I squat, you squat, we squat

I help people get into shape, stronger and leaner. That was my main goal when I set out to be a Pilates teacher. That’s what Pilates did for me, it also helped me get out of pain and therefore move better. (I had a very physically demanding job, that made my “back go out” on multiple occasions).
Teaching for 5+ years now and practicing for close to 8, my goals for myself and my clients have shifted quite a bit. I now strive to create more awareness  and love educate them about the function of this miraculous body of ours and how they can make daily changes to make a positive change.
Dealing with “non movers”, the general population, most of my clients are min 30’s – 50’s and generally healthy, but have desk jobs and move… that one hour (or two) a week that we spend together.
One hour… competing with the poor pasture of 40-60 hours at work, hours on the sofa and possibly even sleeping.

I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else. I thrive off seeing my clients succeed in their Pilates practice. Better bridges, stronger arms, solid planks. (yeah, we plank a lot) The body forgets poor habits and pain if we work it properly, often people don’t even realize how much stronger they got or with how much grace and confidence they start to move. So it’s the little success stories they share, that I get the most kick out of.

One of my clients told me yesterday, “You saved me on my recent trip to Bali”.
First I had no idea what she was talking about. I have never been to this part of the world and was not familiar with life there or with the local hygiene standards in this case.
Long story short, the toilet situation in Bali does not compare to what we are used to in the US or Europe. Many restrooms don’t have toilet seats or toilet bowls at all, they are holes in the ground. Now how do you go when you have to go ???

You have to squat! A movement that rarely happens in modern society any more, unless you have to “hit up” one of the 100 Starbucks in Manhattan maybe.

Suffering from chronic back pain for 25 years she had come a long way. Working on better pasture, leg-hip differentiation, getting more mobility for her hip joints, making her legs stronger, giving her core (and lower back) more stability and working on stronger gluts. Each workout also has foot work (release work, not footwork, since we don’t use any equipment besides yoga blocks, therabands, balls and weights at her house). Above all we achieved better body mechanics and she trusts her body to be able to be strong enough to “handle” life.

I love to draw analogies when I teach. I try to find an every day task for most exercises to have my clients understand WHY I have them do  what they do. That’s just how I can motivate myself best, that’s how my brain works.

I relate it to standing, sitting, reaching, turning, putting socks on. The need to be able to squat would usually be my analogy to get off the subway seat without holding on to the pole, or getting out of a chair or sofa when we are 85 years old. That image always has people laugh, I guess because 85 is lightyears away for many of my clients. Now I can say, “Ever wanted to visit Bali…?”

Oh, I don’t want to forget to mention, the above mentioned client saved HERSELF, with 2 hours of Pilates every week for the last 1.5 years… .

#pilatesishealth

 

Memorial Day Magicians

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Memorial Day Magicians

This exercise is called “the Magician”, it is a full body workout as one can imagine looking at the picture. It’s one of my favorite exercises of all times, since you have to integrate your whole body, everything has to step up to the task. Abs, back, legs and GLUTEALS, and I would not leave the arms out at all. The challenging part is to keep the hips in extension the whole time, so the gluteals and hamstrings have to do their thing…together. You can imagine your whole body as a board that does not bend and not allow to come any higher than the shoulder blades. (The shoulder blades are the feet you stand on in this position). The shoulders should remain relaxed and the neck open. (Can you still talk while you are doing this exercise?). The heavy leg springs on a high (8) setting are helping the effect of flying in the air.

It’s so much fun, right girls???

Be careful if: You have lower back pain, neck and shoulder problems and knee injuries (limit ROM)

AVOID if: you have osteoporosis. active disc injuries or sciatica.

Variations: Dolphin, Airplane

To build up to this fabulous result, and both ladies were super in-sync and that made this shot so perfect, we worked on Pelvic stability, bridging, hamstrings and back extension, lats  and not forgetting the (deep 6) external rotators.