging words….and even flowers, thank you Joy.

We had another week of footwork, with lots of glutes and (abs, obviously).  Had some good feedback from one of my ladies who has nerve damage in her back with the result of a dropped foot,  and all the work we have been doing has really improved her strength and movement.  It’s  good to know it is helping.  All the glutework will help re-align the body and in turn help reduce back pain.  Been quite amusing watching people trying to engage glutes without tucking their pelvis under.  I do love the concentration on the faces.

Four point kneeling with leg extension with Jackie Brealey

On a very positive note I have had a lot of enquiries on my website about classes and private sessions and introduced some new ladies to my classes.  In a traditionally quiet time of the year with the holiday season started  nice to know I am still busy, thank you people.

May have to think about starting a new  class!

Last but not least, I have had a number of emails about holiday  cover at Pennyhill and the Berystede…..and there was me thinking August was going to be a quiet month.  Love it, great to be busy.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.





Re-alignment with Pilates in Surrey.

Well, i have to admit i have been very remiss of late and not blogged for a while!   I really shouldn’t worry as too little time to blog means more time teaching!  But i do like to keep you all abreast of what is going on.

I have had some lovely new clients over the past few weeks, some who I already knew and some who I didnt.  Aways great to know that when friends and aquantances start talking about body and health issues I can offer them some help and relief in the shape of a class or one to one Pilates training.

So many people seem to have back, neck and hip problems and even those who have started recently are already reaping the benefits of Pilates exercise for strengthening the core and becoming more flexable with tight muscles.  That is what is so good about the Pilates method,  you can do start to re-align bad posture,  re-shape “loose” tums and bums and repair (over time) bad muscle patterns right away.

Re-alignment, that is the key to good posture and less body problems.

I have also had had four new ladies starti over the last few weeks and they have now joined classes to get their bodies into Pilates mode and on the way to improvement.  I am very lucky to have such welcoming clients in my classes and they always make my newbies feel right at home and comfortable.

We have done a lot of footwork and tums this last week, I know because I have felt the work myself.  We have had more ‘flow’ in the classes this week which invariable means more work! Love it!

inside thigh stretch with Jackie Brealey
Thighs, legs and footwork

On the home front the house move is looking more positive,  although I am at complete odds to understand how on earth it has taken so long to get to this point and STILL not have a moving date.  Rubbish!  Don’t worry, though, I am not going far people, only Ash Green, so tripping back to Bisley, will not take me long.  Who knows I may be able to start a class or two Ash Green way!

Poor hubby came off (my) Harley 2 weeks ago, after a very scary problem with the front fender, he has a very bruised body but glad to report no lasting damage to his re-alignment!!……….though a fair bit to the bike!  I can help his body but the bike is way beyond my capabilities….that I will leave to the garage!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend and is ready for another great Pilates week!


Happy Tapping


Another Pilates week down.

Had more cover classes at the Berystede this week and al lot of hard work from everyone,  my own clients and my ‘borrowed’ ones at my cover classes!  My ladies and gents really do put a lot into their pilates, makes me very proud that they keep coming back and enjoy it (well they say they do to so i guess that’s good!) What they say behind my back when they are nursing ‘ouchy’ tummy muscles and glutes is anyone’s guess!!

Very glad to see my lady who was thrown off her horse, back again. Was a tad worried about her, but bruised and battered she returned with renewed vigour albeit it tenderely!!
I have two new ladies for assessements next week so hope to be joing them to future classes. And if I ever get a spare hour or two I have a pile of flyers to deliver round and about…….been a little lax on that front!  Hey ho, need more hours in the week!!

Exercise for the weekend!!

back stretch with Jackie Brealey

How about some toe taps?

Lying on your back, in nuetral (or with a small ball just tucked under your tailbone and all your spine into the mat if you are feeling less strong) lifting one leg at a time, so both legs are up as your start position.  Then one leg at a time, with ‘loose’ feet tap the toes down onto the mat and lift back to the start position breathing in for a tap on each foot and out for a tap on each foot.  Keep the lower abdominals scooped to the backbone, and keep going for 20 reps.  Have a little break and repeat 4 times more.  Don’t let your ribcage arch off the mat, anchor it back, and keep the neck relaxed with or without  a small pillow.  Repeat the whole thing again on Sunday and Monday, and you can feel very righteous!

