Why You Should Take an Advanced Training (Even if you Don't have Advanced Students)

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Look at those lovely ladies!! Trainings are so much fun!! But something I often hear is “I don’t have any advanced clients. So I don’t need to take the Advanced training.” (And don’t even get me started on “I don’t need to take the Advanced Training. I can just learn the exercises from a video.” That’s another blog post).

So, why should you take an advanced training if you have clients that mainly do beginning work?

  1. Your personal practice. Our work as instructors is our commitment to our practice. That does not mean that we judge ourselves or our self worth by how we look or compare ourselves as to who is doing Snake and who is not. It means that to teach Pilates we need to be challenging ourselves to progress to the most challenging exercises for us. Taking a training at a higher level will push you to learn new exercises (and probably practice for assessment). I haven’t taught an advanced training without seeing new exercises open for people that they thought were too difficult or even impossible to open up for their bodies. I find we are often overly focused on one exercise (like Snake) but are skipping all the exercises that lead up to Snake. Taking a training will help break that exercise you’ve been working toward down to it’s mini pieces and pre-exercises so that you can add more exercises to what you’re already doing with confidence.

  2. You need to know the whole system. If you know the entire system, it’s easier to teach it. Many of the questions I get from beginner teachers are because they don’t know the entire system, and when you know the entire system, the beauty of it begins to unfold. For example, many people ask why we’re so picky about transitions, but if you’re not trying to get the advanced work done “in and hour and in the shower,” the transitions may not make sense. If you don’t know the entire order on Reformer, it doesn’t make sense why Spine Stretch moves in the order. When you see how all the exercises work in the complete system, you are able to see the overarching organization and am better able to choose which exercises to teach as your client progresses.

  3. It will make you a better teacher. When you know the full expression of Joe’s work, you know where the journey takes your clients. Maybe Snake is something that will never be the best choice for your clients’ bodies, but if you know the purpose and goal of that exercise, you may know a pre-exercise or mini exercise that will meet that same goal (maybe on anther apparatus). If you know the fluidity and strength that the advanced work requires, you will teach your clients to that higher level, even if they never learn the more challenging exercises.

  4. Working with your peers will inspire you. Sometimes it’s the little conversations that happen on breaks that will help solve a problem you’re having, a business issue, or a client issue. I always learn something from a training, especially from the more advanced trainings since the teachers have all been teaching for a longer time so they have so much to share. New ideas and solutions to problems and more peer help happens the more you advance in the system. These friendships and teaching moments will then continue to inspire you. It’s so important to help share in each other’s accomplishments, frustrations, and creative solutions. We carry this work together. Before I was an educational training center, I worked by myself and without advancing in the system, I could have easily started to teach “Jessilates.” Seeing the work of the Master instructor and my peers always helped to keep me working not only within the system, but also to it’s highest potential.

Feeling inspired yourself to level up? Check out our next Trainings here.

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Top Eight Tips for Working with Pilates and Osteoporosis (the Condensed Version)

So many of us are working with Goldeners (the Active Aging Population) that I thought it would be helpful to list a few of the Dos and Don’ts of working with Osteoporosis, especially as it concerns Pilates. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this list is not medical advice, nor should it be used as such), but I weeded through a few studies so that you don’t have too.

****The most important tip is first

  1. Don’t use spinal flexion. Yes, that is a lot of the Pilates repertoire, but flexion puts pressure on the anterior surface of the vertebral bodies, and that is usually the weakened part of the bone. Flexion increased the risk of fracture in 89% of osteoporosis cases in this study.

2. Do use spinal extension. The posterior vertebral bodies have a higher degree of cortical bone and are at less risk of fracture. A study found that stronger spinal extensors led to increased bone density and less occurrence of spinal fractures.

3. Don’t side bend. Pressure on the vertebra are also excessive during side bending.

4. Do teach a hip hinge instead of flexion. It is imperative osteoporosis clients know the difference between spine and hip flexion (see #1 above).

5. Don’t twist. Again, excessive pressure on the vertebra.

6. Do teach isometric work. This is one of the best ways to get strong (and by now, you may be asking, “What can I do with a client with osteoporosis?”). Most of the isometric work can be found in the Pilates Fundamentals and are great for teaching control and strength in the core so clients don’t accidentally do little tiny twists or other contraindicated movement when moving their legs to the front or side.

7. Don’t work with a client if they can’t tell you their T-Score. Clients who have taken a Bone Mineral Density Test should be able to tell you their T-Score. A Standard Deviation of -1 to -2.5 indicates osteopenia, and -2.5 or more indicates osteoporosis. Why is this important to know? For every one point below the mean, fracture risk doubles.

