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.
So you’ve done it – you’ve managed to carve out an hour for yourself to get to class. To take a bit of time just for you. You walk into the studio, determined to block out the outside world. You can worry about those work deadlines, that oil change, and that hydro bill later. But in class, you shift all that Type A energy into agonizing about your practice. Are your pubic bones and hip bones level? Are you holding belly button to spin? Are your shoulders creeping up? You’re obsessing.
I’m willing to bet that every Pilates class you’ve ever taken starts with the instructor telling you to “center yourself.” This is the part where you quiet your mind and come into your body. You want to be in the moment.
Centering is another one of the Body Mason’s ten principals or building blocks.
You can’t make profound changes without being present and in the moment.
In class, you need to connect with you and listen to what your body is telling you and what you’re feeling. Notice how different a movement feels at the beginning of class versus at the end. Notice how you’ve changed.
Don’t get me wrong. Focus is good. Following direction is good. Executing movement properly is obviously the goal. It’s just more effective – and frankly, enjoyable – if you’re working with yourself, not against it.
And you won’t be able to tell if you’re working with yourself if you haven’t found your center.
So take a breath. Feel your lungs fill with air, notice the sensation when you exhale. Be aware of the blood rushing through your veins. Feel the power you have inside.
If you’ve had a chance to pop by the studio, you may have noticed a series of colourful decals on the big blue wall. Each represents a piece of the philosophy behind Body Mason and are largely adopted from the original building blocks identified by Joseph Pilates in his book ‘Return to Life Through Contrology’ although I’ve expanded on his points just a bit
Today, I want to talk to you about balance.
This is one of pieces that I’ve added and one that is really important to me personally — and something I frankly struggle with. Balance is everything. It’s physical, it’s emotional, it’s psychological. How many times a week do you hear people talk about work-life balance? If you’re not balanced then a part of you or your life is lacking or unsupported.
When it comes to your body, we need to find balance within our own structure. Remember when I was talking about “building a house” (you’re the house). If the house is going to be strong, I have to give equal attention to each part of the construction. I need a strong foundation and core to support four-dutifully built walls.
Humans are naturally predisposed to favour one side. We may feel stronger or more flexible using the dominant half and therefore, tend to give it more attention, because we feel more confident using it. But actually, what we should be doing is building up our weaker half to create, yep, balance. Without this, your body twists itself and compensates in weird ways that can create aches and pains.
Take that same idea now and imagine your broader life. If you’re working too much, or not sleeping enough, or neglecting exercise, doesn’t everything sort of, well, feel off?
Pilates is built around this philosophy and if you’ve taken a class you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, what are you waiting for?! Sometimes it can feel challenging to find time to do something for you, to take that hour and focus on your health when you’ve got deadlines and groceries, and cleaning, and meals and kids and appointments, but make the time. Because balance is the key to everything.
It’s hard to believe we are already at the end of September, the view from the studio is starting to show the change in the season with beautiful fall colours!
September always feels like a fresh start for me, even more so than January. I think it’s years of being a student, but these last couple of weeks have been huge for me. Finally getting to open the doors of my very own Pilates studio is a massive achievement for me and I can’t thank our loyal clients and friends enough for their continued support.
The month has flown by and we have seen so many lovely new faces at the studio as well as familiar ones. If you haven’t had a chance to try out the new classes on the schedule I highly suggest you give them a try. Better Bones and Balance and the Body Barre classes are unique to Body Mason and are a great addition to your Pilates program. As the weather gets cooler I know it’s hard not to want to sit and sip something pumpkin flavoured in a cafe but the studio is warm (we have tea too)!
Next up for us here at Body Mason is the introduction of some very exciting info sessions, clinics and workshops. First I am thrilled to introduce Dr. Elisa Petricca a Chiropractor working at Thrive Natural Family Health. She will be hosting an info session on "Optimizing Body Health Through Chiropractic and Pilates" on November 7th from 1pm to 3pm.
The session will be discussing;
What is Chiropractic?
The benefits of Chiropractic
The importance of active care in improving health
Chiropractic in assessing and identifying imbalances and/or restrictions in the body
Pilates to strengthen the body and help maintain bone and joint health
This is event is FREE so grab some friends, bring your questions and come enjoy a cup of tea with us. You could win a week's worth of free classes!
RSVP by Oct. 30th to reserve your spot, space is limited by emailing email@example.com.
Stay tuned for more exciting workshops and clinics in November.
All the best,
Heather is a Stott Pilates instructor, contemporary dancer and dance instructor. She came to Pilates after years of personal training, where she was always looking for new ways to help her clients achieve their goals. She believes Pilates has the ability to transform bodies and is one of the greatest tools available in recovery from injury. Heather is continually looking to expand her own knowledge and practice and has done so with Anatomy Trains, Zenga, Core Athletic Conditioning and CanFitPro. She is on faculty in the dance department at George Brown College, is an instructor with The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and active as a professional dancer. Heather is also a running and yoga enthusiast and a proud mom to daughter Josie.
What is your death-row meal?: Lobster, grilled veg, a huge salad. And then every kind of dessert.
When stress gets too much: Run for as long as I can that day. Or a kitchen dance party.
What childhood toy are you embarrassed you still have: Lios, the lion- my beat up, raggle-snaggle, threadbare buddy. Except I'm not actually embarrassed because he is awesome.
The thing that makes you most happy: My daughter, without a doubt.
What are you most scared of: Trying something new and sucking at it.
What do you have to force yourself to do: Stop procrastinating! But I can do that tomorrow.
What’s your power jam song: Some classic MJ
First kiss – when and where: Travis, in the park in grade two. It was a dare.
Bucket list trip: Anywhere! Everywhere! But for now, I'll settle for a trip to the bathroom alone, without a tiny person yelling at me and unrolling all the toilet paper.
What is your zombie apocalypse plan: OK, well stick together as a family- making sure to take our beast-dog. I think he'd do really well. Then meet up with my husband's buddies. He used to be a cop, and they still are- so they've got guns, armour and training. And we'd have to get out of the city. Let s just all pray the zombies are the slow, 'Walking Dead' type, and not the crazy agile, 'World Ware Z' type.
Favourite colour: Blue
Favourite movie: The Austin Powers Trilogy. I quote them ALL THE TIME
Tims or Starbucks: There is way too much good coffee in this city to drink either of those. But, Starbucks in a pinch.
Top 3 desert island luxuries: sunscreen, lip chap and a yacht.
Favorite Pilates exercise at the moment: I'm on a glute kick, so any bridge variations.
Thanks Heather! Stay tuned for the next Q&A coming next month!
This past Saturday was our first of many Open Houses. I want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who made the day a great success and to all the lovely friends new and old who came out to support Body Mason!
It was a cold grey day but everyone was warm and welcoming at the studio.
I had the pleasure of giving many tours and teaching demos to our fantastic new clients with the help of instructor extraordinaire Meghan Cafferky!
The big winners for our draw were:
Liz Green - A custom Body Mason T-shirt
Cindy Shum - A week’s worth of FREE classes
Charon Shergill - A 30 min postural analysis
Lori Zoras - An initial consultation with Dr. Billie Durickovic (Network Chiropractor)
For those of you who haven’t had a chance to stop by please do! We still have refreshments and kick butt classes to take you through the fall.
Check out our schedule online or give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org