Happy tapping folks!

Enjoy your Bank holiday weekend


Something old, something new…….

Something old, something new, something borrowed something blue!

Something old……me……no not really, though I have to admit i feel that way sometimes!!  No the something old this week means my regular weekly classes.  No not my clients ages, the fact that they have been going for a while.  I have been teaching 10 years now and some of my clients have been with me that long!  So pleased that the still get as much out of their pilates with me now as they did when they started.  Monday class was pushed a little and then were a little put out that  I couldn’t do coffee after class this week, sorry ladies, can’t do next week either,  but back to normal in June.  Tuesday classes all went marvellously, had a few missing due to illnes and injury!  Hope my lady who was thrown from her horse is feeling less bruised now!  Wednesday’s ladies did a great job as always.  Thursday’s classes had a few comments about how mean i was to do double reps of some of the ab work, you know you love it ladies!!  And today’s class?…..well, good Lord, I struggled to get them to pay attention.  Yes, they do work but their chatter was incessant today, I have threatened gaffa tape next week it they keep THAT up!!  Next week I may have to sit on them…..metaphorically speaking of course.

Something new…………faboulous new session at Pennyhill Park Spa as a relief instructor.  What a lovely studio.  A lot of my classes are taught in village halls which are quite adequate, but always lovely to teach in a dedicated studio!  Think I will enjoy my teaching sessions there, happy to cover classe’s anytime!

Toning circle by Jackie Brealey

Something borrowed………Also covering classes at the Berystede for their regular intructor.  She and I have been covering classes for a few years now on a Tuesday, great to be able to ‘borrow’ more of her clients while she is away.

Something blue………hmphhhh!!  Our house move is not exactly going as we planned it!  Our vendors have only one speed….slow!  To be more precise,  STOP!  How on earth can it take 13 weeks to instruct your solicitor, yes it is making me feel very blue!  Lets hope next week will bring better news on that front.

It’s a good thing I have such a great bunch of clients to help me take my mind off the blue!  They are fun and hardworking and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Loud and lively

Well, what a weekend that was!!   Obviously a typically English Bank Holiday, weather wet and windy for the most part……….soooo glad we weren’t camping!

Five Harley’s set off on Friday afternoon, yes, in rush hour bank holiday traffic, for a weekend of loud and lively fun!!  We were heading for Pontin’s in Wester-Super-Mare to meet up with 2-300 other Harley’s and riders for Bridgewater Cider Rally.  Really didn’t know what to expect but after a frustrating week of going nowhere on our house move front we decided it would be good to just forget and go have fun!  The traffic was diabolical and we filtered through at least half of the journey down there!  But fun we had.  Five live bands over 3 nights and a great DJ after until 3 in the morning.  A fair bit of beer and cider consumed,  a lot of boogying on the dance floor, some very funny school days fancy dress costumes, and some very amusing company!

The accommodation was a tad hi-de-hi and the food very school canteen but hey, it was a very funny weekend!  The Harleys were tucked up most of the time and we caught the open top bus into the town and the pier!  What an up market peir that is!  Yes still alot of the slots and penny push machines but some awesome simulaters and go karts.  Very good to be out of the wind and rain too!

On Sunday in town was a moto cross demo by four stunt riders, which was awesome!  Up a ramp and jumping as high as some of the buildings behind, somersaults and acrobatics………..definitely not for Harley’s!!

So as you can imagine, no Pilates over my weekend!! And way too much sugar!! Chocolate, candy and cream teas…….all bad for a Pilates body…….any body to be fair.  However, about 6 hours on the dance floor over 3 nights has to counteract some of the bad stuff!!

So this week with renewed vigour, after a loud and lively weekend, it will be less loud less lively, working on my own Pilates body to repair some of the damage done with the bad diet.  And with my lovely clients.

Exercise for the week will be Spine curls with ribcage closure!  Lenthening each vertebra and using the abdominals in the spine curl. Weight even on the feet.a high spiral curl pilates exercise with Jackie Brealey  Shoulders connected to the ribs and getting that ribcage on the mat before the lumbar spine!  See you in class!