Day 12: The #swandive is one of my favorite Pilates exercises, because it's a full-body movement ...you feel everything working! It strengthens the back extensors, hamstrings and glutes. It's also stretches the chest, abs and hip flexors.  #swandive #PilatesLife #Marchmatness2016




    Day 11: The #saw stretches the back, especially the quadratus lumborum. This wonderful exercise trains proper spinal rotation ...an important movement for the spine. #saw  #stretch #quadratuslumborum  #LuLulemon #PilatesLife #Marchmatness2016

    • Contraindications: herniated discs and other disc dysfunction, osteoporosis of the spine.



    Day 9: The #openlegrocker teaches balance, control and stretches the spine and hamstrings.  Straighten legs upward ...making a "V" shape and finding your balance. Then, with lower abs scooped ...roll back and return to starting position. #openlegrocker #balance  #PilatesLife #Marchmatness2016


    Celebrating The Double Leg Stretch! 

    Day 7: The Double Leg Stretch strengthens the abdominals and hip flexors as well as the deep neck flexors. The #doublelegstretch demands extreme core strength and coordination.  When the arms and legs are stretch out in opposition ...weakness is revealed in the abdominals. #doublelegstretch #extremecore #PilatesLife #Marchmatness2016



    Day 5: : THE ROLLBACK is very challenging ...you may find yourself using your shoulders and/or neck. The #rollback helps gain spinal articulation as well as balance, coordination and abdominal strength. Remember this is an abdominal scooping exercise so, no collapsing into your body. You want to lift and pull back the abdominal muscles as you #rollback, maintaing your ball shape, while lengthening curve of the spine as you roll back off the sit bones. 


    Celebrating Single Leg Circle!

    Day 4: The Single Leg Circle is great because it teaches differentiation of the femur from the pelvis as well as torso stabilization. It works the abs especially the obliques which help to stabilize the torso and the pelvis. #singlelegcircle #torsostbilization #pelvisstabilization #marchmatness2016

    Adapting Pilates Principles to Everyday Life

    The 6 Pilates Principles are in place to guide the student through a Pilates workout in the most effective way. The hope is that the exercises are done in a manner that will allow the student to carry these principles off the mat. But why can’t this also work in reverse? 

    Whether you’ve never done Pilates before or you’ve had trouble applying these concepts to your practice, let’s think of them in more relatable terms—your everyday life.

    Breath & Centering                                                                    

    Breath is used in Pilates to send oxygen to your working muscles and to engage the core, but on a more basic level breathing is, of course, essential for life. It’s one of the things we’re born knowing how to do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to do it correctly. Respiration is an automatic cycle, but think of the involuntary ways your body tells you to focus on your breath more—yawns, sighs, lip trills, humphs. The list goes on. Even in a non-aerobic state, your body needs deep inhalation to send oxygen to every cell and then deep exhalation to release toxins. Start your morning with some deep breathing in bed, take a deep breath break at your work desk, or have a side “deep breath” while you’re cooking dinner. Close your eyes when you do so, and your mind will feel more centered and grounded. All your little cells with thank you, and you’ll be pleased that you took a few moments during the day to just breath.

    Concentration & Precision                                                                 

    In Pilates, concentration is used to give full attention to your muscles while they perform the technique of the exercise at hand; it is in place to rid your self of distractions. When you give your real world tasks and activities your full concentration they will be accomplished with more efficiency and precision, leaving your To Do list smaller and smaller. This can mean simply turning off your phone or logging off a social media site, and the items you check off your list will be done to the best of your ability. This principle is true for your relationships, too. Don’t be afraid to tell a friend or co-worker, “I’m busy right this moment, but I can give you my full attention in a moment.” When the time comes for you to interact, they’ll be thankful to have you fully present and engaged, and you will carry out what is asked of you to a tee.

    Control & Fluidity                                                                             

    No body likes a control freak, so think of applying this principle only to your self. Just as control is used in Pilates to find stability that then allows another part of the body full mobility, the same is true for your life. If your personal life at home is organized and under control you’ll have more freedom to do you what you want in your free time. You’ll be able to flow from one part of your day to the next with ease knowing that you have a strong foundation to stand on. Finding the time to control the constant aspects of life like work, money, personal care and home upkeep can actually allow for more spontaneity and fun!