8. Do teach these clients to stand and balance. They need to be weight bearing if possible. Standing weights, standing power circle, standing leg swings, and single balance work on one leg is very important. If these clients fall, they are likely to fracture, so they need to be taught how to stand tall.

Working with someone with osteoporosis can be a bit scary (and when in doubt, refer out), but it can be safely done with a knowledgeable Pilates instructor. The extension work, chest openers, standing series and the ease of adding weights to our work makes it a natural fit for the osteoporosis client. Remember, it is a silent disease, so your clients won’t have symptoms, but don’t let that stop you from following safety guidelines. Some clients like flexion because it feels good, but you need to be firm in your knowledge and confidence to tell them why that movement needs to be avoided.

Leave any additional questions in the comments below. I’ve been working with clients with osteoporosis for years and would love to help. Its a population that needs Pilates!

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Self Care for Pilates Instructors

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So how do you teach 6-8 or 9 hours straight? This question was recently posed to me and I thought I would add my ideas here on the blog. These techniques could be applied to any job that doesn’t have standard breaks, and in the gig economy, that applies to many of us. I should add that I am my own boss and I decide to teach these hours. I stack my schedule back to back from the hours of 6am-2pm so I can utilize my time effectively and then get home to take care of my children after school. I’m not looking for sympathy for my working hours. I understand that what I teach is my passion and an privilege, and I am not trying to say that this work schedule works for everyone, I’m just trying to share what works for me.

So…. the first tip is what you do the night before a long teaching day. I have gotten super disciplined about getting to bed. My usual waking time is 5am, so that means I try to wind down by 10pm. Sometimes 10pm is my first opportunity of the day to workout if my schedule has been stacked and my kids need me, so sometimes my workout is 5 minutes of wall or 10 minutes on the roller. I try not to skip Pilates any day of the week, but I will shorten the duration of the workout so I’m fresh to teach the next day. I also don’t drink alcohol the night before I teach. I find it disrupts my sleep and I have a hard time getting focused to teach. Finally, I will look at my schedule and make a rough plan for the next day. I don't write anything out formally, but I’ll take a few minutes to look at my semis and think what would work best for the group (for some people its the second or third workout of the week and I don’t want to repeat), and I have a small studio so sometimes I have to plan how to use the props or the space, and sometimes I’m just reviewing who is injured and making sure I’ve looked at what we did last time and making observations to see if they are progressing or showing signs of readiness for additional exercises. This mental preparation is key so I’m not caught unprepared. A client walking in you haven’t prepared for can take a lot of mental energy and I wan’t to make sure I’m conserving what I have for the entire day.

Second…I have a plan for what I’m going to eat. If I teach longer than five hours in a row, I have a smoothie at hour 3. I can drink the smoothie during transitions and I get more than water but protein and fat to keep my brain working. My smoothie is a banana, sugar-free sun butter, matcha, and greens. This is what works for me, and I’ve found over time that fruit in my smoothie gives me a sugar crash. What you may need to eat may be different, but I like getting the smoothie as a meal replacement that I can gradually drink (instead of trying to gulp down a protein bar all at once). If I have a break, I make a green tea. If I have time to eat lunch, I do a salmon salad with kale (I put salsa on top. It adds nice flavor and softens the kale). I always have snacks on hand, and eat while the clients clean if I feel brain fog coming on. My favorite snacks combine some fat with protein. I usually have dried buffalo bars, Trader Joe’s Coconut Clusters, RX Bars, chocolate covered almonds, or dried fruit on hand. I also like dried chickpeas and beat chips. I love dried seaweed, but I’ve found it’s too messy for a quick grab (and I have a bag of snacks in my car for the ride home in case I crash then).

Thirdly, water is super important. I’ve found that drinking enough water really helps prevent brain fog. I generally take a sip from my water bottle during the big transitions on Reformer (another great reason to teach your clients to do their own transitions). I have a water bottle I just tip and sip (no covers or lids to slide) so I can watch my clients do the transition after I say it. I won’t use a water bottle where I can’t keep my eyes on the clients for safety reasons.

And my last tip is…I try to stay off my phone. If a client is late or goes to the bathroom and I have a few minutes, it’s super tempting to check my phone. But that takes me out of the room, and most importantly, out of my body. If I do have the shortest of breaks, I first check in: Do I need to eat? Drink? Stretch my calves? Lay over the barrel? The phone will always be there after the session, and it can be a big energy suck, or I might get an email that will distract me from my next lesson. And I often remind myself, there is never an email emergency. People call or text in those situations so I don't need to keep checking email while I’m teaching. It’s better to do that at a separate time (and usually not when I’m with my kids either).

