Finding Pilates: Or How I Negotiated My Way Back to Health & Fitness

Finding Pilates: Or How I Negotiated My Way Back to Health & Fitness

Finding Pilates: Or How I Negotiated My Way Back to Health & Fitness 

" You shall gain but you shall pay with sweat, blood, and vomit".

                 Paul Tsatsouline, Chairman of Strongfit and founder of the modern kettlebell movement

Really? Sweat, blood, and vomit? Are you kidding me? I thought that was indicative of poor health, illness, disease...have I gotten this whole health/fitness thing all wrong? Am I on the wrong path?

Karen Liberman

Precision

Precision

What are we talking about in Pilates when we talk about Precision?

Precision  is a combination of strength, focus, breath, alignment, concentration and balance - it combines ALL of the fundamentals of the Pilates Method.

For me, this means taking my practise to a deeper more intense level. Working with precision is moving deliberately with intent and purpose. It means being specific about your movement and executing each rep to the best of your ability without losing your technique. Doing 100 reps of the hardest exercise is not going to improve your technique or give you the results you want, without precision.

Precision is about making a profound change in the way you move, with patience, concentration, centering and control. It may mean you do less repetitions of a particular exercise, but in the long term precision is rewarded as you gain strength and stability.

Precision is achieved by layering the elements of the methods that I have talked about over the past year; Concentration, Control, Alignment, Breath, Centering and Balance. Working deliberately with control and intent is very challenging!

Challenge yourself this month by focusing on your Precision in class. Quiet your mind, and delve deeper into the Essential Mat and Essential Reformer classes and see what beautiful treasures you can find in the layers of the work.

 

Q & A: Get to know Deanna!

What is your death-row meal: Hot dogs

When stress gets too much: Turn of all electronic devices, go for a long walk and meditate...followed by a glass or 3 of red.

What childhood toy are you embarrassed you still have: Eeyore from Winnie the pooh  stuffed animal...it's tail comes off

The thing that makes you most happy: It makes me happy when I can make someone really laugh...and of course my almost daily baths

What are you most scared of: my own shadow...just kidding, just snakes

What do you have to force yourself to do: Force myself to make quick decisions..so indecisive

What’s your power jam song: Power Trip J Cole

First kiss – when and where: 14years old in the school yard

Bucket list trip: African Safari

What is your zombie apocalypse plan: Turn them into human beings

LIGHTING ROUND:

Favourite colour: Green

Favourite movie: The Holiday

Tim’s or Starbucks: Starbucks

Top 3 desert island luxuries: Chocolate, a martini, pen and paper

Favorite Pilates exercise at the moment: Ab curls over the squishy ball

 

Soul to Sole!

Soul to Sole!

Meet Courta, creator of Soul to Sole

 

When I was living the glory days as a dance and fitness teacher in Nova Scotia, I developed the S2SD Kit to help my students gain and maintain strength, flexibility, as well as prevent and treat injury. As a dancer and fitness, rehab, and movement professional I understand the importance of early intervention when it comes to injury as well as the benefits of working to prevent them altogether. Who wants to sit in a physio clinic three times a week for six weeks?! I carefully selected tools that would bring about the quickest benefit to users. Inside the S2SD Kit there are easy to follow exercises for each of the three tools in the kit. Our social media contain images and videos of these exercises and users are encouraged to share their own exercises using the hashtags #S2SD & #MindBodySole. We are always coming up with new exercises for the kits and the possibilities are endless! The best part about these kits is that you can use them at home, in studio, or at the office whether you’re into fitness, hiking, or Pilates. S2SD Kits are perfect as a warm up tool prior to class or physical activity. Designed for ages 8+ the kits can be useful to someone with great flexibility or someone with limited range of motion looking to gain flexibility or recover from a long day on her/his feet. When it comes to Pilates you find people who genuinely enjoy achieving a physically active lifestyle. Not surprisingly, these are people who love to be fit and invest in their personal and family fitness. Pilates is a highly sought after form of physical activity and fitness participation because, unlike some other fitness methods, you leave the studio feeling GREAT - worked, aligned, strong, and flexible. The principles of alignment that are characteristic of Pilates ensure participant’s safety and benefit. Support this positive achievement both inside and outside the studio with the S2SD Kit!

