Pilates Highlights: Year in Review
Dec 26, 2020
As we draw to the end of one of the most challenging years in living memory, it's the perfect opportunity to look back at some of the most popular & powerful Pilates posts of 2020. As the world is still facing the second and third waves of Covid -19, let's focus on some of the positives that Pilates provides as we revisit the practical, the educational and the incredibly inspiring! Click on the headings or the names of the featured clients to read the full original post.
Joseph Pilates said "Breathing is the first act of life and also the last. Our very life depends on it" He emphasised the importance of mastering correct breathing techniques. "It is tragically deplorable to contemplate the millions who have never mastered the art of correct breathing,"
he said. As we face uncertainty in our lives, stress levels start to rise and learning to control our breathing is an essential tool for calming the nervous system. Here we revisit a practical breathing technique for relaxation that you can put into practice straight away to restore calm.
Either lie on your back or sit comfortably in a chair and place your palms on your lower tummy. When you have mastered the technique you don't need to use your hands. Inhale, sending your breath down low to your hands for 5 counts and then exhale, making your breath last for 5 counts. Repeat this for 1 minute. Rest for a few minutes and repeat the technique again for another minute. Keep going until you feel calmer. If you want measurable results, you can take your pulse at the beginning and then at the end and you should see a lowered heart rate. This will start to reverse the effects of the stress response. Bringing your breathing under control and keeping it as relaxed and deep as possible sends a message to the brain the danger has passed. This allows our body to return to the "rest and digest" state as opposed to the "flight or fight" response. Use this breathing technique as often as you need to, as many people are now in "survival mode" and constant "flight or fight", but this weakens our immune system, just at a time when staying healthy is vital for our survival.
One of the most popular posts this year details the concept of being able to positively change your brain and therefore your life with Pilates. This is understandably an empowering idea for many people. Joseph Pilates was ahead of his time and instinctively knew that the mind and body shouldn't be thought of as two completely separate entities. He said that "Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind & spirit." Neuroplasticity means that our brains are plastic or receptive to change, so it's not only children who have the ability to rewire their brains, but we all have the ability to change our neural pathways throughout our adult lives. It comes down to "use it or lose it." The more we can stimulate our brains to increase the number of connections between the neurons the more resilience we will build which is protection against diseases such as dementia as we age. Movement, exercise and in particular Pilates is the ideal way of achieving this. In practical terms, we can change poor postural habits and movement patterns and replace them with more efficient ways of holding ourselves and moving. Another example is clients who are dealing with back pain and have developed many compensatory patterns to keep moving despite the pain. They begin by establishing a strong pathway from their brains to their abdominal muscles and glutes and then slowly work through other issues that arise. Their spines are often rigid, so they learn to move their spines in different directions and then to articulate through each vertebra. This takes time which varies from person to person, but it's all about rebuilding the body by rewiring the brain, which allows people to take control of their own recovery. The mission statement of JS Mind Body Pilates Online, my online Pilates Membership site is "Empowering People to Take Control of Their Own Health & Fitness Through Pilates." Thanks to Neuroplasticity this is entirely possible. Joseph Pilates understood the way the mind and the body work together that wasn't formally known during that era. We now have scientific research to back up his concepts of fitness and rehabilitation adding even more credibility to his unique method of exercise.
It's always so inspiring to see how other people have changed their lives with Pilates and these posts have proven to be very popular. This year 4 of my clients generously offered to share their personal Pilates journeys. This reminds them of their own progress & also enables others to see what is possible. Firstly, we met 63 year old Graham a Pilates veteran of more than 12 years
who overcame back pain. This has enabled him to continue enjoying long challenging bushwalks & kayaking, while singlehandedly maintaining a huge garden, all thanks to Pilates. Anita then shared her remarkable triumph over stage 3 colon cancer
from diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and then follow-up studies. She used JS Mind Body Pilates Online my online studio during her treatment to regain her abdominal strength and then gradually rebuild her fitness. She is now stronger & fitter than ever before! At 69, Kathy also used my online Pilates studio to prepare for and rehabilitate from her double knee replacement surgery
. Her doctor only suggested a double knee replacement at her age because he was so amazed by her fitness level and she wasn't overweight. He asked Kathy what sport she played and she said none, but she had done Pilates for 3 years. He said he wished that all his patients would do Pilates before surgery. She also provides practical tips for others and loves her "new knees!" Lastly, Meg was able to take control of debilitating knee pain
with Pilates which was impacting her ability to enjoy life. Pilates also allowed her to manage her back pain so she can enjoy long challenging walks again and be an active participant in her grandchildren's boisterous play. Pilates has really given Meg her life back and she is looking forward to resuming her jazz and tap dancing classes in the near future. All of these people are still practicing Pilates as I write this blog and are going from strength to strength! Click on each person's link to read more of their inspiring Pilates journey in detail.
If you want to transform your life with Pilates take the free 10 day trial now
to access the library of on demand videos on JS Mind Body Pilates Online, my online Pilates studio. Pilates provides possibility and allows you to reach your full potential regardless of the limitations you might be facing. It caters to all levels of ability and is divided into 6 specific courses. Everyone has access to all courses so you can switch from one course to another as your needs change. You can start at the very beginning with the basic foundations of breathing techniques and learning how to connect your abdominal muscles and progress in a clear path forward. Alternatively, you can skip to whichever course suits your individual needs. I'm always available via email to answer any questions you may have, provide exercise suggestions and generally help guide and support you on your Pilates journey.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me at [email protected]
It would be my pleasure to assist you!