Join us at The Pilates Barre Portland October 21, 2017 at 10:00am for a Donation Mat Class taught by Master Instructor Jessica Schultz. Donate what you can. Every dollar will be given to the American Red Cross to aid continuing hurricane relief efforts. Any Peak instructor attending will receive 1 CEC no matter what they donate. This class is open to the public. Love wins!!! Let's do this people!
Want to advance your Pilates practice in the new year? Keep your certification current? Lean 73 exercises and how to integrate them into a session? Check out our latest Instructor Newsletter to learn more about our Workshop January 30-31st.
I often get asked what makes Peak Pilates unique. After years of owning my own studio and hiring teachers of many different backgrounds, here is what I can say for sure.
1. We teach Pilates by honoring the past
Peak Pilates teaches Pilates as a movement system, honoring the work of Joseph Pilates. We don't feel his work needs to be changed, but we work hard to understand it in today's language with some minor adjustments to reflect the advancements of science and what we know about the body and mind. You certainly wouldn't want a doctor with medical knowledge limited to the last century. So as a Pilates instructor, it's important to understand advancements that have been backed up by science so that you have the latest knowledge to safely teach your clients and help them meet their workout goals.
2. It's all included.
At Peak Pilates, our training is integrated. After successful completion of PPC-I, you will know all the beginning exercises on Mat, Reformer, Cadillac/Tower, Chair, Small Barrel, Ladder Barrel, and Power Circle. You will not pay additional money to assess. You will pay for the four modules and material fees (and shipping). That's it. You will understand how to modify exercises to keep people safe with general back, knee, wrist, ankle, shoulder or neck problems, as well as how to modify a class for a healthy older client. Everything to understand the system is included. You don't need pre-anatomy courses. Anatomy is included.
3. We teach not just WHAT to teach, but HOW to teach.
There are a number of reputable companies that can teach you what the 100 is, but at Peak we teach you how to teach your clients to perform the 100. That means how to spot, how to communicate, how to use imagery and touch...all the amazing things that will set you apart as a Pilates instructor. Our Five-Part Formula for Success is unique in that it sets up people who have little to no teaching experience to achieve excellent results. Even if you have taught before, the Five-Part Formula will expand and deepen your teaching skills.
Without this system unique to Peak, it's easy for beginning instructors to get overwhelmed. Imagine, you've spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours taking exercises apart and discussing the nuances of movement. So what do you do when you get that first new client in front of you? If you share everything you know about an exercise, they will very quickly be overwhelmed. How do you know what to say and when to say it? How do you cue a body in motion to stay in motion without music? How do you safely progress clients? As a graduate of a Peak Pilates training program, you will know how to do all these things. And because you have this knowledge, you will stand out, and you will get excellent results.
So start your Pilates journey will all the information necessary to succeed - check out our latest trainings and get started today!
So I read this on a blog the other day, and, well, it kinda made me sad:
"One casualty was Lisa Brinkworth. Lisa is a resident of Buckinghamshire, England and the mother of three small sons. Last year, she started taking Pilates at a local studio and was inspired by a fellow student to sign up for a twice weekly “planking” competition. Initially she was excited by the planking event and did her best to hold the pose longer and longer. Around Christmas, Lisa began suffering what she describes as an “excruciating pain in the left side of my chest.” The pain was so bad that she feared she was having a heart attack or had developed breast cancer. Doctors finally diagnosed her condition as “costochondritis,” an inflammation of the cartilage that joins the ribs to the breastbone. “How many of us,” she wondered, “are putting ourselves at risk of such a painful unnecessary injury?”
Now, I want to be very clear. I do not want to start to compare Pilates with barre classes. I take barre workouts and enjoy them. The first class I was ever certified to teach was the New York City Ballet Workout, which could easily be described as a barre workout (without the barre, it's all done standing in center). So let's not go there. This is not about what is better or worse.
For me, this is about Pilates and how we teach it. Did you see the pictures of the planking on the blog? It's bodies piled on top of each other. How is this Pilates? What part of Pilates should involve a competition?
I believe that Pilates should be taught as a movement system. I believe Joe taught it that way. It's one of the things that makes Pilates, well, Pilates. So what is a movement system? It's process-oriented, non-competitive, and non-intimidating. A movement system should stimulate the senses, the mind, and motor skill development. It should focus on breathing and regeneration of energy. I think you could ask any of my clients and they would say this is how we teach Pilates at JSP. But I teach it that way because I think it honors the way Joe taught it. Contrast Joseph Pilates' quotes below with the experience that poor woman had:
"Contrology (Pilates) is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology (Pilates), you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then, through proper repetition of its exercises, you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities."
"Beginning with the introductory series, each succeeding exercise should be mastered before proceeding progressively with the following exercises."
or my favorite:
"A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion."
