Keep the Trinity Strong!

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The Trinity in Pilates refers to the inner thighs, back of the hips and the abdominals and keeping them connected gives us an amazing column of strength in which to move from. Maintaining this connection is not only crucial as our clients progress to more advanced exercises but essential for our postural health.

Increasingly over the years, I have noticed clients turning out at the hip and foot either during exercises or when simply standing. This turn out can have a negative impact on our joints and posture. It can affect the ability of the foot to absorb shock, reduce ankle stability, place unnecessary strain through the knees, reduce the ability of the fabulously strong gluts to stabilise the pelvis and protect the low back, thwart the inner thigh connection and therefore the highly desirable Trinity is compromised or lost!

The reasons for this undesirable turn out are many. Although it could be due to a congenital condition, often it is habitual, a product of our modern lifestyle. In jobs that require prolonged standing such as a hairdresser, we often shift our weight onto one leg, bringing the strain into the IT band and the lateral ligaments of the leg. The type of shoe we wear, and it is not always high heels even running shoes have a heel, can cause tightening of the calf which leads to the turn out. Prolonged sitting causes imbalances and weaknesses around the hip which again lead to overuse of the IT band and lateral musculature to stabilise the pelvis in movement, leading to external rotation. This can be observed especially in Pilates exercises such as Shoulder Bridge or Swan Dive where the hip is extending and we see a drifting or pulling out into turn out.

Although we may cue good alignment through the feet and hips, we often need to help our clients rediscover the Trinity.The video below shows how to use a yoga block to help your client find and deepen this essential connection.

Thank you so much Keaton for being a wonderful body!!!

Posted on September 1, 2017 .

JPilates Convention 2017- Inspiration & Innovation

This summer we held our 5th JPilates Convention and it was just amazing!!! Each session was designed to give practical ideas, variations and adaptations which could be implemented immediately into Pilates sessions.

From Glide & Slide to Slave to the Rhythm we explored new challenges using gliders and choreographed sequences set to music. In the Cat Clinic  and Pilates for Breast Cancer Recovery we analysed how to promote better movement, strength and mobility.   The day finished with our Summer Party and it was such a treat to share strawberries and cream and a glass (or 2! )of Pimms with you all.

Sunday was dedicated to the Reformer and we delved deep into the Psoas Connection, built Bone Health and reached dizzy heights with our High Bridges, Front and Back Headstands, Snakes and Twists in the Advanced Moves.

Thank you so much to everyone who attended and we can not wait for next year!!!

Don’t Go Higher-Go Deeper!

The other day I was mentoring a wonderful teacher and she asked what she could do to add further intensity and challenge to her Mat programme to make sure her clients do not get bored. My answer was,

“You don’t need to go higher, you need to go deeper”

c33686553c74dfd8b1571643b5a12d48It struck me that this is the essence of Pilates which makes it so different from other forms of exercise. Understanding this is what differentiates a beginner from an intermediate practitioner

Let’s take the Roll Up. Initially we focus on the ability to flex through the spine sequentially as we roll up with control and fluidity. So any beginner with a fairly good level of spinal mobility can do this exercise, does that mean they fully understand the complexity of the move? For clients who have been attending our classes but are unable to perform this move, we may highlight restrictions in the lumbar spine or hip flexors and create a programme to enhance movement in these areas so that eventually they can Roll Up with success. But we shouldn’t leave it there! Now is the time to go deeper!

Understanding Points of Stability  

A fundamental element of all  Pilates exercises is the ability to anchor one area whilst moving another.

The greater the point of stability, the greater the potential for articulation.

In the Roll Up, the points of stability are the legs, giving us a large area to stabilise from to help create greater spinal articulation. So look deeper- does the client use the legs to create a strong base? Can the feet stay flexed with the little toe in line with the big toe? Can the legs stay together with the inner thighs connected? Do the hips open easily and the legs stay still?

Get The Two-Way Stretch

It’s all about oppositional pull

Now we are going into the intermediate realms! As the client rolls up can they reach with the fingertips and through the heels whilst drawing in the opposite direction with the navel to really create oppositional pull and space through the spine, further increasing the opening of the whole back line?

