Saturday, 19 September 2009

Springs & Resistance

Welcome to the Reformer...this is another Joseph Pilates works with springs as resistance, you add them and remove them depending on which part of the body you are using or which Level of Pilates you are currently experiencing..or if you have a hangover and wish to take it easy today..

These are great bits of kit, theres so many moves from the Mat you can adapt for the Reformer, but the Mat is the place to start so you get used to the terminology...Neutral Spine, Lateral Thoracic Breathing, Powerhouse - what it is, where it is and how to use and activate it, strength..know your posture type, know your muscles..

If you know someone with a Reformer see if you can have a demo, and see what the benefits are. They arent cheap though, and you need a big room to put them in!
Ive got a cheaper end model which is OK, it compliments the Matwork, introduces you to leg work you can transfer to the matwork too.
No Reformer?? No Room? doesn't matter...get on the Mat..perfect your pilates routine, get stronger, aim to do the Teaser without any struggle and whilst breathing fluidly without tension, that should take you a while..get a Pilates Circle and a band to work with resistance..the Circle was created by JP as well for a good resistance workout on the Mat

I had a chat with someone yesterday who saw a Reformer on QVC and wishes to buy it...great!!!....but do some Mat classes first to introduce you to the Pilates world, as this isn't just another fad or exercise machine like a Treadmill or exercise bike..this should be used as often as possible and correctly, in Neutral Spine, with stability in your pelvis, activating your centre..your TA..if you dont know what the heck I'm going on about, check out a well trained pilates teacher for the answers..then get a Reformer or you may find it gets used as a clothes horse..just like your old exercise bike you sold on ebay...

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Stuff about stuff

New love?? The sea and the sand....I dont like the depth of the sea but Im ok in the shallow bit...its powerful and can sweep you away in a second (sounds quite romantic.. if it was a bloke!!)
maybe its my age and experience that makes me more wary of the dangers (again...sounds like a relationship thing going on here! though not so sure how the word "experience" makes me sound..)

Love the wetsuit, love the body board, though I think I will be a fair weather surfer chick, not up for a surf in the rain, unless its with a gorgeous chap in the warm rain of somewhere rather nice...cant see that happening in Cornwall, although its somewhere nice, when it rains it usually cold and miserable, though I'm willing to be persuaded! Maybe...

Love spending time on the beach with Jo and Sally-ann, and their hubbies, Paul & Mike...missing Phill & Jamie, I think I more or less invited myself to the beach fun, but was made to feel very welcome ..thanks guys! Roll on next Summer!!!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Reading lots of big words..

I love reading, recently its all been books on Pilates, I counted them the other day...I now have 33 of them... ranging from stretching books to standing pilates, Pilates for older people to Imagery for alignment...if you want to borrow a book just ask! I am the Pilates Library of Portreath..

Today, Im re-reading Stuart McGills Lower back Disroders, this is a great book..I bought it when I first started on the Level 3 anatomy exams and wanted to know more, I came across Stuart McGill through the internet , hes American , is extermely experienced and knowledgable on the body specialising in the lower back, movement and rehab exercises. What I love about his attitude is that hes open minded but he has his own lab where he experiments his theories on actual people, his facts are scientifically backed with real evidence, so it works..
Prevention is better than cure (so find out more about your body, your stabilising muscle for your Pelvis, your Transversus..get stronger!) But if all you have left is cure to look forward for...then surely going for cure the right way with specific correct precise exercises is the way forward..? Big pat on the back to those who have already been practicing Pilates, big WHY NOT to those who havent..
I'm on page 207 of 273, got a bit more to get through yet ..!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

The Sea & Me

I dont have a great relationship with water...& being a Pisces you would think that was a bit weird as we are supposed to LOVE the sea being the sign of the fishes if you believe all that stuff...having nearly drowned as a kid on Brighton beach under the Pier, I've hated water ever since, but I managed to pass my 10 meters at school..just..but I dont like going under the water...even in the shower..the fear of drowning.! (in a shower?! are you mad flower?...well...yes..)