If we honor Joseph's work, we must teach Pilates as a movement system. Even if we cannot agree on imprinting or order or neutral pelvis, can we at least agree on this? I don't want to ever see Pilates mentioned in an article entitled "The Good and Bad of Extreme Workouts." Really. If you're teaching something that extreme that you are putting bodies on top of one another, working people past the point of exhaustion, and competing one person against another, can you please just not call it Pilates? Because it really isn't.
The saddest thing about the blog post? I agree with the author's point. She writes, "The best way to transform your body remains training under the guidance of a knowledgeable teacher and committing yourself to regular, focused practice." I couldn't agree more, I just would call that "Pilates."
Here are the latest Powerhouse cues from the clever ladies that met this weekend:
100 - draw in and down like an anchor on your pelvis; like being strapped to the floor
Roll Up - like going down the stairs, step by step,b one by bone; bone by bone like a strand of lights; like rolling up and over a beach ball
OLC - hold your pelvis still like you're wearing a girdle; anchor your spine like it's a tree trunk; move your leg like folding in egg whites
RLAB - pull in and up like a zipper; round out from your center like spokes on a wheel; make a shape like a bug protecting itself
SLS - press down to the floor like flattening a pancake; extend your legs like reaching the pedals for a bike that's too big
DLS - like a clam opening and closing
Scissors - keep your pelvis still like you have a tray of drinks on it
Lower & Lift - Hold you Powerhouse strong and rooted to the floor like an old tree; like tightening a corset
Criss Cross - Still your pelvis like you're stuck in mud; rotate like the roots of a swaying tree
SSF - stacking bone by bone like building a house brick by brick; round up like a flower coming back to life
Saw - sit tall like a tree trunk; lift up like you're wearing a corset
Side Kicks: Front & Back - move front and back like you're ringing a bell
Side Kicks: Up & Down - press down through honey
Side Kicks: Inner Thigh - Press leg up like you're offering a drink with your foot, hold your foot like the base of an electric mixer (circles)
Seal - roll down like a wheel pushing from each tread
Standing Roll Down - up and over a mountain
Check out other cues here!
Here's a short workout guaranteed to tone your low belly and inner and outer thighs. Enjoy! Want more? I'm teaching a Power Circle CEC class February 1st. I'd love to see you there! It's an open class for Pilates enthusiasts, not just certified teachers. Why not learn new ways to challenge yourself at home?
Lies Within. If you cannot find your center, you cannot stand tall. Check out my latest video in honor of Toe Talk's Warrior Chick Sock $2 discount this Monday 12.29. Enjoy a wonderful sock discount and learn to work your Powerhouse in celebration.
Before we even get into New Years Resolutions, can we talk about what gifts we're giving this year? Not to each other, but to ourselves? No matter what Winter Festival of Your Choice you are celebrating, why not give yourself a gift this year instead of giving something up for New Years? Why not add instead of subtract?
Just. Add. Pilates.
Or yoga. Or breakfast smoothies. Or an earlier bedtime. And see what else changes.
Make your life one of plenty and abundance.
See also What If?
I know Pilates has gotten a girly reputation, but Joseph Pilates was not a dancer - he was a boxer! How more manly can you get? But I can't tell you how many times people have asked me if I have any male clients. Yes, and do, and here's why.
You get to stretch without taking a yoga class with a bunch of hyper-flexible women. Many of my guy clients know they need to stretch (and did you know that a tight psoas can lead to erectile dysfunction?) but they don't want to be surrounded by super flexible women (women tend to be more flexible than men) with their feet touching their heads while they struggle with straps and blocks to approximate the same position. In every exercise in Pilates, there is a stretch and a strength. So in Spine Stretch Forward, you're working your abs but at the same time you're stretching your hamstrings, but you get to move and flow in the position. You don't have to sit and hold something that may feel intense for 3 minutes.
It helps to open your chest. Many men focus on developing the muscles of their chest, but that can lead to overly tight chest muscles, even kyphosis (and hey, staring at that smart phone all day isn't helping!). Without stretching the chest, over developed chest muscles can cause lower back pain, and tight hips (see reason #1 above for a sneaky way to stretch without forcing yourself into Cobra). Pilates extension for the upper back focuses on opening the thoracic spine without loading the low back - it's more of a sternum lift than an arch of the mid-back. If you're really tight in your chest, deep back bends will only cause more pain. The smaller, more strategic extension in Pilates will help deeper postural changes take effect.
You'll perform better at your favorite sport. Many of my clients (male or female, for that matter) remark on how much more lung capacity they experience after starting a regular Pilates practice. The lateral opening of the side body coupled with the lift of the rib cage in forward flexion is unlike any other exercise system. This means that in your Pilates lesson, you are lengthening your ribs off your pelvis in two directions - to the side (which is easier and will give your body more stretch) and when you round forward (which is much more challenging). But if you can master that, you are training your internal, deepest abdominal muscles to support the carriage of your rib cage. If you can do that, you'll make more space to breathe, helping you increase your endurance for whatever sport you do.
