Yoga Tune Up® and the Triangle Booty

I’ve just finished Day 2 of my YTU Level 1 Certification course and my booty and I are grateful.

Today’s Master Class focused on preparing our bodies to perfect our Triangle – in both Classic and Twisted flavors ;)

We started with a serious “come to Jesus” conversation with our piriformis, gluteus medius, IT bands, and vasti lateralis muscles, among others, via the small, but mighty, Yoga Tune Up® Massage Balls.

Then came some side body strengthening and stretching – finally feeling my QL in a good way.

Followed by all manner of hip range of motion from abduction to rotation to extension to circumduction. Every movement providing us with a greater level of strength and flexibility .

Bottom line: my booty felt more supple, toned, and balanced than it has in a long time. And it’s probably going to be a little sore tomorrow:)

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I’m a POP! Star…

Open Leg Rocker Stretch

Photo by Alli Novak, http://www.luzography.com

Pilates on Page that is ;) Starting this month, this awesome little studio in Hayes Valley will be my new Pilates home and I’ll be available Monday through Friday for private and duet sessions.

Take advantage of their First POP! offer of a single private for $55 or 4 privates for just $250 (new clients only) – you can book directly with me here. I’ll also be adding a group class or two to the mix. Feel free to make your requests known in the comments section.

Hope to see you POP! in soon ;)

Ode to the Mighty Wunda Chair

The Wunda Chair is small, but mighty.

Like all of the other large Pilates apparatus, you can exercise on the Wunda Chair while sitting, lying on the back, belly, or side, standing, and weight bearing into the arms. The difference? A matter of size. With the small dimensions of the Wunda Chair –  even lying down becomes an act of defying gravity.

Need a visual? Here’s some awesome vintage (1936!) footage of Joseph Pilates himself and a few of his star students enjoying a sunny afternoon with the Wunda Chair:

Curious to try for yourself? Book a session with me here.

Intentional, practical magic: A 3-step process for the New Year.

1. Set an intention.

2. Establish a practice around your intention.

3. Experience the magic.

Photo by Alli Novak, 2010

Photo by Alli Novak, 2010

This is not a new idea. In his book, Return to Life Through Contrology, Joseph Pilates himself wrote “Physical fitness can neither be acquired by wishful thinking nor outright purchase.” Yet, even if I were to only do the 34 mat exercises prescribed in Return to Life – I wouldn’t call this method an “fitness routine.”

To me, and countless others who are trained in this method, it is a practice. Like yoga and bodywork, therapy and medicine. To reap the greatest benefits – whether you want a flat stomach or a pain-free back – it requires deliberate attention and intention.  It’s the art of making every movement meaningful, not just in the hour-a-week you spend on the Mat or a Reformer, but all the time. How you sit in your office chair, how you walk between the TV and the fridge.

This probably sounds exhausting, but with consistent, deliberate practice, the magic (a.k.a. results) often just happens. The day will come when you realize your back doesn’t hurt after a long day at work or you’re able to balance perfectly on one leg on a ball.

In the end, I think this is why Joseph Pilates called his method “Contrology” – the art of control. Taking responsibility for one’s physical fitness with a regular practice. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013.

“Cue-tie”: Eyes in the back of your head

Greeting Pilatistas!

I’m starting a collection of my favorite cues and images, aka “Cue-ties,” to help you get the most out of your Pilates practice, both in and out of the studio. Enjoy!

This week’s “cue-tie” is unapologetically stolen from the illustrious Madeline Black. I had the privilege of attending her Pilates for Scoliosis course at Pilates on Tour last month and this little nugget is just one of the many I picked up at the conference.

Look out through the eyes in the back of your head. 

In our culture of computers, smart phones, books, television, etc. it’s a not surprising that the forward head posture has become pandemic. As a Pilates teacher, it’s literally my job to help people bring their bodies back into balance, so I’m always looking for new ways to coax my clients out of this posture.

What I love about this image is that not only does it align their posture, but it also shifts their focus to a more body-mind directive. Less analytical and more experiential. A place where they can let the natural intelligence of their body lead the movement.

Even better – it’s not specific to Pilates. Try looking out through the eyes in the back of your head next time you’re in front of your computer (i.e. right now) and see if you can’t sit up a little taller and easier.