When these deeper elements are achieved in the client’s movement we see and feel the true magic! Now we are ready to higher or deeper still!!!

If you have enjoyed this please join us for The Moves workshop on 21st January where we will go deeper into the whole Mat Repertoire. For more information please click here.

One year ago! Where are they now??

As the final assessments are completed for the Spring Matwork10417597_781953875257664_1386087093206663367_n 2016 group, I was lucky enough to catch up with several of the 2015 Matwork graduates to discover how their Pilates classes, businesses and studios have been developing and flourishing. Louisa Hughes-Freeman, The Pilates Studio New Forest.

image2.PNGOne year on….I can’t believe it, time really does fly when you are having fun! Training to teach Pilates with Joanne Cobbe of JPilates was the best decision that I have ever made (apart from my children)!  I have a job that I absolutely love and have so many amazing clients.  It’s the perfect career for me, as I can work my classes around the children.  I set up my  own studio and am running 14 classes each week with 9-10 people in each class, but I have slotted them into my day to work around me. I’ve recently started teaching Barre Pilates (I also trained to do this with Jo) and I have put on 2 classes each week.  I love teaching Barre, it is a high intensity exercise done to music.  It’s really tough but you get results quickly and you have a lot of fun at the same time! My friends can see how happy my job makes me, so much so that one of them has recently signed up to train under Jo!  I would recommend this career to anyone thinking about training.

Amy Holmes, Saffron Pilates
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Wow, one year on and so much has changed! When I started my training with Jo I knew I loved Pilates but I had no idea where it was going to take me.Since qualifying I have trained in barre, pre and post natal, essential and progressive reformer and can't wait for the convention. Just over a month ago I after a lot of umming and ahhing I quit my full time corporate job in wine to teach Pilates full time. I can't pretend there haven't been sleepless nights and I'm sure there will be more but it was definitely one of the best decisions I've made.  I am now teaching at 3 different studios as well as running my own classes in Saffron Walden and I love it. Who knows what will happen in the next year!

Emily Roberts, Emily Roberts Fitness
unnamedWhen I decided to do the Level 3 Pilates course with JPilates one year ago I had only taken part in a few Pilates classes and I was fairly naive to the many benefits that Pilates can offer you. During the course I learnt in depth about the original 34 Pilates exercises and how to move my body with more control. We learnt about our limitations and how to correct technique in minute detail. The biggest learning curve for me was how to achieve greater mobility through the spine. The knowledge given to us on the course was extremely fascinating and invaluable and I left the course feeling confident to teach Pilates. Over time I have slowly developed my own style and now, having set up three private classes with my own equipment and four classes within gyms I am at the point where I would like to further my training and keep growing as an instructor. I get a great deal of job satisfaction from teaching Pilates and I have also loved introducing my friends and family to it. It is my strong belief that it should be part of everyone's lifestyle to ensure a healthy mind and body.

Rose Green, Rose Green Pilates
I aStylistm self emloyed and alongside my office sustainability consulting work have for the last year been working in London 1) at a physiotherapy studio in Camden, 2) doing staff classes at the British Library, and 3) teaching corporate classes (regular and one off) with Stretching the City across central London. I have just moved to Wiltshire into an army barracks and will soon start teaching at the camp gym. There are 300 people living on camp, as well as all of the hundreds that work here (but don't live on site) and I have already had masses of people desperate for me to start teaching as soon as possible because they want to come to the classes! The Pre & Post Natal course I did with JPilates last year is about to come in VERY handy! In due course I will also contact studios in Salisbury and plan to start advertising for private classes at people's homes. I am still doing part time consulting work, so will fit the consulting and Pilates around each other.
Pilates has had a huge impact on my life - before qualifying and since. My own personal practice has kept me strong and able to do the other things I love doing (boxing, running, kitesurfing) and has helped me manage various injuries on a day to day basis. Teaching has been the most incredible experience - developing relationships with clients, being able to help them with such a range of different needs, seeing others enthuse about pilates when you mention you teach, seeing clients progress in their capabilities, strength, flexibility. And it has made my own practice so much better as I came to understand better what the exercises were trying to achieve. It's been such fun teaching a really wide range of people, from those with very specific and/or serious injuries they're recovering from at the physiotherapy clinic, to young and energetic professionals at a trendy tech company, to the hilarious and chatty regulars at the British Library.

