Tag Archives: Re-align

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.”

 

 

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 for a summer body!

Well Easter is now passed, thank goodness, I really can’t stop myself when it comes to chocolate!  I tried not to buy any eggs but still managed a few dozen cream eggs over the last month……..I know how bad am I!!  Why do all the holidays involve chocolate.  So I am now trying to cut back on the sugar and bad stuff to get back on track!

And now ta dah….the sun has arrived!  Yes, we are promised a good few weeks of sunshine, which is so good for the soul.  Unfortunately not so good for winter bodies.  So people now is the time to kick start the healthy spring body and get down to some serious Pilates.  My classes will be concentrating on toning those waistlines and legs so we can all move into the warmer months stronger and leaner……..this is the plan, ladies and gents!

Try doing a few exercises in the morning when first get up.  Start with some gentle stretching and and deep slow breathing.  Get the lungs working properly and wake up the muscles.  And then pick 2 or 3 exercises from your classes and do 10 or 12 repetitions of each.  If your mornings are too manic then do the exercises in the evening or even lunchtime at home or work if you have a place that you can use.  However, if you are at work, or even doing your weekly shop do be sure  to pick your moment and exercise , probably not  a good idea to be lying down in the aisles of Sainsburys!

Doing Pilates 3 times weekly really can change the shape of your body.  If you can only make one class a week then do some at home too.  Yes i know we all lead busy lives but 15/20 minutes a couple of times in a week should be do-able.

seated adductor with Jackie Brealey

For those of you already doing  Pilates session a week just pick a few exercises and get started!  Single leg stretch, double leg stretch, hip rolls, spine curls and cobra or dart, are a good few to start with.  Then maybe on another day,  sit ups,  toe taps,  criss-cross or oblique sit ups, diamond press and roll downs.  You may want to just start with one day extra and build up to two.  Just talk yourself into believing it can and will make a difference if you stick at it.  Be confident in you ability to sculpt a better body, I know you can do it, you have to believe it too!!  Working hard now will pay off for the summer body.

Pilates is a great for making things simple or more difficult, remember the exercises can be built up or broken down to suit your ability, so if you already attend classes try and make a little time extra each week to incorporate a few short sessions in your own time.  If you don’t already do Pilates, come and join me in a first session, Pilateswithjackie, on a one to one basis and we can go through what you need to do to start re-align, re-shape and/or repair your  body.  Then if you want to join a class we can find one to fit in with needs.

Remember Pilates can re-align, re-shape and repair.