Pilates to Perfect Your Posture

We live in a time where we are constantly hunched over our electronics. Whether its slumped in a chair working at a computer for 8 hours plus or constantly staring down at our smart phones, it’s really easy to go through the day with bad posture. Over time, bad posture can ware on the body putting you at risk of pain and injury. Maintaining good posture throughout the day requires constant self-awareness. But I have good news! Pilates is an excellent way to improve your body awareness! In Pilates you learn how to breathe efficiently, how to keep the spine mobile and elongated and how to use core strength. These are all vital in executing good posture and proper alignment. Using those core muscles to support our posture allows the shoulders to relax, the neck and head to move freely and takes the stress off our lower body. While you’re stretching and strengthening those core muscles during your Pilates class you’re coordinating breathing with body awareness so that everything you’ve learned with your Pilates exercises can be applied to every-day life. Here are a few tips on how to transfer what you learn from Pilates into better posture during the work day. Breathe Deeply: The use of breath creates space in the spine and alleviates pressure in your joints. While sitting or standing in place, inhale deeply and you’ll find that you have naturally lengthened your body! Exhale deeply and activate your lower abs when lifting or setting down heavy objects to take the stress out of your back, neck, shoulders and joints. Use your glutes: Activate those glutes we use...

Corrections to Form During Class

Sometimes clients ask us if we correct form during class. The answer is that we provide feedback on form in a group setting. We use cues to describe to the class what we are doing. For example, if the instructor is teaching her group class and sees that a student is lifting the hips when they shouldn’t be lifted, she will say something like “and keep your hips low as you go through the movements.” In other words, the instructor watches what the class is doing and she will add on / elaborate on her cueing based on what the class is doing. In a class setting, individualized corrections to form are limited. Group classes are designed to flow as a workout. The goal is to teach a challenging class that will keep everyone engaged and be the right level of difficulty. For clients seeking individualized attention on their movements, we’d recommend private training over a group class. Similarly, for clients with an injury, like a back, shoulder or neck injury, we’d recommend starting with private...

Stretching – Tips from Desk Manager, Part 2

Everyone knows home important exercising is, but many people overlook the importance of stretching! Regardless of age or flexibility, everyone can feel the benefits of stretching. What we don’t realize is that our daily routines contribute to tight muscles and joints making us feel pain in places we don’t enjoy. Stretching has proven to reduce stress, increase energy, reduce pain in problem areas, reduce injury and much more! While Pilate is a great workout, it is also a great way to stretch and increase your flexibility. Some of my favorite Pilates stretches that make my body feel better are feet in straps and deep lunges on the reformer. To do Feet in straps, start with two red springs and lie on your back on the reformer while holding the straps in both hands, press off the foot bar and one by one, place your feet in the according straps. Press out with both feet and bring both of your legs straight up to feel a deep calf and hamstring stretch. Once you are feeling comfortable, open both legs into a wide “V” and feel a deep stretch within the hip flexier and hamstrings. Next, bring both feet together to a “butterfly” stretch and feel the stretch within your glutes. Feel free to hold any position as long as you want or experiment with whatever makes your body feel good! Deep lunging on the reformer is how I like to end each Pilates class because it is a great way to get one last deep stretch within the psoas that leave me feeling great walking out of the studio. To...

Pilates Class While Pregnant

Here is our go-to guide for Pilates at our studio while pregnant. This post is a little longer than our normal posts, and we hope it’s helpful to expecting moms. First, there is not a one size fits all approach to Pilates while pregnant. We’d love to tell you that there are 5 rules to follow and that you’d be all set if you did that, but it’s not true. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Some women feel great the whole time and can pretty much do anything, others just don’t. You have to pay attention to your body and plan your workouts based on that. Next, Pilates classes during pregnancy are great, but they are not for everyone. Classes are just that – classes. The instructor isn’t going to stop for you and she can’t offer a modification for every exercise. Some clients will feel better and more confident in private training during their pregnancies. Clients will any pregnancy related complications should almost certainly take private training. As a reminder, our classes are designed to be Pilates fitness classes. Also, clients who have been with us for a while or who know Pilates tend to do just fine in class when they are expecting. They know they exercises, how they feel and what they need to change. It can be more difficult for clients who are new to our studio to take class. Finally, pregnant clients will need to make their own modifications during class. We often recommend clients take a private or two so that they can learn what the modifications are for given exercises....

Kids and Teens and Pilates

Sometimes we are asked – is there an age limit for your Pilates classes or when can my son/daughter start taking Pilates. Like many situations, it depends. 😀 For classes, we do have a minimum age requirement of 14. Athletic teens generally do well in class once they are past the age of 14. Very occasionally, we allow someone younger in class. That is ok when a parent is also attending and when that younger client has experience from private training. For kids under 14, private training is recommended. For younger children especially, private training is a must. Kids under 12 often don’t even fit on the machine – we need to modify all of the machine settings and add extra blocks so their feet reach the...

