Oct 09

Pilates Homework

Check out this link… Pilates Homework

Feb 02

Tips in Finding your Powerhouse and the Pilates Breathe

The most important concepts to remember in Pilates is to ALWAYS ENGAGE YOUR POWERHOUSE (PH) and BREATHE.

What is your Powerhouse (PH)? Your lower abs, lower back, inner and outer thighs and your buttocks.  By engaging your PH, you protect and support your lower back.

How do you engage or contract your PH, or more specifically, how do you make that abdominal connection?
First, scoop or deepen your lower abs in and up, working against gravity to pull up and away from your hips.
Then, think lengthen your spine to grow taller; elongate your torso.  This gives you that corset or the feeling of wearing a girdle.

Here’s a visual: Imagine there is a big metal snap and a thick zipper that begin 2 inches below your navel.  First, connect that snap from the front of your body right into the inside of your low spine.  Then keep that snap shut and pull that zipper up your abdominals and inside of your spine.  The moment you want to let it go, don’t….do it again.

How do you breathe properly in Pilates?
In Pilates, we breathe laterally by expanding the rib cage, breathing into the sides of your body and back while still engaging your abs. Inhale through the nose to bring fresh oxygen to your body and exhale through the mouth to rid the body of waste. Don’t hold your breath! Pilates breathe supports, elongates and stabilizes your spine.



Here’s a visual: Imagine your ribcage is an accordion.  With each inhale, the accordion expands outward.  With each exhalation, imagine it drawing closed.  Begin to concentrate on lengthening your exhalation so it is 2 or 3 times longer than your inhalation; draw your navel deeper as you exhale.  The more you exhale, the more your body has to inhale.

At no point should you allow your abs to expand or relax while you breathe.  Always think, “Pull your abs in and up and breathe into the sides of your rib cage and  back.”

Sep 28

Seven Guiding Pilates Principles

1.  Powerhouse (a.k.a. Core). All energy for the movements begin by FIRST engaging your powerhouse, which is the band of muscles between your belly button and the pubic bone (abs, lower back, hips, inner and outer thighs and buttocks).  Imagine a corset or girdle that wraps firmly around your waist and over your hips.

** By engaging or contracting your powerhouse, you protect and support the lower back and pelvis.

2. Breath. How you breathe is very important in Pilates exercises. You don’t want to hold your breath at all.  In Pilates, you breathe laterally by expanding the rib cage, breathing into the sides of your body and back.

Inhale through the nose to bring fresh oxygen to your body and exhale through the mouth to rid body of waste.  Pilates breathe supports, elongates and stabilizes the spine.

3.  Concentration. This is one of the most important principles in Pilates. You must be very mentally present as you do the exercises, aware of every aspect of your body’s movement, alignment, sensations, muscle flexes….

4. Control. Every movement is to be done with control, so you aren’t just throwing your body around.  Think of a plumb line down the middle of the body and work both sides evenly and with control.

5. Fluidity. Dynamic, energetic and smooth movements replace isolated static and quick, jerky movements of other exercise techniques.  A focus on grace and ease is emphasized over speed.  Ultimately the movements should feel as fluid as a dance.

6. Precision. You try to make each movement as precise as possible; alignment, placement of your limbs and position of each part of your body is paramount and a central aspect of how and why Joseph Pilates designed this system of exercise.  Choose to focus on doing a single, precise movement over many half-hearted ones.  Think quality over quantity.

7. Intuition. Listen to your body!  It does know best.  If something hurts, stop and figure out how to modify your movement.  Or alternatively, push yourself but always keep in mind the above Pilates principles.

COMMON TERMS/CUES

  • Pilates position: heels together, toes apart
  • C-curve: scooping your belly in
  • Navel to your spine
  • Tummy in and up/Lifting up off your hips
  • Lifting your sternum/Open your chest
  • Shoulder blades down your back

Sep 13

Great Pilates Mat Workout Class!

Join my great Pilates mat workout at Adat Ari El on Mondays at 8:15 a.m., beginning on October 4th!  No need to be a member or associated with the temple.

Just come and get a fun, challenging and safe workout!

Address is:

12020 Burbank Blvd.,Valley Village 91607

See flyer below…..Hope to see you there.

pilatesbyrachel.com

Sep 13

Firm your Tushy While Sitting in Traffic or at your Desk!

Do you have a sedentary job? Do you find yourself playing taxi to your kids and spending most of your day in the car just sitting?

The best thing about Pilates is that you can integrate the basic principles into your daily activity and get a workout. The movements are subtle, but effective and will continually raise your body awareness.

