Pilates Mat Class Seattle

The Benefits of Pilates – Move Like a Cat, Plus More

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According to this Time article Pilates has a multitude of benefits:

  • MOVE LIKE A CAT, i.e., increased sensory awareness or mindfulness
  • improved posture
  • improved overall body control (ever knock yourself over by kicking or punching too hard in kickboxing class?)
  • reduced low back pain
  • increased flexibility
  • increased trunk stability
  • increased athletic performance
  • reduced injury risk
  • improved mood
  • reduced stress (tip: break up your workday and swing by BTP for a midday pilates class, AKA – stress buster)
  • more symmetrical body
  • weight loss (strength training elevates your resting metabolism rate, burn more calories while you sleep!)

Transversus Abdominis Tutorial

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Those of you who have taken Pilates at Bodytonic are use to receiving lots of cueing for Trasversus Abdominis (TVA). TVA is the most frequently referred to “core muscle”. BTP students know that TVA wraps laterally around ones abdomen from the bottom of the ribcage to the crest of the pelvis and that it works to stabilize the spine by compressing the abdomen and also aids in forced expiration. For some, this description “clicks” quickly, but for those of you who would like a more thorough description with visual aids, here is video that may help:

 

Tips for exercising in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s

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30s

  • “Exercise in intense bursts at 80 to 95 percent of your max, interspersed with recovery pauses to allow your heart rate to return to normal.”
  • “Aim to exercise five times a week with one day reserved for high intensity cardio (at least 45 minutes).”
  • “Your exercise regimen should also include balance and flexibility training.”

40s

  • “Continue training with weights three to four times a week, and up the cardio to five times a week, reserving one day for rest.”
  • “In terms of strength training, remember quality over quantity. Focus on doing the movements slowly and with control.”
  • “Maintaining or improving flexibility will be crucial in the years ahead.”

50s

  • “Focus on saving your back by strengthening your core muscles and keeping good posture. Yoga and Pilates are helpful for both.”
  • “You will also need additional recovery time after a hard workout, so go easy — aim to exercise more frequently but with a moderate level of intensity.”
  • “Ideally, get in a half-hour of cardio every day.”

60s

  • “Weight training is a must, ideally three times a week, alternating between upper and lower body muscle groups and using light weights.”
  • “Incorporate balance exercises and stretch, stretch, stretch.”
  • “Aim for three days a week of moderately intense cardio.”

Read more here.

 

Make More Time – Become a Morning Person

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In theme with our recent articles on making time for exercise in our busy lives, is a recent Huffington Post article with 6 tips to become a morning person. If unlike myself, you don’t have a toddler who wakes you up between 5:00am – 6:00am, these tips may come in really handy.

  1. Calculate your ideal bedtime.
  2. Identify your stay-awake triggers.
  3. Create a morning to-do list.
  4. Reward yourself.
  5. Exercise
  6. Ask yourself, “Why do you want to do this?”

Read more here.

Vintage Mat Class

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Here is a look at an original Pilates Mat Class taught by the one and only Joseph Pilates. This video and is both interesting and funn(y) to watch. Both beginning and advanced Pilates students will recognize some of the exercises taught in this video. The well seasoned Pilates practitioner will notice some modern kinesiology and biomechanics inspired adaptions absent from this video. For example, JP provides a cardio warm up in which he bounces on the balls of his feet while in plantar flexion. Nope. Don’t do it. 🙂

Trapeze Table Origination

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Vintage Pilates Video

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Holiday Special! $50 off all Intro Packages!

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Upstretch – Much More Than a Stretch

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Planking is all the rage and with good reason! It strengthens arm, shoulder, abdominal, back, and hip muscles. Want the specifics? Or course you do! The following muscles are utilized during your basic plank when practiced in good form:

  • Transversus abdominis (if you remember to contract it)
  • External obliques
  • Rectus abominus
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Erector spinae
  • Gluteus medius and minimus
  • Anterior deltoids
  • Pectoralis major
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres major and minor
  • Serratus anterior
  • Rhomboids
  • Lower trapezius
  • Biceps brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Triceps

That’s an awful lot of muscles for just one exercise and this is with just a basic plank. Think of all the additional muscles groups that are added as you modify your plank. In the video above I am demonstrating one of my favorite planking exercises called up stretch. As you can see, it is really much more than a stretch!

Can Pilates Help Your Yoga Practice?

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Why yes, it can! Really, Pilates enhances one’s performance of any physical activity or sport. This video is of Dr.Oz performing a classic Sun Salutation flow. Dr.Oz does an overall great job of this invigorating sequence and his coach provides some important reminders like to breathe deep and engage your core. With this said there were some elements of Dr.Oz’s flow that deserved some more detailed feedback. For those of you who have taken Pilates, you will recognize this to be an intrinsic and critical element to any Pilates practice – detail. You can think of Pilates instructors as your anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology geeks of the fitness world. This geekery may cause us to be a little on the type-A side, but the best instructors also teach this attention to detail with creativity and empathy. With this said, here is a critique of Dr.Oz’s Sun Salutation through the eyes of your very own Pilates instructor, moi!

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 4.40.46 PM

Given the above issues with alignment, here is a list of the corrections that need to be made:

1.      chaturanga dandasana

  • Correction – protract scapulas, pull cervical vertebrae posteriorly as if making a double chin, bend elbows less so they just touch the ribcage.

4.      urdhva mukha – went from dorsiflexion to plantarflexion in both feet simultaneously.

  • Correction – Plantarflex one foot at a time, less general extension to facilitate less lumbar and cervical extension and more thoracic extension.

 

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