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Pilates4Fitness Blog: The Scoop

The older I get, the more I appreciate the wisdom, experience and practice of those around me. There's not much new in the world, yet there may be other ways to see it and thus a better way to own the experience for one's self.

It snowed on the eve of February's #SnowMoon and rather than shoveling I worked every angle of my body - especially the shoulders - on the reformer.

"Amazing week. Love notes from students helping me mark and affirm my work. Sometimes I keep pinching myself that I am actually teaching a method I remain in the process and practice of  continual learning.  Loudly living my goal-set mantra of speaking the truth and leaving the lies on the floor."  Those were the first few sentences/thoughts I wrote to begin this post back on January 9th. Then I got stuck.

Refining movement into precise steps requires considerable control and skill.  "Small is good" and "big and sloppy" is just that, big, sloppy and usually a mess.

Energy work with Reiki. I admit, I didn't know what to expect but I trusted it as an alternative and followed my heart. I let go and relaxed allowing someone else to move me to places I had not been and to experience something I knew little about.

I think its great that students get excited in their expectations for changing their bodies and their lives with Pilates.  I do however, bring reality and #truthspeak to the conversation when I tell newcomers that Pilates is not the "be all to end all." It is not a magic pill. It's part of my "body maintenance & management."

I am grateful, thankful and lucky for the people in my life that love to do the crazy things I enjoy doing, like walking up and down cliffs just for the joy of the action.

I am actually shocked to write that I have been orchestrating this hike along the Palisades cliffs for thirteen years.  I think my mother would be proud that I have actually started a tradition and stuck with it!  

The vividness of the color changes, the resolute acknowledgement of another year under my belt, and the reality that an incredibly smart, vibrant and powerful woman will be voted President in less than four days, brings me to setting a focus on "keeping it real and authentic" as a categorical way of writing and thinking for the year ahead.  #TruthSpeak

This is a bitter sweet entry.  Its the end of blog category, for I soon turn over a new leaf toward my 59th year.  The bitterness isn't really about my age - although getting closer to THAT decade is surely not sweet - more on that taste in my mouth later.  The sweetness is about the gift I have found during the year in teaching and sharing everything much more publicly with fellow co-horts as students, teachers and lovers of the Pilates method.

Whew! July was obviously a busy month, as I notice I have had to stop, take a pause to rest, regroup, recover, refresh my energy more than once in the past 30 days.

Who knows how it happened, when or why it occurred!?  But darn it!  I jammed my shoulder, yet again, and ended up kicking myself for taking just a little too long to seek out the needed myofascia massage therapy that allowed me to get back into action.

I love the days when my client's workout can tell the story of the beauty and precision of Pilates movement.  There's not much that needs to be stated as a preview.  The video below tells the entire story.  This is an actual workout session.

I will admit, I was feeling exceptionally fierce this particular morning as I began my personal workout.  I just wanted to move freely and enjoy the pleasure of a good sweat.  I had the intention of moving through the studio apparatus with focus and attention particularly on my legs.  As such, the Wunda Chair, Orbit and Ladder Barrel, along with a few stability balls on my mat were my tools of choice.  

Did you know you can practice a little bit of ‪#‎Pilates‬ everyday and really change the way you feel? Seriously!  Teachers, students and practitioners alike can find a way to do a "little something" for themselves everyday to completely change and challenge the self.

Swan diving, side bending and mountain climbing on the Pilates Wunda chair can certainly change that you feel, look and move.  I think that is why I find this piece of apparatus such a favorite in my personal #Pilates repertoire.

The beauty of Pilates movement is the consistency of the work across all of the apparatus. There are really only three planes of motion for moving the body.  The advanced repertoire combines each of these basic elements and usually throws a small "kick" into the mix for an extra challenge.

During my private session with Brett this week, while we were working a particular Wunda Chair series exercise, he told me to do something specifically and I stopped in the middle and asked, “why?”  In his direct, yet humorous style, he gave me a sigh and said,“because I said so.”

Sometimes "flipping the script" can help one find a new perspective to a regular challenge.  This week, I played around in my personal work with challenging the powerhouse with #WallPlanks.  First with a private client and then with my TRX class.  

As a teacher, running a Pilates studio, with clients and classes everyday, one might assume that it is an easy piece of cake to exercise everyday.  Actually, that would be a wrong assumption.  It takes work, planning, discipline and scheduling to move your body every day.  Sometimes it's easier said than done.

OMGoodness I am so glad to have a job I love! It started with an 8:00am Saturday morning TRX class in which we warmed up with the Hundred and #SeriesofFive with the TRX Straps , followed by the Advanced Mat and Beginner Mat classes and ended with the studio filled for #PilatesDay2016 with nothing but goodness.

Very proud and thankful to be included in the mix of non-traditional Pilates teachers that are inspiring others to find and use Pilates for their health and personal fitness regimens.  Real people doing really hard work is always an inspiring story.  This Pilates Style Magazine article profiled a few of the "rule-breakers."

Last week I posted a snippet of a few heart opening stretches using the Spine Corrector that I was surprised (yet delighted) to see gathered so many views on my Facebook Page. Given the love for the stretches I felt the need and importance to show a fuller, core-centered workout that preceded the delicious stretch itself.

I enjoy adding a little extra intensity to my private client sessions with the use of the Balanced Body #Orbit.  It's a great mixer to a Wunda Chair session and a fabulous ending to a mat session by incorporating standing rotational movements.   Men and Women alike love doing Pilates Push Ups with it.

The Wunda Chair is my "hands-down" favorite piece of equipment.  While I usually dedicate Wednesday to the Wunda Chair for myself and select students, I love it so much, I keep a spare chair in my apartment.