 

Concentration

Concentration

 

To make profound changes in our bodies and in our practise we need to be present and focused. Easier said than done I know! Showing up is just the beginning. How can we leave our distractions at the door and concentrate in our classes, when our days are filled with interruptions and distraction?

Joseph Pilates lists Concentration as one of his principles of healthy practise and I completely agree. I like to remind my clients that Pilates is a ‘Brain Gym’ first! Making time to spend 55 minutes present in your body and mind is a great gift to give yourself.

In previous posts we spoke about breath, and here we can help use breath to concentrate on our bodies. Beginning class with slow deliberate breaths helps to bring your attention to how you are feeling, where your bones are resting, and where you are holding tension. By concentrating on your instructor's voice and your breath, you can start to move through the class with intent.

No matter what the focus of the class may be, my level of concentration is directly linked to my desire to be present. To hear my instructor, to hear my breath and to grant myself the room to just move, mistakes and all.

In Pilates we focus on strengthening our core and other muscles. Like our glutes or abs, concentration can with training become stronger.  We can see the improved ability to focus our minds as result of this training. At Body Mason we strive to provide an environment to help you cultivate a strong body and a focussed mind and that’s one powerful combination.

 

Alignment

Alignment

I would imagine that most people already associate Pilates with Posture and Alignment, but what does that really mean?

 

When working with my clients on their Pilates practice, it’s always my goal as an instructor to bring their awareness to their alignment. We all think we are straight! Otherwise we would sit and stand differently. We don’t chose to slump or hyperextend our knees, these are just habits we have formed over years. So, when it comes to changing our alignment is takes a great deal of focus and awareness in class to make the change and then build up strength and stability to sustain this alignment.

 

Q&A: Get to know Khuyen! Body Mason Instructor

Q&A: Get to know Khuyen! Body Mason Instructor

Q&A with Khuyen Forsythe, Body Mason Instructor

Khuyen Forsythe is a STOTT PILATES® certified instructor. She obtained her Bachelor of Design in Halifax before working for a few years in the Toronto design industry. While working, she found Pilates to be a great offset to her office lifestyle and soon after changed her focus entirely to Pilates. A fresh face to the practice, she comes armed with STOTT's updated methodologies and a contemporary approach to Pilates. She focuses on making sure the body is moving correctly and building strength to support every day activities. This includes working towards an ideal posture, making sure movements are firing the right muscles, and taking tension out of improper areas. Much like her design philosophy, she believes Pilates should improve every day life and be above all an enjoyable experience.

Q&A:

What is your death-row meal: 10-course meal at a Michelin-star restaurant

When stress gets too much: play piano

What childhood toy are you embarrassed you still have: coloured pencils

The thing that makes you most happy: Spending quality time with family and friends

What are you most scared of: elevators breaking

What do you have to force yourself to do: laundry

What’s your power jam song: Dancing On My Own by Robyn

First kiss – when and where: age 15 on a roof

Bucket list trip: New Zealand

What is your zombie apocalypse plan: Learn how to kill zombies

LIGHTING ROUND: 

Favourite colour: purple

Favourite movie: Amelie

Tims or Starbucks: Tims
Top 3 desert island luxuries: a notebook, a boat, and matches 

Favorite Pilates exercise at the moment: stomach massage

Breath

Breath

Without it we wouldn’t last more than a of couple minutes, yet we don’t take the suggestion to focus on our breathing very seriously. This month I have chosen Breath as my point of focus because it’s been proven not only to reduce stress but also to calm the nervous system. Breath is essential to your Pilates Practise.