Thursday, 25 March 2010

Awareness....why dont we have it??

This is my big question of the day...I'm watching a programme on channel 4 and have just seen the tightest shoulders...everytime I see something like that I want to reach into the TV and grab the them their posture in a mirror..have you seen your back? do you ever look at yourself , naked or clothed, Im not fussy!
I makes me wonder if you know more about the swirls in your fingertips, they are about much of a mystery as your spine, why is that?  I'm sure you care about yourself or you wouldn't wash or have your haircut every now and does the awareness of yourself stop at your face and hair, maybe hands/feet if you like nail varnish or moisturise them
This awareness , Ive noticed, takes a while to filter through, it took me a while too.  Hair looks nice, face look nice, back looks awful!

Not everyone says "Hi how are you, have you noticed that bump in your right shoulder?"  - and before you think, well, how rude! I don't say it straight away, but in a private session I will, in front of a mirror, ask them what they see, and show them what I see...hard to do in a class situation, taking photos or a video of them moving is a great help, as what you think you are doing and what you are really doing is usually very different..isnt that what you are paying your Pilates Teacher for, isnt that why you are here? we dont want you to waste your time or money, we want you to see the results you want to see.

So what can i say...well, BBC Breakfast TV..the chap called Simon who stands usually to chat about the Business news..his hunched shoulders and forward head drives me nuts, I look at him and want to grab his shoulders and want to give him the gift of Pilates to get him on the road to better shoulders,less headaches, less backache, less neck pain, stronger muscles, he will be working his deep ab muscles or his Pelvic Floor his sex life will be boosted too and when he gets older and older, he wont be a hunched over old man, but a sprightly skipping light stepping stronger happy chap who can hold his own head up and has strong pelvic floor muscles, carry heavy supermarket bags and not fall over as his balance will be excellant too!! 

My rant over for the day...I'm off to stretch my shoulders..

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Release & Relax..get some balls..

Balls - green ones and blue a mini roller - part of a goody bag from APPI who hosted an Eric Franklin               workshop over a weekend in London - I have wanted a pair of green balls for a while (stop sniggering you!)  now I have them and am using them on myself and on private clients, they are about 10cm in diameter, and are great for relaxing and releasing tension anywhere in the body, soooooo effective!

They are just lovely when placed under the feet and you rock back and forth on them, and even more divine when placed under the shoulders and you sink back into them..they are around £10/£15 a pair, not cheap, but worth every penny.
I bought some tennis balls for class to create a similar effect, and will use them in an effective stretch and relax class over the easter holidays.. OK... so not as luxurious as the emerald green balls, but getting there!

Eric has published a few books on his method , they all make very interesting reading, he knows so much about the body and how it works, if you get a chance to attend a workshop..GO..he has been teaching for many years and will be retiring soon, but has many teachers trained in the method to carry it on.
He also runs Franklin Method teacher training courses, and theres one planned for 2011 in the UK.
I gave my clients a spikey massage ball for christmas..these are also great to rest and roll feet on to break down the tight fascia in the feet, releasing tension, relaxing the legs and hips, also under the shoulders and down the arm, great if you sit at a computer for hours on end or sit at the wheel of a car most days..get relaxing & wont regret it!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cowboys & Angels

Have you ever sold a house?  how did you choose your estate agent..theres so many to choose from! They all advertise in the same place..high street presence with a window display, local paper and websites, their own websites and websites like or who have loads of agents all under one roof to save you the bother of searching.
How do you ever choose the right one? Theres the posh ones who wont look at a property under £200k, and theres the middle grounders who will take on anything, and sometimes have a posh property section, sometimes in a totally different office, or did you choose a Cowboy?
I used to be in the property business, but in the Letting department ..offering the same as many other agents, we usually took on the property by personality, the owner signed us up because they liked us, we were friendly, open, caring, found common ground and even though we were a little bit more expensive than a few of the competition, there were those charging more than how did we build up a database of propertied..personality and knowing our stuff..