    Celebrating The Hundred!

    March Matness is an annual globle awarness campaign to promote the Pilates Mat work. Each day during the month of March I'll be sharing one Mat exercises via my blog. 

    You will want to play along and I challenge you to do a bit of MAT everyday. You might start a very GOOD habit. 

    Day 1: Do The Hundred and feel vigorous.  #thehundred #vigorous #marchmatness2016

    #hundred #vigorous #marchmatness2016

    #hundred #vigorous #marchmatness2016

    One Pilates Move for your Plantar Fasciitis

    It is possible to alleviate your chronic or acute heel pain with a single Pilates move.

    If you are one of the millions of individuals who suffer with Plantar Fasciitis you know how debilitating it can be. Working out, everyday walking and even sleeping can be excruciating depending upon the severity of your condition.  Thankfully there are particular foot exercises that can help reduce your symptoms and potentially set you on the path to recovery. 

    First, a little background. Plantar Fasciitis happens to nearly 10% of the population and occurs for a number of reasons. The most common is the loss of structure in the arch or dome of your foot. Think of it as an archery bow.The bones of the foot are the upper part of your foot and the strings are the fascia and tissues that span one end of the bow to the other.

    If the bow gets weak and stretches out, the strings get pulled tauter and tighter even tearing.  So it is with your feet. As the bony structure loses integrity through wear and tear and age, the fascia on the underside of the foot gets increasingly pulled and stretched beyond its capacity. Ouch.  You limp. Repeatedly. This has a ripple effect causing other muscles to behave in unaccustomed ways and now you’ve got additional issues to contend with. The cycle is a tough one to break. What we need is a way to put all those bones that make the arch of your foot back to where they started and restore the original pain free formation.

    Enter, the Pilates foot exercise known to instructors as the "Towel Exercise".

    Grab a sock or a hand towel.  Remove your own socks for this. No pedicure? Don’t worry – this will be quick.

    STEP 1

    Sit up tall at the edge of a chair or your bed or even your couch. It doesn’t matter where as long as you can get some weight onto the affected foot.  Slip one end of the the towel or sock under the front of your foot extending it lengthwise directly out in front of your toes.

    Begin by picking up you forefoot leaving your heel fixed to the floor. Spread your toes wide. Lower the front of the foot back onto the towel and curl your toes grabbing the towel and curling it towards you. If you did this right the towel will have moved in towards you just a little bit crumpling up along its way. Repeat the move exaggerating the action of the toes and working to steadily move the towel in closer and closer. It may bunch up under your arch. That's ok, just keep going. Once you get to the end of the towel stop. Spread it out and begin all over again.


    If possible, rather than stretching out the towel to begin again, reverse the entire motion. This means you have to pick up the towel with your toes and push it out bit by bit. Once you master Step 1, try to incorporate this next step.


    • Begin with 10 - 15 reps. Work your way up to 20 - 30 reps.
    • Check out this short video as an example and see image below.
    • It's normal for your foot to become to tired to continue, take a break. Resume after a minute rest.
    • Consistency is key. Do your best to practice this move 3 times per day.
    • If you can't keep a towel handy during your workday, simply use your own sock or spend a few bucks on an exercise band. 
    • Be mindful of the floor – avoid splinters. Choose a smooth wood or tile floor. Carpet can be challenging. You can also perform this in standing. 
    • Should your condition continue to worsen, seek the advice of a trusted medical professional.


    Are you sick or feel like you are coming down with something? Try this natural remedy that Works for KNOCKING out ANY COLD

    RAW HONEY: 2 tablespoons
    CAYENNE: 1 teaspoon
    BOILING WATER: 1 cup

    Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup, stir well and pour into your favorite coffee mug. Top off with a squeeze of lemon. Drink up and get some relief.

    The cold and flu season bugs and infections are creeping up all over the place. With one inhale of this warming pungent drink, you'll be able to breathe through your nose and feel less cloudy in your head.

    This concoction will soothe your symptoms with cayenne's anti-inflammatory powers, but the apple cider vinegar boosts your immune system and energy levels to help you heal. Raw honey's antioxidant, antiviral, and antibacterial is an excellent source to treat respiratory conditions or skin wounds.

