Back to Basics

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The start of the new year, for some, is the time to jump start a personal wellness/fitness program.  The seasoned fitness guru may want to take their program to new levels or spice things up with a variety of exercise trends this season. I admit some of them sound very interesting–anti-gravity yoga?? Something I have found beneficial is taking a couple steps back in January.  It sounds ridiculous to some—why go backward???  For an entire year we have been tweaking our fitness…getting into a groove, possibly getting out of a groove and maintaining the “I’ll start next week groove”….and losing site of where we started if at all. The beginning of any fitness program is monumental–day one…your first leap into your new-found practice.  Foundations are set on those monumental first few days of a new exercise program–movement  form (good or bad) is set and the muscles make their memory.  How many fitness instructors focus on those foundations and not just the burn?The good ones do!

In Pilates, losing the foundation of your neutral spine/neutral pelvis..or your lateral breathing…or your connection with the carriage on the reformer means that you have lost the true objective of your exercise (in most situations).  Often, we need gentle reminders…multi-taksing during exercise is challenging enough—consider the number of muscles you need to mindfully talk to—now breath with me????  It is hard mind/body work…and sometimes Pilates students forget to “maintain” that neutral pelvis or recruitment of the deep transverse abdominal due to focusing on their specific dominant muscle movement, or instructor cueing overload, or difficulty of the exercise at hand—the “yikes” factor…aka the “holy cow my body is burning” moment. 

This month, I am taking my clients back to basics and focusing on the deep transverse abdominals (the TA), and maintaining the recruitment of the abdominals during movement (ie the chest lift) and monitoring the pelvis and then moving forward with the more deliberately paced and specifically leveled work.  The warm-up is crucial (on any day), but this month we are slowing things down and really connecting mind and body (especially after the hurry and blurry of the holidays).  The BASI method utilizes amazing exercises as a part of their warm-up (the Pelvic Curl, Spine Twist Supine, Chest Lift, Chest Lift with Rotation, Leg Changes, Leg Circles, Rolling (Roll Like a Ball) slowing them down (even in a hold in a freeze frame) to monitor clients entire body.  My goal is for my clients to “feel” the relationship of their muscles throughout movement, and breaking down the movement of each exercise is going back to basics–going back to the foundations of the warm-up. 

 The warm-up exercises are indeed the foundations of most of the traditional and/or contemporary Pilates exercises and it is essential to monitor a client’s body throughout their program, but crucial as well for them to personally monitor their own body for balance, control, efficiency, precision, breath, concentration, center, fluidity–thus creating harmony while moving throughout an entire Pilates program. Utilizing Joseph Pilates’ ten principles throughout the warm-up and entire program is an amazing checklist for clients and instructors. 

  “These ten elements should be prevalent at all times, during the execution of the exercises and during the teaching of the movements, guiding both the teacher and the client on the path to understanding, mastery and well being.”~Rael Isackowitz

Going back to basics and connecting to mind and body is the goal at MLB Pilates this month, and dedication to practice and programming is my promise to all of fabulous clients–who give me their 100% each session–keep up the fantastic work ladies!

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