A great start to the beginning of term!

Well done to the Monday evening yoga group. A great start to the beginning of term.

We revisited Utthita Trikonasana and I talked about the importance of firming the legs, lifting the kneecaps and drawing the femur into its socket as some of the many cues I gave. Why is this important?

If the thigh bone (femur) doesn’t sit right in its ball and socket joint it isn’t at its most stable position

If the body is struggling to maintain the firmness in the legs and around the hips the body compensates by overworking the joints and supporting ligaments – which will eventually lead to wear and tear on those joints. Hence my instruction to keep working the legs strongly in this pose. It is important also to rest when you feel that the muscles are tiring and you are starting to “hang off of the ligaments”

We will continue this term to deepen the knowledge of the poses and the mind body connection in the poses to keep the body healthy and get the benefits of the poses. For Utthita Trikonasana the benefits are, amongst others; to stimulate and improve circulation, strengthen hips, back, and legs, improve flexibility in hamstrings, groins and hips, improve balance and stimulate the kidneys.

Pilates – 6 principles

Well done to the Tuesday pilates groups. Today being the start of term I thought a quick tour through the six principles of Pilates would be appropriate. 

The application of the principles to the Pilates method of exercise is part of what makes it unique in the fitness world. Without these 6 principles you are not getting the benefits that the Joseph Pilates method intends. Said in another way: without these 6 principles the exercise is not Pilates!

Joseph Pilates originally called his work ” Contrology.” He considered this to be a body-mind-spirit approach to movement. What follows is an overview of the 6 principles 

1. Centering: This concept is defined as physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the powerhouse area between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Cues given are “zipping up“, “center yourself”, “engage your powerhouse”. I often break it down into separate instructions to “breathe in, pull up on pelvic floor and pull navel to spine”. Each movement starts from this centering and you should rest for a breath when you feel those muscles tire. Performing exercises without correct centering is to be avoided as it can result in injury and training your muscles in the wrong way.
2. Breath: Joseph Pilates advocated using a very full breath in his exercises. He spoke about thinking of the lungs as a bellows, using them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. In Pilates we breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath. Different breath patterns can be used to change the difficulty of an exercise. We never hold the breath in Pilates.
3. Concentration: Each movement has a lot going on. We have to concentrate and keep a part of the brain on the center, a part on the breath and a part on the moving limbs. Without concentration you lose the method and the benefits. Full attention and full commitment to each exercise gives the best results. 
4. Control: We aim to complete every Pilates exercise with complete muscular control. Each part of the body has a role, either to stabilise and remain still or to move with fluidity and precision and it’s all being controlled from the mind using your concentration. 
5. Precision: In Pilates there is an appropriate place, alignment and angle for each part of the body within an exercise. I often give cues encouraging the attention to various areas to help students achieve correct alignment and understand when they may be fatiguing so that precision and therefore benefits are being lost. I call these “ precision markers” If you reach a point where you lose the precision marker cue please stop and rest for a breath or two then rejoin. It’s quality over quantity every time!
6. Flow: Once we have mastered the first 5 principles we aim to flow the movements. This takes great concentration and muscle control as well as strength and flexibility to achieve. Flow is our goal for each movement and may not be achieved in your early sessions as it takes time to master the other 5 principles which underpin it. 

I hope you found this a useful recap of the Pilates principles. There is a lot to take in and I do tend to talk for the entire hour (!!!), so to have some of it here in black and white to refer to is hopefully a useful tool. 

Below – the man himself, Joseph Pilates, performing the full advanced version of “scissors”. We did this exercise today but modified with leg position and also use of the Pilates ball to give us a little assistance. All classes are planned to give exercises from beginner to advanced to ensure everyone can participate and everyone is challenged. 

Have a great week

Is eating chocolate ever a good thing?

Absolutely! But make it the right sort and in the right quantity and you can be smug that you are actually doing your body a favour while enjoying a treat. 

Dark chocolate with minimum 70% cacao solids is the stuff to go for. 

A mini 15g bar ( see pic) is perfect after dinner treat. 

Dark good quality chocolate contains flavanols which may help lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.

It’s also a source of iron, magnesium and zinc which support many functions in the body including the immune system, muscle and nerve function and energy levels. 

Too much of anything is not good so keep it to two squares or mini bar as seen in the pic and you will be getting a nutrient boost while not over dosing on saturated fat and calories. Enjoy!

Food switch of the week – Sweet Potatoes!

Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes…

Rich in fibre they help lower bad cholesterol, Rich in vitamin A they support the immune system 
Rich in manganese they support blood sugar regulation
A source of calcium, magnesium and potassium to support muscle function. 

All round packed with loads of good stuff

Eat them roasted whole with small amount of butter and seasoning (not margarine under any circumstances!!) add tuna or chicken with mixed salad for a tasty, easy, nutritious lunch

Or, cube them with cubed celeriac, cubed butternut squash and roast with a little coconut oil ( stable at high temperatures) and have with fish and steamed broccoli and kale for an easy nutritious dinner

April – July 2019 Classes

Classes starting 29th/30th April 2019 – limited spaces available!

Would you like to be stronger?, more flexible?, more toned? Would you like to reduce lower back pain? Shoulder and neck pain?

Would you like to be taught in a small exclusive group where you receive lots of individual attention to ensure you perform the exercises correctly?

Then, please come along to one on my Pilates classes.

I am qualified in Pilates, Yoga, and I am an advanced Personal Trainer with a lot of equipment to keep sessions interesting and fun. I use my knowledge of bio-mechanics, advanced stretch, postural analysis and myofascial release techniques along with the yoga and Pilates exercises to give a targeted approach to improved posture, flexibility and strength

Classes take place in my beautiful airy studio with vaulted ceiling and weather permitting we take it outside onto the terrace.

Please see my ad below and take a look at the testimonials page.

I look forward to hearing from you!