Finding Time for Yourself and Workouts – tips from desk manager

One of the most challenging things is to find time to take for yourself and your workouts. After a long day at work most people don’t even want to think about going to the gym, going to a workout class, or even taking the time at home to workout, stretch or take time for themselves. One of the most life changing things I could have done was find time in my day for a workout, stretch or meditation. Even if it is just a quick 30-minute walk, I have noticed a huge change in my attitude and daily outlook. When I take time out of my day to better myself and do a something for myself I feel exceptionally better in many ways. I am drawn to make healthier choices, I sleep better, I’m happier from getting those endorphins going and my joints and muscles are definitely thanking me! I think as a society we get lost in our daily routines and forget how important finding time to better ourselves and self-care is. Remember how much you matter and how important you are and find time in your day to feel, think and be...

Getting Back Into Pilates

Sometimes life gets in the way of working out. When that happens, it can be challenging to work Pilates classes back into your routine. We have some suggestions to make this process easier. First, when you’re away from the studio, try to not be away from Pilates. You don’t need a reformer to keep up with your practice. You can easily do some roll ups or bridges at home. Even a simple exercises can help your muscle memory. Next, when you do return to class, start with a Level One or a Fusion. Let your muscles and your mind get back in the hang of the exercises. We always suggest taking a day break after your first class back so your muscles can recover. Finally, once you’re back, set yourself a goal for how often you can realistically commit to attending class. Pick something that is realistic for you and then make it happen. If your time away was due to a surgery or injury, it can be helpful to a private session before resuming classes. You might need to make some modifications and we can help you with that in private...

Tips to Keep Your Workouts Up While on Vacation

So you have a vacation coming up. You’ve been working out extra hard to get ready (yay!) and you want to keep fit while away. You also don’t want to spend your vacation squeezing in your workouts. Here are some simple tips from our trainers about keeping fit while away. Walking! Bring your sneakers and find time in your schedule for a brisk walk. You can see new things and get the heart pumping. Pool workout – even for a non-swimmers: If your hotel has a pool, you can walk/run laps in the pool. To mix it up, walk some laps forward, some backwards, and some sideways. If you keep your past brisk, you’ll fire up your legs and get some cardio. Bring you hat! Hotel gym workout – if your hotel has a gym, even a small one, we love a cardio/strength workout for about 45 minutes. First walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Use a significant incline. Then, start doing a circuit – 10 lunges each leg, 10 push ups, 10 squats. In between circuits, walk 2-3 minutes on the treadmill. And, of course, check out your vacation area for Pilates classes!...

Increase results by adding Pilates to your weekly workout routine

Many people find that a typical Pilates group session or private lesson is not the ideal workout for their needs. Of course! For someone who is trying to build big muscles by lifting weights, increase their endurance by long distance running or interval training, or who just loves the way a 90 minute hot yoga class makes them feel, replacing their favorite routine with a Pilates lesson may not make sense. But adding a weekly Pilates session to the mix will have a strong, positive impact on the quality and results of your other workouts. By consciously practicing correct joint placement, Pilates students are at less risk of injury when they go into a more extreme situation, such as a competition or marathon. In all of our classes, we learn to operate our limbs from our core body, our Pilates Powerhouse. This deliberate focus of moving the arms and legs from the core body reverberates through all of our movements, be it in sports, or just daily life. If you or someone you know is reluctant to make Pilates a priority, give it a month! A weekly class will start to make a difference...

All The Ways We Work

You’ve probably noticed that when you workout in one of our group reformer classes you are in constant motion. From the moment you have the first reformer setup done, you’re moving. From lying down to sitting up, kneeling high and kneeling low, standing, sitting, lying on your sides and stomach. Each of our Pilates group classes are unique, but there is a strong core principle that you’ll notice in every workout you do with us: you will work all of your limbs in all positions. You will move your arms and legs up and down, side to side, and in circles in both directions. You will push hard away from resistance and pulling something heavy towards your center. You will do these actions in six positions: on your back, on your sides, facing down, kneeling, sitting, and standing. This constant variation of body position means that you are toning and strengthening your entire body, never allowing your posture to collapse. As soon as you get comfortable working your arms hard on high knees, it’s time to lie on your side and work the legs. Your abs and lower back must work the entire time to keep you on the machine. Notice next time you’re in class, which positions feel the most natural for you? Which one do you find challenging? Where can you find core body tension in each position? Ask your instructor for help if you notice a particular position is extra difficult. See you in...