So there are my big tips. I hope they help. I’ve found the more disciplined I am in how I structure my time and nutrition, the better I can serve my clients. And the most important thing is that I am present and available to lead them through the best session I can give them that day. And with a little bit of planning, I can do that.

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How to Eat Like a Pilates Teacher

 

So this is not a post on how to loose weight, or what Pilates teachers eat.  It's a post for all the Pilates teachers out there who don't eat.  I usually teach at least five hours in a row, and don't have time to eat.  Literally.  And that's not ok.  And while my go-to lunch is a salmon salad with kale (just let the kale sit with basalmic and it softens up just fine, thank you, no need to massage the kale - hey, why should my kale get more massages than me?), there are days I bring my salad home uneaten.  Not ok.  I can't get up at 5am and then be home at 3pm and not eat.  So one of my mentors, Pamela Garcia, gave me a great tip that I want to share with you:  Eat while the clients clean the equipment.  They really don't need you to direct them while they do that.  It's ok.  The trick is to have food you can quickly grab a few bites of, so it has to be eaten out of hand and not too messy.  Fruit works - apples or oranges are good (you just have to pre-slice them like you're in preschool. I find an apple or orange eaten whole is too messy).  Trail mix is good.  I like the mix of good fats and protein.  You can buy it, which gets expensive, or make it yourself.  Tanka Bites are a great source of protein and not too messy (some jerky gets a bit greasy).  And you can always go with a bar.  I recently tried the Sunwarrior Sol Good Bars, and I liked them.  They were easy to break into pieces to eat quickly, had ingredients I could pronounce, and use plant protein.  I found them filling without being too sweet.  My favorite was the blueberry, which had actual blueberries in it!  So Pilates instructors, make sure you take care of yourself.  It was one of my New Years Resolutions last year (along with Use the Bathroom When you Need To.  No, Seriously, Use the Bathroom When you Need To.).  Sometimes the simplest change is the best.  Practice self-care this year.

**Please understand that I am not suggesting that the above ideas are substitutes for a healthy balanced lunch.  They are simply suggestions as to what you can eat to keep your energy up without a lunch break.  I still eat that salad as soon as I can.  

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The Top Three Reasons to Choose the Peak Pilates Training Program

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!

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The Best Pilates Exercise for your Lats

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So, that title was total click bait.  Sorry, there are no Pilates exercises for your lats...not that Pilates doesn't work your lats...let me explain...

Someone asked me the other day for an exercise to work their lats.  And I was stumped for a little bit.  What should I give them?  The arm weight series?  Row Series on Reformer?  Pull Up on Chair?  And then it hit me why I didn't have a quick answer.  All Pilates exercises work your lats.  And more importantly, in Pilates, we don't break the body down into segments.

Your lats (or latissimus dorsi) are a major posture muscle and connect your trunk to your pelvis.  They also help to rotate your scapula (shoulder blades) downward, which is important since most people are becoming kyphotic due to smart phone or computer use, or overworking their chest muscles.  If you have a kyphotic posture, your shoulders generally rotate inward. 

But in Pilates, we don't isolate the lats and then work them separately from the rest of the body for 10 minutes, or have a "back" day and a "leg" day.  We are continually trying to depress the shoulders for good posture and alignment (not the entire way, but only say, 80%).  So, the 100 becomes a lat exercise.  Even a "leg" exercise like Footwork on the Chair uses your lats to help keep your trunk elevated and stable.  See those ladies working above on the ladder barrel?  They're working their lats, too, to help keep their balance.

And that brings me to the bigger realization I had when I was asked this question.  In Pilates, we don't think of the body as separate parts.  We think of the body as a whole.  We want to strengthen our lats so they can help us stabilize our trunk, not just to have strong lats, or to have a good-looking back.  It's important to see how all the muscles connect, not to just work them in isolation.  It's this connection that makes Pilates so functional.  That way, your lats help you lift your child, lift weights, and execute the Pull Up on Chair.  We don't want to separate your muscles from the movement your body needs to perform, and that's what makes Pilates a movement system

So, go ahead and work your lats.  Every exercise, all the time.  Your posture will thank you for it, and you'll be stronger and more supported in all you do.

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I love it, Sir!

So my son recently started taking Taekwondo, and one day as I was observing class, my son and the instructor had this conversation while he was trying to do the splits.

Master:  How are you doing, Ty?

Student:  Not so good, Sir.  It hurts, Sir.

Master:  Oh no, Taekwondo Kids do not say, "It hurts."  Taekwondo kids do not say, "Ow."  They say, "I love it, Sir."  Say "I love it, Sir."

Student:  I love it, Sir.