By now, we all know that King James does Pilates.
Are you ready to join him? Or are you already a male student of Pilates? Share your story in the comments!
100 - Anchor your pelvis into the mat like an anchor on your PH
Roll Up - Pearls, Bone by Bone, Beach Ball, Candy Cane, Roll your Pelvis Like a Wheel
One Leg Circle - Paint the letter "D" on the ceiling; your leg is the brush
RLAB - Scoop to catch a ball in midair
Single Leg Stretch - Pull/Lengthen in leg like taffy; Reach opposite leg out to edge of cliff or edge of pool
Double Leg Stretch - Tuck like a diver
Leg Pull Front Support - Push the ground away and become the roof of a house
Mermaid Stretch - Don't touch the porcupine and come up and hug the puppy
Seal - You're a row boat filled with water, tip back and let water out for three
Push Up Series - Someone is playing tug-of-war with your head and your heals
I'm often asked by clients how far or long to reach a leg or arm during an exercise, and that's where my often spoken, "Range is determined by form" comes from.
It's most important to keep your critical connections in Pilates - so if by reaching your arm you cannot keep your ribs to your scapula and your scapula to your ribs, you've gone too far. If you don't feel your three anchors, your legs have dipped too low.
But how do you determine where this end range is? It can be different from day to day, and hopefully with improve with time as you commit to your Pilates practice. In general, stay where you are working in your Powerhouse, and let that connection build in a smaller range of motion before taking it bigger. Start at the center, at the Powerhouse, not in your arms or legs. You should feel your arms and legs lengthening out from your Powerhouse connection. Stop when you loose that connection.
My first Pilates teacher made me make the tiniest One Leg Circles I had ever performed, but when I did my hip stopped clicking. I kept working on my Powerhouse connection and one day she said, "I think you can make them bigger now." But it was important for me to keep them small so that the larger motion didn't distract me from my Powerhouse. Momentum is not a muscle group, and it certainly isn't one of the Pilates Principles.
So stay inside the exercise and your body. Really listen to see if you are finding your connection. And don't be afraid to make the movement small and controlled (that one is a Pilates principle)!
100 - Box heavy like cement
Roll Up - String of pearls
One Leg Circle - Stir leg w/in hip socket, hips heavy into floor
Rolling Like a Ball - Keep chin to chest like a laser, Eyes focused on pelvis
Single Leg Stretch - Don't rock the boat
Double Leg Stretch - Scoop to reach out, Wrap your hips and scoop belly, Hold an orange between your thighs
Scissors - Scoop out belly with ice cream scoop
More Cues Here
We're gearing up for another busy fall at JSP! Do you want to start by tipping your toe into Pilates teaching or just firm up your personal practice? Join us for Basic Mat this September and December! And don't miss out on our full certification beginning October 3rd - this certification includes mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Barrel, Chair, and Small props like Wall and the Power Circle. Do you need CECs? Two fabulous ones to choose from are Lengthen and Strengthen with Elastic Bands and Jump Board Intervals, both October 26th. Hurry, space is limited! Make your passion your career!
Peak Pilates® Props Shop (4 Hours)
Set up shop and gain new skills to increase support, resistance and proprioceptive feedback and help your mat students understand and get more out of their workout. Don’t just grab any old prop—develop a thought process that will help you to decide why to choose which prop, how to use them to full advantage, and how to work with flow. Balls, bands, circles, rings and more!
Sunday, July 27th 9am-1pm
Can I share with you one of the best things about leading Teacher Trainings? There's a workshop Peak Pilates does that shows you how to create your own exciting, dynamic Powerhouse cues. Every instructor has moments where we feel like we're repeating ourselves, and Peak has a systematic way to brainstorm new ways to engage your client's core. And after leading a training, I get to keep all these new cues...but now I've decided to share them with you! They're just too good. So thanks to Jennifer, Emily, Tia, and Denise! I'll add more as I lead more trainings. Why not share your best ones in the comments? Words are important, they have power, and if we all get together and share the best ones we'll have more to choose from to keep the work alive for our clients! Enjoy!
100 - Low spine like lead
Roll Up - Bone by bone, button by button, unroll the mat and roll it back up
One Leg Circle - Body in Concrete, lead torso
Rolling Like a Ball - Roll like a wheel
Single Leg Stretch - Pulley the legs
Double Leg Stretch - Solid body with liquid movement
Spine Stretch Forward - Deflate and inflate
Saw - Upper back is the lid to a jar of jam and you want to get it open
Inner Thigh Circles - Teacup on your ankle and keep it upright
Inner Thigh Lifts - String attached like a marionette
Seal - bowl shape to your pelvis (don't change the shape or the water will fall out)
Standing Roll Down - Drip down like water out of a faucet