Did you know the average person gains 15-20lbs over the holiday season (October, November, December)? That’s the weight of a large sized pumpkin! If you are looking to lose weight over the holiday season or at least prevent yourself from gaining extra weight, join me over in the Wellness Warrior Tribe Facebook Group.
I will be sharing health and fitness tips, nutritional informational, workout videos and more in the group from Now until the end of the year. The group is a small and safe community of people with different health and wellness goals who motivate and support each other. Let’s Fall back into Fitness!!
I have a love/hate relationship with the Pilates chair. It’s a very challenging workout, but feels amazing to practice on. Here I am working on perfecting my Teaser on the Wunda Chair.
The final Pilates Principle of Flow ties all the other principles together. Once you are able to center yourself, concentrate on your alignment, focus on moving with precision, control the movement of your body, and add in the breath you are then able to bring in flow.
Flow is moving in a smooth and controlled manner during your practice. Keeping in mind your alignment, as you move from your strong and stable center. Flow creates balance, grace and fluidity in your practice.
In your practice focus on the first few principles and then begin to flow. So when doing 10 reps of an exercise, focus on your control, precision, etc. for the first 5 reps and then add in some flowing movement for the last 5 reps (without losing your control and precision). Also, the transitions then become part of the exercise and workout. You can create a more flowing practice by adding in the transitions and moving smoothly from exercise to exercise, creating a workout that keeps you moving throughout. Create a rhythm of ease and flow in your workout to challenge your practice and build greater heat in the body. Who says you don’t sweat in Pilates?
The Pilates principle of Precision is one of the key principles that distinguishes the work of Pilates from other forms of exercise or movement. Every move or exercise in Pilates has a purpose. It is important to know the purpose of the exercise in order to understand which muscles are working and which are helping to stabilize.
Awareness must be used and sustained throughout the exercises on what muscle group you are working, and the other parts of the body that are working in conjunction. Precision must be used in alignment and movement throughout the exercises in order to achieve the maximum benefits of the exercise. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s quality of movement over quantity in Pilates, which is why we do lower reps (usually 8-10) of every exercise.
In your practice focus on the smaller details of the movement. If you are practicing with a teacher, listen to their cues as to how you should move or for corrections. Where are you feeling the exercise most and adjust accordingly to the achieve the purpose of the exercise. Precision allows you to get more “juice” out of the exercise. Bringing your awareness to the movement can you help go deeper in the exercise than ever before.
Joseph Pilates was known to say that breathing was very important and that it was the first and last thing we do in our lives. Proper breathing brings oxygen to the muscles as well as aids in concentration of the movements.
With that being said, don’t get hung up on the breathing. Pilates does put focus on the breath during exercises, but sometimes students of the practice get hung up on the breathing instead of the movement. There are few guarantees in life but one of them is that you will inhale. Focus instead of the quality of your breathing and incorporate it into your practice to aid in movement.
Most people tend to breathe very shallow, using only the top portion of the lungs. In Pilates we focus on what is known as three dimensional breathing. Filling the lungs on the inhale to capacity; expanding the lungs and ribs into the sides of the body as well as into the back of the body. The exhale is often used at the point of exertion or at the point of most effort during the exercise. When an exercise is hard, people tend to hold the breath in, which tenses the muscles. We never want to hold the breath in during Pilates, but rather use it as a tool to initiate and create a flowing movement.
The Pilates Principle of Concentration is about bringing your full attention to the exercises. Joseph Pilates intended for his method to connect the mind and body and we see that when we are mindful of executing the movements. When you bring your full awareness to the exercise and commit to executing it fully and at your level, you will gain the maximum benefits of each exercise.
When performing any of the Pilates exercises, take a few seconds to think of the purpose of the exercise. What are it’s benefits? What muscles or part of the body is moving? What muscles or part of the body need to remain stable? Concentrate on your body’s alignment and stabilization throughout the exercise. For instance in One Leg Circles, the leg is moving but you must keep the pelvis stable during the exercise.
During your practice, try to not let your mind wander. If you find yourself thinking about something other than the exercises you are performing, bring your awareness back into your body. Pay attention to the movements, the purpose of the exercise, what is moving and what needs to be stabilized.
Through the Pilates Principle of Concentration you will help your mind and body to work together in unison. This connection and awareness will help you to achieve the full benefits of your Pilates practice as well as be beneficial in your daily life.
The Pilates method puts a lot of focus on control of movement. Is it any wonder that Joseph Pilates originally called his method of exercise Contrology? It wasn’t until sometime after his death that the method started to be named after it’s creator.
The Pilates principle of Control is pretty straightforward in it’s meaning. In Pilates we would a lot of attention on control of the body through the movements. The movements must be executed in a smooth and balanced manner. We learn to control our body and move our muscles through the exercises in a more controlled way. Overtime and with dedication to the practice, we gain greater control over our body and the exercises. With greater control comes better alignment, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility.
In your Pilates practice focus on bringing the principle of control. Bring your awareness to controlling the muscles of the body to move with precision. Remember that in Pilates, as well as life, quality over quantity is best.