So what to make of this?  Well, initially I was a little worried.  Is my son being taught to ignore pain or his feelings?  I wouldn't want that. 

But on second thought, it seems the lesson is that you can frame thoughts in your head so that you don't defeat yourself.  This reminds me of my mantra, "I love the burn." or why I need to do the exercises that I "hate."  But maybe I don't "hate" them anymore.  Maybe I "love" them.  Because they're making me stronger. 

How we talk to ourselves is very important.  How you talk to your clients is important.  Honor that something is challenging.  Much of Pilates is.  But find the joy in the struggle, the love in the work.  Pilates is difficult enough.  Adding negative energy won't help you find depth in a stretch or connection in a movement.  But maybe "loving" it will.  And it will make the journey that much more pleasant, so go ahead - love the burn, love the stretch, love your body and the effort you're putting into it each time you approach the work.  And who knows?  Eventually, your self talk may turn into actual self love.

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Mat Vs. Equipment Pilates - Which is Better?

People often ask me which is better - mat or equipment Pilates.  Or people will tell me, "I hate mat" or "I only do mat."  So which is better?  Well, let's start by looking at what makes each unique.  As I say to my children when they complain that someone got a bigger piece of something or a longer whatever, "You are not equal, you're unique."

Some things that make mat unique:

1.  It's portable.  You can do it just about anywhere with very little equipment.  See Keeping Up Your Workout While Traveling.

2.  It's affordable.  You'll probably pay $10-15 for a mat class, while equipment classes will run you about $25-60, depending on how many people are in a class.

3.  It's what Joseph created first.  It's the beginning of the work.  It connects you to the largest equipment available - the earth.  It's is the foundation to everything.

4.  It's done using your own body for stability and is more open-chain (exercises where the hand or foot is free to move).  This means that you will have to work in your core a lot to hold your body still or mobilize it during an exercise. 

5.  Mat has more flow.  Since you're not getting up to move a box, change a spring, or attach a bar, you can just keep moving from one exercise into the next.

So how is Equipment Unique?

1.  It uses more resistance.  Most equipment (outside of the barrels) have springs.  These springs give resistance in both directions to every exercise.  So, if you're looking to strength train and up your metabolism, the equipment will help.

2.  If you need more support and alignment cues, equipment has the edge as well.  On reformer alone, you have a head rest, shoulder blocks, and a foot bar so your teacher can easily see exactly how your body is moving.  I call my Reformer the diagnostic piece of equipment.

3.  There are more exercises on equipment.  There's about 50 mat exercises, and on reformer 250, chair even more than that.  So it's great to help keep variety in your Pilates routine.

So which is better?  It's important to understand that Pilates is best as a system.  If you've always done the hundred on the mat, imagine pumping your arms with resistance (that's Reformer).  If you've always done Short Spine with springs to help you, imagine doing it without them and you'll really build up your Powerhouse and train it how to lift your pelvis while performing the Roll Over on the mat.

I've seen it time and time again, clients who only like one or the other, and they don't progress as much as clients who perform the entire system.  What you learn on one informs your body on the other.  You'll build newer connections faster and deeper if you do both.

And sadly, whichever one you "don't like" is probably the one you have to do.  Sometimes tighter people don't like mat - it's a lot of sitting or straight legs extended in the air if your hamstrings are tight.  But guess how you help lengthen your hamstrings?  By performing mat.  People who don't like equipment because it's too much stopping and starting probably have a hard time connecting their mind and body without distraction.  But guess what helps with that?  Unlocking the rhythm sections on Reformer.

So, yes, I love my two children equally.  Does one get on my nerves sometimes?  Do I feel more connected to another at points in my life?  Certainly.  But that doesn't mean I stop loving one or the other.  So challenge yourself to explore new exercises on the mat, or try an equipment class.  You may just find that it helps push your body in a new way help you go deeper into the work.

 

 

 

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In Defense of Pilates as Movement System

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."  

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Powerhouse Cues!

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!

