As Classical Pilates’ students (and that includes Pilates’ teachers) the choices between doing private sessions versus group classes is a frequent topic. In order to make a good decision on which path is for you it’s interesting to think through various reasons why you might choose one or the other or possibly both. This is not a commentary of which is “better” but knowing your own personal goals can assist in the decision process. Vital to the process on privates vs. group classes is your overarching objective. This could range from just love a good workout to training to become a Pilates’ teacher. Whatever your goal, make sure the type of sessions support your efforts. Private lessons If you are taking the time to read this blog you are probably already invested in Pilates’ training. In this case your goal could be that of a becoming a dedicated student of the classical method. If that is true you might want to invest in private instruction at some point. This is how the method was intended and how you will be exposed to the totality of the Classical Method. If you are new to Pilates, private sessions
Sticking to the Routine Part 2 Food In my previous post I looked at some common sense thinking on how to stick to your exercise routine. I’ve also explored the topic of food numerous times in food for performance, food philosophy and what do you eat. Here I want to focus on simple tools to assist you in sticking with your food routine. #1 Make it fun #2 Plan out your week #3 Cook real food #4 Prioritize health not diet Fun The fun factor needs a YUGE comeback when it comes to food. So much of the conversation is bogged down in calories, salt and “don’t eat this” mentality that one can feel consistently beat up. Eating should not be a science experiment but a pleasurable and thankful event. Whether you are single or live in a family setting using seasonal ingredients promotes change and variety. Getting out and being charmed by your local farmer’s market helps connect you to your food sources. Sharing recipes with friends and trying out a new combination of foods from other cultures can spice up the atmosphere. There are numerous ways to bring in the
Sticking to the Routine Part 1 Exercise In an age of constant distractions how does one stay on track with an exercise routine? I’m not talking about competitive sports or athletics, I mean how can you find regular normal exercise practices that you can commit to without constantly being pulled off course? There is without a doubt, ongoing distractions from every corner imaginable. Whether we talk about technological devices to work pressures to family obligations, they all have the capability to pull a person off a desired route. I understand, appreciate and empathize. I also think it’s possible to guard yourself and be more prepared to handle diversions. Let’s look first at exercise and in a follow-up post will tackle food routines. Understanding that total health is a complex adventure with social, mental and community determinants playing integral roles. In my mind two key components can assist one in sticking to your exercise routines. Set realistic expectations Place maintenance above medals Be realistic I see many individuals get pulled off their exercise routines because they either didn’t lose the weight they expected or the progress did not go at the rate they
Classical Pilates is a Method of exercise designed by Joseph Pilates. It has endured the test of time via translation from teacher to student over many decades. While any movement program will be subject to the quality of knowledge and understanding of the original material by the earliest adopters the fact that it is still instructed today speaks volumes for the method. There are certain elements that have assisted the “staying” power of Classical Pilates. Written materials, archival photos and film footage are available for viewing. However, in my opinion the real strength lies in the deep understanding of the work from those who studied with pioneers like Romana Kryzanowska. While everything in the Pilates world can be debated, Romana remains the one person hand-picked by Joseph Pilates himself to teach the method. Thus, the devotees/students of Romana have a special insight into as close to the source one can be. I am not implying that other Pilates’ elders such as Kathie Grant, Lolita San Miguel, Carola Trier, and Jay Grimes are not wonderful teachers, they are truly special. It’s more to recognize that Mr. Pilates saw something in Romana to inspire her carrying on the legacy.