Sue Giltrane, SG Fitness Chelmsford
I can't believe it's only been a year wow , I actually feel as if I've been teaching Pilates a lot longer ! I'm now running 3 fully subscribed Pilates classes a week in Writtle with a waiting list for the evening sessions.  My husband has built a small summer house in the garden of which I use for 1-1 or 2-1 private sessions. Pilates has helped me with every client I have,  1-1 personal training clients and also my boot camp clients as I incorporate Pilates who ever I teach. I have found teaching Pilates so rewarding as Pilates is for everyone , the injured , the old , the less mobile , the sports person etc. I have made people feel better with there aches and pains and have very happy clients with what results they are getting from Pilates.
For full details on all out teacher training courses and workshops please click here

The Danger Of Pilates

images-16Beware! There is something dangerous about Pilates. Could it be one of the moves that should never be taught? Is it a spinal position that should be avoided at all costs? Is it a certain condition which is contraindicated for all exercises? No, it is a  thankfully rare species of Pilates instructor known as the Underminer. The Underminer can be easily identified by several traits. They openly criticise of other instructors and constantly question other instructors' training history. They can be seen aggressively policing other instructors' posts on social media, seeking to belittle them. They badger you to join their groups and Associations and try to create elite gangs where entry requirements are years and years of training under their approval. Yet the most revealing aspect is their complete lack of professional respect and courtesy which is frankly jaw-dropping!

The Underminer can sometimes appear when you begin to teach a new class in what they perceive as their territory. This is where they may feel threatened and concerned that the competition may affect their business and so begin to question your reputation. Admittedly we all can feel this way when new classes open, but how we react is what identifies us. If you find yourself in this position, I would suggest meeting for a coffee and discuss how you can mutually help each other by referrals and cover classes.

Social media forums seem to be the breeding ground of the Underminers  where they feel it is their right to bully, badger and criticise other instructors.

In an attempt to better understand this species of instructor, I try to look at their motivation in behaving in this way. One reason is the feeling of being threatened by other instructors. Another reason is simply egotistical. They have embarked on a global dominance of the Pilates world and seek to turn all instructors to their elite beliefs and style of teaching. Or is it simply financial? They want to gain as much financial benefit from training instructors as possible by shrouding the study of Pilates in mystery.  Benjamin Degenhardt recently posted,

"I often struggle being part of an industry that is trying its very hardest to make more of this thing called "Pilates" than it was designed to be: an approach to physical fitness and health that is inherently and utterly... simple."

and I couldn't agree more. This is not to say we never stop learning and our understanding of this amazing Method is a constant journey with revelations unfolding with each client we teach and every workshop we attend. But rather that no instructor should be judged unworthy or not capable simply on the stage of the journey they are at.

So how should we  deal with the Underminer on social media forumsPersonally I strenuously avoid any contact with them wherever possible. I refuse to engage with them and I believe that clients and other Pilates instructors can clearly see their true nature. If it does become unavoidable, I ask them to have a direct, personal  chat with me to discuss their comments and questions and I generally find with a quietly muttered "There's no need, thank you" they tend to scurry away.

If you are not already a member of the Underminer-free JPilates Forum on Facebook we would love to welcome you. It is incredibly supportive and friendly and is open to Pilates instructors from all training backgrounds. To join please click here

Posted on November 26, 2015 and filed under Joseph Pilates Pilates..., Uncategorized.