So it took a lot of courage to get in the water with Jo & co this week, but so glad I did, I think it was hearing about Jo beating her water fear and going in the sea, it helped me to do the same.
We all went again today! The sun was out all morning until we got to the beach, then the clouds rushed over to greet us, buggers..

But we had a great time anyway, Phil & Jamie hired proper boards and did some standing balancing acts ...I was very impressed ....these two are great fun, shame they don't live down here!
Sally-ann & Mike were just zooming along, they were going so fast, Mike was steering with his board...hes just asking for a speeding ticket!
Jo had her new rash vest on, as did I and new shoes..lilac!! thanks Jo!!
Cant wait for next time, almost annoyed I cant go on Monday, but Tuesday is looking VERY likely, just before Body Combat!

Friday, 4 September 2009

My Book

Ive had a little idea...trouble is seeing it Im starting with determination..being positive and all that idea?? Im going to write a kids book....
Dont laugh!! I heard you...When I was 18 I went to Nursey Training College in Eastbourne, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up (still dont) and as my older and wiser sister went to college to train as a Nursery Nurse, it seemed the path to follow, plus I think mum wanted me to get out of the house after secondary school and do something with my life...fair of the projects we had to do was to write & illustrate a kids book, I did mine on a little girls imaginary friend , having read a kids book by Nanette Newman on a similar storyline..funny what you remember isnt it?

Can I just say..I LOVE kids books, take me to Waterstones and I will be lost in the kids section for ages, I adore the illustration in some of the books, they are gorgeous, and some of the books are hilarious,my fave a couple of years ago was about a Mole who had a poo on his head as an animal had dumped on him as he came out of the ground..and he had to find out who it was so he investigated all the different looking poo's from Cows to Goats...loved it! Can you see how it appealed to my sense of humour? I also love reading books like this to kids, when I worked in a Creche in London (ages ago!!) my fave time of day was storytime at the end...hilarious..their faces are a treat to watch as their eyes widen as they listen more it..

This is the mole book ..I bought quite a few copies and gave them as xmas pressies to family & friends...& they still speak to me to this day...I also love Charlie & Lola!  ...they bought out a song..The Bestest in the Barn..I downloaded it to my i-pod and I play it when Im sitting at the airport waiting for the flight to Gatwick when off to London for the next part of the Pilates makes me smile!
Anyway, my idea.. I think I should keep it quiet, I did write it down as a comment on a friends blog, which Ive now deleted in case the idea gets STOLEN!! My inspiration I should also keep quiet as he may be offended, dont think he will be but dont want to push it, not that its based on him but it helped the idea form in my head...and hes not getting any royalties! (maybe a Pint & a Pasty next time I see him as a thank you then..)
So Im going to find the time (ha!!) in between teaching Pilates, practicing Pilates, doing Pilates lesson plans, accounts, ancestry stuff ...usual cooking/cleaning/housework, feeding chickens and turkeys etc  
I know how I want the book to look and the way I want it told, but figured if Katie Price can do it then why can't I??  Ah yes, I need enough cash to pay someone to write it for me...Im doomed then!! maybe they will do it in exchange for a Turkey?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


I love it...whats your favourite and effective image you have in your head when you are relaxing in class at the end..or what helps you to relax???

Golf..getting small white balls in a hole whilst walking around a lot....

Golf is hard work, its physically demanding & strenuous, you need balance, you need control & focus on your game, you walk a lot so you need to have endurance and want to play your best and avoid injury above all.. Pilates for Golf...yep, theres a Pilates for everything, but this got me thinking as I looked at Pics on a Blog belonging to a friend of mine - Sally-Ann, who had posted pics of her grandkids and her son, Simon, practicing their Golf Swing... golfers..

 ....they may have poor core strength...that elusive Transversus stabilising muscle, if you have no idea where it is or how to activate it then you probably are unaware of your posture type and muscle imbalance in the body that could be holding you back, maybe you are not very flexible or not very mobile in the spine, stiff knees & want to improve your balance... If its a good day and the grey matters switched on , I can sometimes see what posture type you are fairly quickly, most common is Swayback...but theres also Kyphotic..your thoracic spine may have a  C curve as you address the ball, tucking your bum under, locking out your would love the Swan Dive & Spine Twist, work on extension and strengthen your shoulders too ..this goes for Swayback too..working your back in extension is just the best..Swan Dive when done correctly is just lovely for your back & posture, think how much time in a day you are in Flexion, its not just in your golf game that you flex forward..when you do your shoes up, open car door, shopping, getting dressed, making coffee/tea, reading, eating..on the computer..Swan Dive addresses the imbalance.

