Finding Pilates

Finding Pilates

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.

 

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.

 

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.