The author of Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell is coined with the phrase it takes 10,000 hours to become good at something. While I think it is really hard to put a singular number on acquiring a talent or skill, let’s think about it from a Pilates’ perspective. 10,000 divided by a realistic number of hours one could practice a week. Just for our purposes let’s say you’re an apprentice in a teacher training program and enthusiastic. You plan to commit 10 hours a week. 10 hours X 52 weeks in a year = 520 hours a year. 10,0000 ÷ 520 hours = 19. 23 years! So yes ladies and gentlemen close to 20 years if you’re working at that pace. Or what about just an average student who commits to 2 sessions a week? The math is 2 X 52 = 104. 10,000 ÷ 104 = 96 years! Seriously though, it’s good to keep things in perspective when trying to master a new skill. Think about how much practice is needed to play the guitar, learn a foreign language or even drive a car. Although out here in California one wonders if anyone even practiced driving
Exercise for exercise NOT to lose weight If you don’t enjoy what you do, why do it? If you don’t like to exercise, maybe there’s something skewed about your aim for exercise. One reason I feel interest in exercise often diminishes is the overwhelming pressure to lose weight. When it doesn’t happen the desire for exercise fades away. Whether it is lack of pleasure or obsession about weight loss let’s try to reframe the picture. Finding a reason to exercise beyond losing weight is a great liberator. It opens up new doors and allows you the freedom to do what makes you feel good. It might involve changing the type of exercise you do, finding a new instructor and or simply thinking different. In order to get beyond exercising for weight loss one needs a new motive. Here’s a short list of potential reasons to exercise: Energy and moral booster Stress reliever Mental distraction from life challenges Promotes regular sleep patterns Feel inspired by the physical and mental challenges Enhances breathing which aids with stress levels Preserves and maintains the health of muscles and bones Enhances overall body mobility My own personal favorite not listed
I recently had an interesting exchange with Kei Murauchi, a Japanese artist on a posting of his on CreativeRoom4Talk. He shared his “traditional Japanese concept” on maximizing creativity and productivity. Our interaction follows a brief description of the concept. Immediately after reading Kei’s post I found myself relating the concepts to the development of Pilates’ teachers as well as devoted practitioners. Kei explains three main stages of arriving at peak performance with the Japanese translation. Shu (protect) Ha (detach) Ri (leave) In this first stage, Shu of maximizing creativity and performance a student needs to: Learn basic theories, principles and techniques about what you would love to master Apply them to your own reality Experience the following 3 phases, (a) to understand them, (b) to master them, and (c) to get expected results From a Pilates’ teacher’s perspective appreciating the development of one’s creativity, as a teacher demands time for all the above phases. Moreover that is just the beginning of the learning process. This thinking also applies to students of the Classical Pilates’ Method. The growth of a Pilates’ practice at any level entails developmental stages that require hours of consistent practice
Workshops provide loads of inspiration and food for thought. The real work, from a teacher’s perspective, comes in bringing concepts to reality. Quoting a fellow friend and colleague Frank Zito, “If I come away with one new idea from a workshop it’s a success.” I like that kind of thinking! Recently our studio hosted Benjamin Degenhardt for Advanced Mat class and Upright Pilates training for teachers. While I had many new thoughts after the workshop, I want to highlight one in particular. Quality of movement and how vital that is in the role of a moving body. We live in an age of obsessive numbers and competitive records. This data compulsion is all around us, from market and financial statistics to BMI and weight measurements to percentages of ingredients and calories in food. The list is endless. It’s also prominent in the exercise and fitness sector. Think how much can you bench press, how many Olympic snatches can you do in a minute or how long can you hold a plank pose? In the grand scheme of everyday life do you think those numbers will help you move around your home or office efficiently?
Often when the word investment pops up the mind immediately jumps to finances or retirement. What about the investment in our physical body? That might even be more important in terms of our freedom later in life than all the savings and money market accounts combined. Especially when the economic bubble bursts again. But what does that actually mean a physical investment? Having spent a lifetime in a profession that demands a physical body, professional dance, that investment is everything. Now as a Pilates’ studio owner and devoted practitioner I still believe it’s a worthy asset. Why is it important? We live in a nation surrounded by quick fixes, newest and greatest fads all engulfed in a boot-camp mentality. Thousands maybe even millions of individuals believe it is possible to change one’s body in an instant. We have pills, magic potions and other snake-oil concoctions for sale everywhere. All of this fuels a mindset that you can trash your body today but wake-up tomorrow exercise like crazy and all is forgiven. While it might be possible for a teenager or someone in their early 20’s to manage this once in awhile, there comes a
As a nation we seem to have truly mastered the art of bending forward. We’ve even created special names for varying parts of this bending; text neck, chicken neck, slumped shoulders and banana spine, just to name a few. All of which in essence demonstrate poor posture and lack of spinal integrity. Think about the number of times one bends forward during an average day. Place this number next to the number of times the spine moves backward and sideways. Obviously the scale tips heavy in the forward direction. This relates primarily to the general structure of the body and the utilization of our arms, legs and visual requirements within the frontal plane of the body. However, you might say if all we’re doing is forward motion that’s all we should worry about? Follow that philosophy and you’ll be walking with a walker heading downhill in no time. True, we do bend forward a great deal, but does your spine have the strength to support that? Do you provide it with additional movements that enhance the full integrity of the spine? Movements such as side-bending, rotation, tilting and back bending are vital to spinal health.