Pilates and Stroke Survivors-An Inspiration

831f5e8ed5ac74cbf8fe5dee48d9fb5dThe ability of Pilates to completely change and improve someone's quality of life never ceases to amaze me. It is a true testament to the life-long dedication that Joe Pilates gave to his method that it can improve and enhance the ability to move and function regardless of limitations. In my job as a Pilates instructor, I have met some truly inspirational and courageous people. One of them is my client, Sam. I first met Sam, a 40-year-old stroke survivor at Akasha Wellness last November about 8 months following her stroke. I had received a short email from her neurological physiotherapist explaining that she had weakness in her right hip and trunk and Pilates would help improve her static and dynamic posture. As with all conditions and injuries, it is only when we actually meet and see the client that we can fully understand and consider their exercise programme as no written referral notes can fully detail the extent and effect on the individual.

Sam was driven to the studio by a friend as she was unable to drive herself. She walked with a stick as she suffered from a lack of strength and mobility in her right leg with paralysis in her right arm. Both her right foot and hand were tightly curled with a complete lack of sensation. Sam could not move either limb unaided. Due to the stroke, Sam found it difficult to speak and express herself. As Sam had led an incredibly active life, swimming, horse-riding, tennis and running, the limitations she now faced made her  feel extremely frustrated, angry and helpless.

Pilates was obviously going to be highly beneficial for Sam. Nobel prize recipient Dr Roger Sperry said that the spine is the motor that drives the brain. According to his research,

"90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine"

Not only would the moves stimulate the brain's function and improve her strength and mobility but just as importantly, Pilates would encourage her to trust and appreciate again her body and mind.

Using the Reformer and closed kinetic chain exercises has been excellent for Sam as it allows her to push and pull against the apparatus, giving her enhanced feedback and deeper connection with her body. Constant reassurance is needed as Sam has lost confidence in her body and its movement.

After just a few sessions, Sam's foot and toes began to uncurl. By the end of each session the foot would be glowing with warmth and blood flow whereas at the start it was white and cold. Over the months Sam  stopped using the stick and began to drive herself again, which was a huge step in her independence. She was able to now move the leg unaided into positions.

With increased confidence Sam's progress has been fantastic. Her speech is much more fluid and spontaneous and her gait more balanced. She is incredibly strong in her abdominals and back and each session I am continually inspired by her dedication and determination. I hope one day soon Sam will join in the group sessions.

Working with Sam has been a truly incredible experience for me as an instructor, further proving how Pilates can and does help everyone regardless of injury, age or medical conditions.

Posted on October 12, 2015 and filed under Uncategorized.

Be a little more serious and a lot less solemn!

This week I found myself flicking through a gardening images-15magazine in a waiting room, (not my usual reading material but there was not much else on offer!) and I came across an article which really struck a chord with me and my thoughts on some aspects of the Pilates industry. The writer, Monty Don, was proposing that gardeners should be more serious and much less solemn  and I could see how his thoughts could definitely be also applied to some Pilates instructors, especially those who are incredibly vocal on various social media sites and forums.

"Seriousness underpins any endeavour worth doing and every life worth living. But whereas seriousness can be worn lightly, with grace and wit, solemnity carries with it the dead hand of the pedant and killjoy"

This is no more true when reading some of the comments and criticisms of those instructors who see themselves as being superior either in their training or knowledge to other fellow instructors. Sometimes Pilates just takes itself far to solemnly!

As Monty says,

"There is a time and place for solemnity. It is appropriate for births, funerals and grand occasions of state."

whereas being serious in our work shows a mark of respect for the Method, our clients and each other. It  still encourages discussion, healthy debate and (fingers crossed) a little  humour without producing the fear of reprisal and ostracism from the very community which should inspire and encourage us.

It is important to remember that as human beings we live in pursuit of happiness, of enjoyment. For us as Pilates instructors, this means encouraging the joy in mindful movement, the sense of well-being and health in a vibrant yet serious environment not only in our classes but in the Pilates world we live in.

So the only question now is do I subscribe to Gardeners World!

The Pilates Bean Bag Roll-up Device

IMG_0053Joseph Pilates was undoubtedly an inventor and a genius! He was definitely at least 50 years ahead of his time as so many people say. How did he know to create a piece of equipment to alleviate stressed out wrists, fingers, elbows and the upper body from hand-held devices and everyday living? This simple piece of equipment is fantastic for targeting those issues from carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritic fingers, tennis elbow to frozen shoulder. Instructions on how to use the Bean Bag Roll-up Device

1. Stand in Pilates stance, heels pressed together, toes pointing slightly outward or parallel with big toe knuckles together, depending on the needs of your client.

