Tag Archives: inspiration

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……… 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