Category Archives: Pilates

Pilates: The Body’s Reset

Imagine your body feeling alive, moving well, and able to do what you ask of it superbly. Imagine feeling inspired to go walking, gardening, exercising, and accomplishing all your physical chores without pain. Imagine that you can easily squat down and pick a spoon up off the floor, without the task becoming the unfortunate highlight of your day! Imagine your body continually doing what you ask of it, effectively, gracefully, and without needless wear and tear. This is the body I want you to have and the mindset: how well am I moving my body?

All adults require an exercise system that over time is continually  reminding them of proper posture and correct body alignment as they go about their day. This exercise system deeply implants within the feeling of good posture, by effectively strengthening your postural muscles and therefore maintaining optimum health of your joints. Pilates is the exercise system I am speaking of:  it is your body’s reset: setting the body in proper alignment, lengthening the spine, engaging your core muscles , and releasing unneeded tension in the body so you sit, stand, and move most easily.

Pilates exercises puts you on the path to becoming the fittest you can be.

 
Looking to change your life? Pilates exercise is the right exercise system to take care of and maintain your body’s health.

 
The Pilates system of non impact exercise emphasizes joint stability and flexibility, core muscle activation, and correct spinal articulation that together comprises a complete body workout. Technical mumbo jumbo?… the truth is that by doing pilates exercise you become more fit, you stand, sit and move with better posture, and you feel taller and stronger and have more energy to go about your day.
One of the main reasons why so many people exercise very little if at all, is due to low energy, from habitual poor posture and poor daily movement patterns. Constant slouching is manifested particularly when we are not exercising, which of course is the majority of the time. Sitting at work, watching a screen, socializing: most of us are not in touch with our bodies! We are slouching, rounding our spines, developing tension throughout the body. We are putting our bodies through hell without even knowing it! When our posture becomes poor, when our body mechanics and movement patterns become more labored, not efficient, we lose energy, and then ultimately we lose the mental drive to move our bodies.

Our deeper core muscles of the body lack conditioning and awareness. Sure it is a mental task: the more you think about your posture, the better it will be. But what about when we are highly focused on our task at hand and not on our posture?  Your spine may slouch when you are preparing tomorrow’s presentation, or stressing to get dinner ready for the kids. It is at precisely these moments, when we need the spine to be at its finest! We need your spine- based on pilates training- to remember what a strong and lengthened posture is. We need our abdominal muscles to engage automatically: to support our lower backs and to work in tandem with our spine’s to maintain ideal posture. Our core muscles-spine and abdominal muscles- become a sizzling power source to support our bodies all day long!

One more point: it can certainly be detrimental to your body’s postural and joint health to perform physical activity without giving some thought to your form. You are simply damaging your body, imparting needless strain on your joints. One example of this is walking with the spine rounded: gravity is beating down on your thoracic spine and you are simply accelerating the process of the spine becoming permanently rounded and not able to straighten up fully.

It is therefore imperative that we have a body “technique” session where we are practicing our body mechanics and moving our joints correctly. In other words:  where we practice taking care of our bodies. In a pilates session we effectively move our joints, strengthen our core muscles, and learn to coordinate our bodies beautifully. I do not mean to coordinate with the ability of dancer or a gymnast, but simply with a healthy consciousness of how our bodies move best for everyday living. We learn to use the correct muscles efficiently, and relax those that are not required,  The fruits of this work translate into accomplishing our everyday tasks more easily and enjoying our favorite physical activities more fully.

We  must maintain and deepen our connection to our bodies as we enter middle age and beyond. If you suffer from any of the following conditions: obesity, sedentariness, preference for inactivity, an inactive gym membership, high blood pressure, diabetes, neuropathy, general, constant and nagging pain syndrome. I would suggest giving PILATES A TRY! Reacquaint yourself with your body. Reset, feel truly alive and live your best life.

Why do Pilates?

Why would you ask me such a silly question? Well of course to strengthen my body, build core strength, and certainly to feel better about myself! Why to lengthen my spine of course, improve my posture, and experience less wear and tear on my joints. How wonderful! I do pilates to be invincible!David Loewen sitting on a stability ball

Pilates ought to be enjoyable

As a pilates teacher, I sincerely hope you experience all these things from your diligent and hopefully enjoyable practice of pilates. Taught well, you will experience the feeling of contracting the muscles of your spine and abdomen, of using those core muscles correctly and economically, of feeling precise and flowing movement that will send you to a realm of movement euphoria! Notice above I used the word “enjoyable;” your whole self will feel invigorated, your mind clear and thinking well, and your spirit, yes that often downtrodden spirit of yours will soar and be willing to meet challenge and achieve your goals and dreams. Pilates enables you to do this.

 

These feelings are the immediate high following a pilates class, but the greatest benefit of pilates exercise is helping your body cope with the mundane activities of everyday life.

To name a few: pilates will help you get into your car with ease and elegance; sit (better yet stand) in front of your computer screen with moment to moment consciousness of your spine and overall posture; rise gracefully from your chair using solely your legs and core muscles, and not grabbing and pulling with your arms. Pilates exercise will have you walking your dog with pristine posture and control: your chest will feel wide open, the crown of your head will reach toward the sky, and you will have a lightness in your step that comes from being in tune with your body. Pilates enables you to do this.
Walking the dog with strong posture

More benefits?

How about keeping your spine long when eating and brushing your teeth. By bringing your hand up to your mouth, and not stooping over the sink, you are saving your spine! How about possessing the core strength and flexibility to get down to the floor and play with your kids? Better yet head to the playground and climb the monkey bars with them. Instead of watching them, be with them, and enjoy playing with your children. Pilates enables you to do this.

Play with your children!

It is true that our peak physical ability is usually at some point in our twenties, however this is hardly to say that you are not capable of gaining strength and improving your fitness. A 45 year old adult is more than capable of climbing steps, ducking under bars, sliding down slides and swinging on swings. Play is not just for the young. Be wise with your body. Abraham Lincoln said: “ I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” Apply this wisdom to your physical well being;  practising pilates will help you manage your body all through the day. There is no magic pill, no magic drug, no magic food; if you do not engage your muscles they will fail you. Engage them well and they will serve you, with good practice really well. Pilates enables you to do this.

Bananas and apples
Healthy food is essential to a healthy lifestyle

Couple your pilates diligence with sound nutrition and a healthy attitude, so that your whole overall approach to life is one shining example of health.

I can hear the skeptics saying “boring, no fun.” Hardly am I saying not to party! Of course we should celebrate our achievements and “indulge” once in awhile. As long as you return to your daily consciousness of regular exercise, sound nutrition and a healthy attitude. Balance, proportion, and consciousness-it is all  within your power! Life is better looking out than down. Lengthen your spine, DO PILATES, and seize the moment.