  Work on the Spine Corrector barrel is a complete opening of the heart and as such, I love incorporating the back bend stretch over the barrel anytime and every time I use it.  

Advanced Mat students are always ready and willing for a  new challenge, variation and an extra bead of sweat down their back during my mat class.  Following the MarchMatness campaign, everyone was pumped and readying themselves for Spring. 

What a blast the month of March has been for Pilates teachers, Pilates lovers and students worldwide!  A glorious way to focus together in preparation, practice and support of each other with a little bit of #PilatesEverday as our collective focus through #MarchMatness2016. 

I would be remiss if I didn't blast out this recipe that I make and love as a perfect side dish.  Clean.  Healthy.  Full of flavor and freezes perfectly.

Whether the practice is arranging flowers, capturing the beauty of that sunset image or finding the full length of the stretch, the pinky toe point or the total body extension, its the perfect precision of the practice that makes beautiful art with Pilates.  I will forever practice this work.  Always, for the precision of it all.  

I am having so much fun with #MarchMatness2016 and even more fun with all the images, video footage and good work students are exacting from themselves that on DAY 19 all I have to say is turn up your speakers and watch. This is Pilates Mat.

It was DAY 10 of #MarchMatness2016 and I found myself, in the middle of the day, at about 3:00pm, completely zonked and out of energy!  All the teaching, filming, posting, encouraging students and staying on point with my personal work caused me to stop and take pause.  I needed a rest and a nap!

So the saying goes, "March roars in like a lion...." and that we are doing with a fever pitch for #MarchMatness2016.  Teachers and students around the world jumping into the fun of doing a little bit of Pilates everyday.

I sit writing this after completion of an amazing private session with Brett on the barrels on Sunday, Part 2 of a workshop with Blossom on Friday, and with my mind set for participation in #MarchMatness2016 on Tuesday.  Lots of images, lots of media and lots of Pilates to share.There are just too, too much too many 'takeaways' to enumerate, yet I will try to share a few gold nuggets I found. 

Couple of decisions were made this week.  I decided to stop drinking wine the day after my "all-girls hangout" that forced me to look critically at the volume of my intake each night.  The wine was going down like water.  Since I am intent on holding myself to a daily regimen of Pilates, health and clean eating, these two paths were simply out of synch.  

One of my biggest thrills as a teacher comes from the glee in the face of a student when they finally "get it."  That has been happening quite a bit lately.  New students "getting it" and gleeful faces leaving the studio.

Funny, I keep thinking if I pinch myself and I will wake up and find out this has all been a really good dream.  Definitely not a bad dream.  I've been teaching for a long time and I still get chills when a whole new group of students show up in class and end with such glee in their faces and joy in their eyes.  And, it happened again this morning, with four brand new students.  Sweet!

Snow usually changes everything for most of us.  A light early morning dusting can wreak havoc on any driving commute, for sure.  But it simply made my morning all the more active, creative and intensive for a Mat and Wunda chair flexibility workout.

After leaving Brooklyn and Part 1 of Blossom Leilani-Crawford's "Connected Arms, Strong Torso" workshop, I fully admit I felt lifted, open, playful and energized.  Sorta like a little kid chasing butterflies.

The energy toward the end of the week was feverish to say the least.  The barometric pressure had all of our sinus blocked.  Anticipation of the battle of the East Coast #Snowmageddon2016  had so many people on warning, it was...

Stretched and stepped out a bit broadly on Week 2 of #YR58Pilates. It was the true start of my own “program” week with a focused part of the Pilates repertoire to be used each day of the week in my own personal work.  It keeps it interesting for me, filled with variety and for regular clients keeps us moving around the studio through various workouts on all the apparatus regularly.

Pilates can be done anywhere, anytime on the Mat, and with access and use of the apparatus, each of the exercises can be practiced on so many pieces of equipment.  It's not a New Years resolution for me, but the...

I have been blogging sporadically for years.  It’s been a sometimes on/off thing, or when I arrived at an “aha moment” or something exciting about a student to share.  This year, I am now living my 58th year of life and I know I am on the path I need to be running.

Working on the shoulders - the secondary powerhouse with a few favorite moves like Swakate and Rowing is a delight in execution. Using those shoulder to stabilize and move from a point of grace and control to achieve the Pilates Teaser...

The end of August and that temperature has climbed to the high point that I don't even consider going to the pool during the mid-day.  Today I bought a few melons with the intent of eating them, juicing them and mixing them up for nibbles.  I doctored a HoneyDew Melon Sorbet recipe -  with a splash of St. Germain and honey and fell in love!

Teachers get their butts kicked by Senior teachers.  Senior teachers are reminded what it is that they still don't know by working with a Master teacher.  Master teachers got that way as a result of having worked as an apprentice (back in the day) or having been trained and mentored by an "elder" of the Pilates community.  

.....and we are off to the races.  There are 6 of us challenging ourselves to stay on point and active for the 30 days of May.  We are not necessarily seeking to do jaw dropping things like headstands, handstands or twisted-triangle poses of any kind, but we are seeking to move regularly and consistently in our bodies and maintain healthy habits in our lives.

At this writing, in exactly 9 days, 9 hours and 9 minutes I plan to start a personal 30-day challenge to lose 2 lbs a week and 10 lbs in 30 days. Easy goal huh? Not for many of us. Particularly if we have to "go it alone." We get stuck if there is no push - no pull - no help or motivation.

....among a few other sweet experiences and inspirations.  And its only March 17th.  I hope you are following along with the chatter on social media as the spring air lights us all up!

This is not a story about Pilates, fitness or exercise.  It is a  story of the quick and speedy response of the fireman of Hudson county, my over-sensitive nose and a comedy of errors in my Pilates studio one early Monday morning in February.  Sometimes #IAmSuchAnIdiot