So how do you choose a Pilates Instructor, pretty much the same way? Personality? Experience?
Every teacher is different, Ive met a few through either taking part in their classes or meeting them at training courses..when I took the practical of my final exam, I was a guinea pig for a day and was amazed at how many styles of teaching I saw, some I couldnt wait to get out of the room and some engaged me from the very start, and wished I could do their class every week, yet we all teach the same thing and our goal for you is the understand the method and the work of Joseph Pilates and to see improvements in your body..not just a flat stomach..but as you understand it more, you will see that you achieve pain free and stronger shoulders..stronger and more balanced muscles in your legs..its a full body head to toe workout programme..and its as hard as you want it to be..ok so we dont jump about the room so you cannot class it as a cardio workout (until you get on some of the equipment and do a tough routine..& a tough mat routine will make you sweat)  but you become aware that your shoulders may be tight( and you never knew it!), your hamstrings will be tight and your quads weaker, your feet will be a revelation as to how you use them and the precision in each move is highlighted..the awareness of your body is enlightening..inside out..
The work is endless, and a joy..each class you learn something new, discover muscles you never knew you had or a new move you werent aware of..taking Reformer work to the mat..using a Pilates Circle, Ball, weights, bands, foam roller..its fun as well as an education!
Good luck in choosing your teacher and long may you have a great working relationship with them!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Hows your Butt looking? (or whatever name you have for it!)

Last night..I was awake for a while thinking about Pilates..sad eh?? thought of great idea for a blog and now Ive forgotten it..must write these thoughts down when i get my bed is against a wall, the wall will be covered in words the next morning..
So Im just going to tap out words and see what happens....eureka!! now Ive was about Bottoms, Butts, Behinds, Arses..whatever you call them!
I attended Pilates classes for a couple of years, and one morning, after a shower, I caught a glimpse of my backside in the mirror and wondered why it was heading South and not looking too good, then had a look at my belly and wondered the same, if i was doing Pilates and these "core" moves, why wasnt it working after all this time? I was holding everything  tight at 80% plus as I was whats the issue? I wasnt lazy, I was at class twice a week and doing cardio on top of that..
Like most people, I carried on, forgot about it, until the next time, and the next time..and I didnt do anything about you think we, as human beings, are just lazy until we really push ourselves..? something happens to make us change our ways..?
Day One of my Pilates Teacher Training with The Pilates Institute in London was an amazing Light Bulb moment..I got it straight was everything I wanted and more, it delivered and answered my questions..everything I didnt get from the past 2 years, but I didnt know that until now..its a bit like going upstairs to get something, getting there & forgetting what it was you wanted, and going all the way back down to try to remember what it was..then going back upstairs again hoping you dont forget!

Anyway, not wishing to annoy or undermine the teacher of the large studio class (20 plus clients..never knowing who is in the room or what their background is in fitness , health..etc)  we all have different teaching styles & life would be dull if we were all the same, & a gym style class will always be different..the choice is yours as they say, maybe until you have that light bulb moment or look in the mirror and wonder why your butt and/or tum is looking a bit South facing..why your shoulder pain hasnt gone, why your knees hurt, why you keep getting sciatica, why your hamstrings are still tight? I take that Eureka feeling and hopefully translate it to all my clients in all my classes, so they get "it" body shape changed in a matter of months..more than it ever did in the last 2 years when all I saw was a droopy arse and abs (bit too graphic? sorry!) why we do what we do, how it works, how it makes you stronger, why sitting at a desk for 4 - 8 hours a day will make your back hurt and shoulders/neck ache if you arent aware of your posture, posture type, how to correct it, just by a bit of tweaking & knowledge of the deep stabilising muscles we are aiming for..its easy but at the same time its hard..if youve been to one of my classes you will understand what I mean by that, if you haven't then you wont, so see you soon then for the answer..
got a car? ever had to take it to the garage for an MOT , did they tweak it to make it run smoother..your body is the same..spend money on the car to make it run better..spend it on your body to do the in the words of a well known Supermarket(but changing the first word..)...learn something new today