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More Powerhouse Cues

100 - Balance a teacup between your pelvis and hip bones

Roll Up - peel up like a wet spaghetti noodle off the mat, round over a beach ball

One Leg Circle - Pin hips down

RLAB - Be like a ball, eyes on the prize

Single Leg Stretch - Draw a line with your legs in and out

Double Leg Stretch - Glue the lower back to the mat, wrap the legs, funnel the ribs, knit the ribs

Scissors - Lengthen your heel to your seat

Double Leg Lower/Lift - Draw it in

Criss Cross - Wring out ribs like a towel

Spine Stretch Forward - Lift over a beach ball, Lift up and and over your three anchors

Saw - Saw open your back, spread the scapula like wings, wring out your ribs

Swan - Don't smash the mouse in your house

Rest - Round in the spine

Shoulder Bridge Prep - Feel lifted to the ceiling, Lay buttons down on the mat

Side Kicks: Front - Glue hip to mat

SK: Up and Down - Move through Peanut Butter for resistance

SK:  Circles - Abs Lift/No Shift

SK:  Inner Thighs - Lengthen out leg like a laser

Beats on Belly - Mouse in the House

Teaser One Leg - Roll Bone by Bone

Swimming Prep:  Mouse House, Lead Core

LPFS: Abs up and into Core

Seal:  Roll the abs up and in

Push Ups:  Roll down bone by bone

More cues here, and here

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You Are More than Your Body

I was reading this blog today and this line really struck a chord with me:

"Stress trumps all.   Even when the diet and movement are right, you can be undermined by a mind that's bearing a heavy load." 

Isn't that true?  Every time I've had a major injury, it's been during a very stressful period in my life.  I've taken to preemptively doing energy work before a stressful event because my body manifests stress so strongly physically.  When I last sprained my ankle, I was a Graduate Teaching Assitant, was completing my Masters, was teaching full time, and completing the highest level of Pilates certification.  So was it the movement in the ballet class that injured me?  No, it was the heavy load I was carrying in my brain and in my heart.

So, how are you planning on taking care of your mind this year?  How can we lessen the load for each other? 

This may be my New Years Non Resolution .

More Powerhouse Cues

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

Need more?  Cues here and here.

 

 

 

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Thankful

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More Powerhouse Cues

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

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Fall Training Schedule

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!

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Why I Don't Workout with my Clients

I can't tell you how many times I have had this conversation.

Someone:  What do you do?

Me:  I teach Pilates.

S:  Wow, you must be in such good shape!  You get to workout for your job!

M:  Actually, I don't workout with my clients.  I lead them through a workout.

S:  Oh. 

That's right, I do not get paid to workout.  As a Pilates instructor, that is not my job.  It's not about my workout, it's about my client's. 

Here are some other compelling reasons why I continue to teach this way:

Head and Neck Issues.  Most of Pilates is done on your back.  If I'm demonstrating, you have to crane your neck, most likely to one side, to see me perform an exercise.  That's really unsafe for your neck.  A majority of the mat work is done on your back with your head lifted, and it's just not safe for my clients to try to look to see me while they workout.

Range of Motion.  When I was teaching the New York City Ballet Workout, the instructor I was training under told us not to use our longest leg extension when taking class with our students.  She said that it would lead the people in our classes to try to match the height of our leg.  For most people in the general population, it's really hard to toss your leg up high in the air without crunching your back or rounding your spine.  If your clients are watching you and you are really flexible, your clients may try to match your range of motion.  Range of motion in Pilates is determined by form.  But that means everyone's range is different, and a high leg may not be better, especially if you're using your quad to lift it instead of your Powerhouse.  So it's better not to look around a room and compare yourself to anyone during a Pilates class, not even your instructor.  It's better to stay in your body and make sure you are in the exercise, not performing the exercise.

Pilates Is Mind/Body Work.  Many of us are visual learners, and rely on that part of our brains to learn movement.  When we turn that off and really listen to our instructor's words, it forces us to go internal for movement correction, instead of external.  This is the essence of mind/body work.  I don't want to cheat my clients of that experience.  It may take them longer to learn an exercise, but it will be better for them to take the time to figure it out than to just mimic my movements.

I Want to be Safe, Too.  As an instructor, even if I'm demonstrating, part of me is watching the class and thinking about them.  How do I stay connected in my body during my Pilates work if my brain is concentrating on myself and my clients?  I'm more likely to injure myself if I'm not concentrating on my body, or worse yet, just jumping in and out of exercises to demonstrate.  I'm not aware of my own limitations or flexibility or strength that day to be safe in my own practice.

It Makes Us Human.  I have not discovered some secret to being in shape.  I have to juggle my workouts like any other mother, teacher, woman, or student around work, life, love, children, school.... Making time to workout helps me empathize with my clients when they fall behind in their homework to keep up with their Pilates practice on their own.  It also helps me help them brainstorm ideas as to how to stay fit and healthy in this world where we are all so busy.  As a Pilates instructor, I don't have eight hours a day to think about my body and workout, but I do have eight hours a day to devote to the work of Joseph Pilates.  For that, I consider myself lucky.  That's what inspires me to pull out my mat at the end of the day, sometimes at 11pm, to do the mat work.  That's what devotion to Pilates is.  That's what I teach, and that is my job.

#100FitDays

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