    This strange and spicy brew works! Drink 1-3x day for a week.

    Less is more

    What happens when you swap HIIT classes for pilates

    11th Feb 2016



    Learn to slow down.

    As a self-confessed HIIT, or high intensity interval training, addict (I go to classes daily), I admit that going to regular pilates classes came as a shock to the system. My idea of exercise is high intensity interval training that gets my heart pumping in a very short space of time: picture '30 second waves of intensity' and you're on the right track. It’s only on my off days that you'll find me doing some simple yoga poses to stretch and condition my fatigued muscles. 

    When I took the first Pilates class, I realized that my core hadn’t been benefiting from my pre-existing routine. On occasion, I had walked past a pilates machine (that scary piece of equipment that resembles a turn-of-the-century torture chamber) skeptical about its effectiveness but never bothering to try it out - until just recently that is.

    On the fateful day of my first Pilates class I walked into the room carrying an invisible copy of Pilates for Dummies. That’s how foreign it felt, but I kept an open mind for the sake of being the fittest I possibly could. 

    So, what did I learn? Exactly the opposite of what HIIT had taught me: slow down. I also had to take note of the fine adjustments required to activate the muscle groups I honestly never knew I had.

    My muscles were missing out on a serious party; I'd been craving deep tissue conditioning and I could feel my body celebrating upon that discovery.

    Like the pre-pilates me you might be intimidated by Pilates equipment too, but I assure you: it's not as scary as you think. Things like pivoting your pelvis to work the inner core and concentrating on technique rather than speed during a workout can have benefits on day-to-day life, too. Pilates is so functional – you’ll notice a positive difference in the way you sit, walk, stand and feel. 

    Perhaps this was my cue to reconsider how I approach the other routines I’ve attached myself to in life? When it comes to exercise, diversity is what gets results.

    This is a blog by Lauren Yates of Ponytail Journal.

    Standing Arm Springs

    Grab your Arm Springs, you're in for a real treat! This advanced arm series will challenge and delight you in a way you never felt before. You can use a Cadillac, Tower, Guillotine or anything you can attach your Arm Springs to for this challenging and fun class. These standing exercises were designed for men to strengthen the upper body, but they can be done by anyone who wants to avoid kyphosis, breathe better, and stand taller.

    Top 10 Pilates Tips

    1. Keep your abdominals engaged. It sounds simple, but many people forget this basic fundamental of Pilates. Having your core pulled “in and up” while performing the exercises ensures you are getting the most benefit.

    2. Create length. Whether on the mat or utilizing springs, reach away from the body. Try to imagine drawing your shoulder blades down your back and when reaching your legs away...think of reaching out of your waistline as you perform the exercises. Elongation of the muscles helps create the unique Pilates body that the Method is so famous for.

    3. Keep your shoulders down. What good is strong core if your shoulders are up by your ears? The shoulder girdle is the secondary “powerhouse” and as such, is a vital part of your body and practice. Try to be conscious of them rising.

    4. Breathe. Don’t worry so much about inhaling and exhaling on cue, as much as just breathing. Many people hold their breath while exercising, which inhibits movement and actually makes any exercise harder.

    5. Alignment. Be aware of the negative space around you, whether on the mat or reformer. Center yourself so that there is equal distance on either side of you. Symmetry is crucial to creating a balanced body.

    6. Lift your head. With all these mobile devices more and more people are developing “forward head syndrome” from constantly looking down.  Create better posture by keeping your head up and chest lifted.

    7. Use the mirror. The mirror is a tool. Use it. Are you rotated to one side? How’s that alignment? You can learn a lot about your body just by watching your movements. 

    8. Mix it up. Often people ask, what’s harder, apparatus or mat? The truth is they’re BOTH hard. Moving your own body weight around can be very challenging. Same with the springs. If you only do mat, take a few tower classes or vice versa. You’ll be amazed at how different each varies from the other.

    9. Be consistent: As with anything, the more dedicated you are to your practice the more visible the results. Make an appointment with yourself to schedule in your sessions and then keep it! Consistency is the key to change!

    And finally….

    10. Respect your body: Every day is different. You may be on fire one day and tired the next. That’s ok. It’s not a competition. Do what you can and congratulate yourself for trying. If you’ve set foot in the studio, you’ve already won.