Then theres Lordosis, S curve posture,a pronounced curve in the lumber spine, sticking your bottom out, chest thrust further forward...can you see how your posture will affect your swing, and this is where Pilates comes in...correcting the imbalance and strengthening your Transversus will start to bring your pelvis back to where it should be, and whilst that is happening, your hamstring tightness will start to release, your knee pain will  receed as you strengthen and realign your Quadriceps (group of 4 muscles running down front of your leg) your lower back niggles will diminish , shoulder tightness will release as your back becomes stronger
Carrying a heavy bag with clubs in will also affect your posture, neck, back, shoulders. The twist involved in a golf swing affects the spine, particularly an unstable spine, side bending, picking the ball up, walking walking walking, standing still, leaning into your will not be the only one..theres heaps of Pilates moves I could teach you to improve your game..ask me and I will show you, or come to a class..hmm, if it wasnt a slight monsoon outside and I wasnt thinking of building an Ark, I may take a trip to Tehidy Golf Course ...

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Necking..its all in your posture..and your chin..and your job..and and and and..

Your Shoulders & Neck...when you first start Pilates your TA is probably an unknown muscle to you and hasnt had a lot of practice bless it....(bet you know where your 6 pack is though, man or woman, this muscle is plugged and given Nos 1 billing in all the magazines..every bloke want to show off theirs if they can, and work it hard to make it more defined, but doing sit ups only gives you a bad back and neck pain..a tight 6 pack gives you a bad back, so see you at Pilates soon..but I digress as thats yet another subject.....)

Yes...where was I...Neck and Shoulders...After just one class you may not feel like you have relaxed shoulders, but you may be more aware of the muscles in that area and of the tightness you have, & by practing Pilates regularly, your tension will diminish and other muscles that are supposed to be working are strengthened to release your upper back & neck...strengthening your Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) releases Upper and Middle Trapezius tension. Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body...

Daily Neck stretches...easy does it though, (don't force it), help to release tension, stretch every hour if you work at a computer, or have a job that keeps you in an awkward position over the day (there are many...masseurs, chirpodists, doctors, nurses,hairdressers, primary school teachers etc etc)  strengthening weak underused muscles is the place to start & what we are aiming for.  
Forward Head Posture is very common, tuck your chin in, not too much so you lose your chin in your chest, just gently does it...retrain the deep neck flexors..think of your posture often, address it, look at yourself side on in a full length mirror, ear above shoulder? or is it far forward of your shoulder, knees locked, hips thrust forward, bottom tucked under? Not correct posture if youve answered yes..but thats for another day to address... its a big subject..
BUT...heres the crunch (get it?!) doing a class with 8 people in will not do it at first if you have a particular really need to start with a 1:1 or grab a friend and share the cost and do a Duet (a 1:2!) at your house, or come over to mine, or go to a Rehab or Gentle Pilates class(we do these on a Wednesday morning,if you cant make it ask for another class to be set up, we can look into other times!)
You will have time for a chat during the class, specific moves just for you, yes you will have to pay more, but then its always worth it as you get more out of it, you will progress quicker and then can go onto a class situation once you have the basics and know how to move without pain, tension, how to activate your T.A, how to activate your Lats, how to feel the release of tension and focus, concentrate on your shoulders melting down your back towards your Pelvis, release your tight Pec Minor muscles, they are small but do a lot of forward pulling on your shoulders, cheeky things.
Signing off with an image for you...imagine your head on a set of train tracks, move your head forwards on these tracks, your chin will point outwards, now bring your head back on those tracks, in alignment..think of doing this often, as you will forget and the chin will start to edge back out on those tracks again, take it back to the buffers..