2. Stand tall, lengthening through the spine, focusing on each body segment being lifted and correctly placed over the one below.

3. Roll up the bag so it hangs just below the dowel. Hold the dowel in both hands straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Do not lock your elbows. Relax through the shoulders having a sense of the arms originating from the mid back.

4. Open the fingers of one hand, and point them toward the ceiling, wrist flexed backward as far as you can. The opposite hand grasps the dowel, fingers wrapped around it, wrist fully extended with knuckles facing the floor.

5. Slowly unwind the bag toward the floor, alternating the hand grasp between (a) open fingers pointing upward with flexed wrist and (b) grasped hand reaching downward in full wrist extension. Maximize the full flexion and extension of each wrist, and maintain good whole-body form from head to toe. Don’t forget to breathe fully in and out.

6. Once your bag reaches the floor, reverse the process and rewind back to the start position. Maintain full wrist flexion and extension on each move, and also maintain the correct body stance.

Note: If the exercise is too difficult, reduce the starting weight, and/or limit the length of the cord, so you unwind and rewind over a smaller distance. Concentrate on perfect whole-body form.

To increase the challenge, stand on a stair or a stool so you have to unwind and rewind over a greater distance. Begin with one full repetition, and then gradually add more weight. Work up to three full repetitions over time.

Here is also a short video demonstrating its use.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S444tTQSzxo]

The JPilates Bean Bag Roll-up Devices are available to buy for £20 each (+postage). Please contact info@jpilates.co.uk for more details

JPilates Mat Graduates Spring 2014-Where Are They Now?

After another amazing group of instructors have graduated in the Level 3 Diploma in Mat Pilates last weekend, I thought it would be great to catch up with the instructors who passed 12 months ago to see how their careers and businesses have developed since qualifying. Lauren Connelly, owner of Eyre Pilates London

8142be90-7881-484f-8db3-6b4af3f8fb58This last year has been a blast! I have had so much fun learning, making new friends and building a business. It has definitely been a roller coaster ride with a few low points but many more ups to make up for it. I have learn a lot about the body, different bodies, injuries, chronic health conditions and other stuff. The more I know the more I know I don't know and this is really important to remember when you are in the fitness/health industry.

I am currently teaching 1-2-1 Pilates sessions in my clients’ homes all around London. I also teach two group classes a week with about 8 in each which is a really nice change from 1-2-1's. I love that no one day is the same and the rewards I get from teaching are so vast that I have never looked back. I really enjoy the clients I have and hope to grow my business this year to the point where I do not have to have another job to supplement my income and where I can visit at least 4 people per day.

Contact Lauren at www.facebook.com/eyrepilates

Becky Uden, owner of Uden Pilates

IMG_3251Since qualifying last May I have been immersing myself in the Pilates space, doing tonnes of self practice, and teaching as much as I can to gain experience and build my confidence.I teach in a beautiful studio in Fitzroy Square, and alongside this I have my regular private clients for whom I do home visits.

I have recently started doing office visits, and see this area growing for me. I have 11 years experience in the corporate world, and understand the conditions most clients struggle with - stress & time constraints etc.  I offer a 45 minute class (in their board room) making it super easy for them to attend ;) In January I ran my first ever retreat, in France, which was a great success and something I plan on doing a lot more of in the years to come.

I feel incredibly grateful to be doing something I love, and my passion for the practice gets stronger every day. It has changed my life,  I am feeling so alive and inspired about the journey I am on.

My aim is to share with people he benefits of Pilates  and inspire people to be happy and lead a healthy life.

Thank you Jo for being so inspirational and making all of this possible for me. Pilates truly has changed my life .