So the next time you’re sitting in crazy traffic, think Pilates and your Powerhouse (or core). Not only will it de-stress you, but you’re getting a little bit of a workout at the same time.

You can be in the car, at your desk or on the plane. Just try this….

First, move to front edge of your seat and place your feet firmly planted on the floor with your knees hip-width apart. Sit up straight at a 90 degree angle and lift your spine. Now pull your navel to your spine, lift your lower back and pitch your torso slightly forward while pulling in your abs even more.

Now….

1) Squeeze your butt muscles together, and you should feel your whole body lift up or rise about two inches off the seat.

2) Hold it for 5 seconds, and then relax. As soon as you’re almost completely relaxed in that seat, take it right back up again.

3) Repeat 5 times or as many as you’d like.

If you’re in the car, you can use your grip on the steering wheel to help lift your back up and out of your waist and try to make sure your shoulders are not up around your ears.

Extra bonus! Combine the above exercise with great Pilates breathing.

1) As you do the above exercise, inhale through your nose while keeping your abs pulled into your spine and staying elongated. Think about breathing into your back and expanding the rib cage.

2) Exhale out through your mouth and draw your belly button deeper into your spine. Try to get all the air out of your lungs, ridding your body of toxins, while staying tall and long in your spine. Really focus on the exhale to feel the Powerhouse engagement.

3) Do 3 rounds of breathing (inhale and exhale) as you squeeze, squeeze, squeeze and then release your butt. Repeat exercise for 5 times.

Great job! Now don’t you feel better?

Sep 09

What is Pilates?

Invented by Joseph Pilates in the early part of the 20th century,
Pilates is a method of body conditioning that dramatically
transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs.  By
using a series of machines and the floor mat, Pilates works the
entire body to build strength without excess bulk, creating a
sleek, toned body with slender thighs and flat abs.
The method requires using your Powerhouse (a.k.a. core)
– the lower abs, lower back, inner and outer thighs, and
the buttocks – focused breathing, intense concentration, control,
precision and fluid movement.  Because Pilates emphasizes quality
of the movement rather than quantity, you feel invigorated and
refreshed rather than exhausted after every session.
Whether you’re looking to get in better shape, rehabilitate an
injury, re-gain strength after pregnancy or enhance overall
health, Pilates is a highly effective, safe and challenging
exercise system that can be done at any age, no matter your
condition.

What are the benefits of Pilates?
The benefits are infinite.  With regular committed Pilates
workouts you can expect to:

·      Improve strength, flexibility and balance

·      Build long, lean muscles without bulk

·      Lose inches and tone trouble spots

·      Enhance body awareness

·      Improve postural alignment

·      Relieve back and joint pain

·      Alleviate stress and tension

·      Boost energy through deep stretching

·      Promote recovery from strain or injury

·      Improve the way your body looks and feels

·      Enhance athletic performance

How often do I need to do Pilates?
While two or three times a week is ideal, once a week is also
very effective.  I give my clients Pilates “homework” that can
be done in as little as 15 minutes a few days a week so they
maintain their core awareness and flexibility. The best part of
Pilates is that the simple techniques can be used 24/7 in your
daily life, which will automatically make you feel and look
thinner.

How quickly will I see results?

Individual results vary, but after one session, you will experience
increased body awareness, particularly with your posture. You
will immediately stand taller, hold your waist tighter and feel
stronger and more flexible.  Initially the workout is slow moving
because everything is being explained to you.  But once you learn
the Pilates method and the basic exercises, Pilates even becomes
cardiovascular.

As Joseph Pilates once said, “ In ten sessions you will feel the
difference: in 20 sessions, you will see the difference and in 30
sessions you will have a whole new body.”  If you’re consistent
with Pilates and make a commitment to yourself, you will
definitely see changes in your body.

Does Pilates help with weight loss?
Absolutely.  One of the best ways to increase your metabolism
and calorie burning potential is to create lean muscle mass, as
Pilates does. It is however, not the only piece of the puzzle.

You must eat a healthy diet and participate in cardio activity a
few times a week.  By combining the strength training benefits
of Pilates and a consistent cardio workout, you’ll lose weight and
tone up nearly twice as fast as just doing either routine on
its own.

Can I do Pilates during my pregnancy?

Yes!  In fact, I attribute my easy pregnancies and recoveries to
my Pilates practice.  But it is not recommended to start Pilates
if you have not practiced before becoming pregnant.
And even more important, Pilates is the best form of exercise
AFTER you have the baby.  With heavy car seats, strollers, diaper
bags, you will need the core strength to prevent injury and
maintain your stamina.  Pilates is a form of exercise you can use
for a lifetime. It’s the best gift you can give yourself as a
new mom!