Contact Becky at www.udenpilates.com

Pelin Adlan, owner of Happilates

pelinI have qualified from Matwork Pilates Level 3 course in May 2014.  After working in an office for the last 11 years and practicing Pilates as a hobby for the past 6 years, this course was the best thing ever happened to me as a career move as well as a life style change. I have slowly started getting studio cover jobs after applying to different studios. Through the studio covers I also got private/ one to one clients. Still  being the current full time office worker at the time, this course made me realize how much I need a career change in my life and with Jo's encouragement, help and support how I could actually make it happen. After only under a year, I now have 2 private clients and studio jobs in the evenings and at weekends.  I will keep my full time office work until September and then reduce it to part time to focus on my Pilates career even more.

I highly recommend doing this course, specially with JPilates as it is immensely recognized by  the many studios I covered over the year. I also can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed doing the course with Jo. Her energy, enthusiasm and teaching skills was spectacular and I still, when I teach, have her teaching voice in my ear as well as her encouraging words to become an instructor. She is also there to help you anytime even if you have qualified a year ago. You will also find that you will get to meet a lot of like-minded, friendly, positive individuals with a great energy. A decision well made if you choose this course as well as JPilates.

Contact Pelin at www. happilates.co.uk

Nimisha Campbell- Freelance instructor

Attachment-1My journey has been great, I have loved every minute thus far and am still enjoying it!  We qualified in May 2014 so I decided to set my first class up in Beaconsfield straight away!  It consisted of one paying customer and 3 friends, the best £10 I have ever earned!  I held the class at my house and it was great.. I did a few more classes on the run up to Summer then everything calmed down and I was concerned I wasn't getting any clients, only then to realise that things always calm down in August so I decided to take a leap of faith and to kick start things properly in September.  I hired a venue for 2 hrs on 2 different days and advertised my classes.  Online websites, one paying the rest free and leaflets all round the town!  It was a gentle start but I started my classes in September and now in April (8months later) I have 7 classes running In Beaconsfield and all are full with waiting lists!  I could easily do more and have new and recommended clients calling me all the time, I did actually contemplate employing an instructor to take a class I managed but I need to find someone first! Top tip - retaining a client is easier than getting a new one. Treat every class as if your best performance and you will reap the rewards! My highlight - getting texts and emails from clients saying how great you have made them feel :-)

Contact Nimisha by email:nimisha321@yahoo.co.uk

Rachel Nightingale, owner of Nightingale Pilates

Since qualification, business has grown from 1 class of 'testers' to 8 classes  - the most recent a complete beginner course. Mostly through word of mouth and local advertising. I have one off 1-1 and 2-1's and regular weekly clients. This is something I am going to do more work on throughout the year - or when my garage gets converted :) For the last month we have had 14 ladies coming along to Netball training - Team Boomerang :) Pilates girls coming back to Netball - using my Pe Experience with Pilates, we are taking part in a big 'Back to Netball' tournament this Saturday. February this year I ran first 'Tester' R & R Weekend - Pilates, walking/swimming, good food and good women (and wine) in deepest Dorset. We have 2 more booked and full for November 2015 and February 2016 - this might be something I try to expand, take further. JPilates Associates /Forums have been a constant and invaluable source of support, information and security.

Very much looking forward to the JPilates Convention, as I think its sooo important to keep learning.

Contact Rachel at www.facebook.com/nightingalepilates

Linda Johansson, owner of Reclaim Body Pilates.

Linda-S095I went straight into the Equipment training after the Mat Diploma to complete the JPilates Masters Certificate which finished in October, set up Reclaimbodypilates ,had a baby in November and am now easing back into it with a couple of weekly Matwork groups in Wandsworth, London.  I'm looking to add a bit of Equipment teaching as soon as the baby is a little bigger and I have a bit more time!

Contact Linda on: www.reclaimbodypilates.com 

I am so pleased to say that once again all our graduates are working in the Pilates industry. When deciding to embark on a new career path it is always important to consider the employment prospects once you have qualified and one of the most essential aspects of JPilates training is the continual support and encouragement given not only during your training but throughout your career in Pilates.

The next Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Mat Pilates begins in September 2015. For more information please click here.

Thoughts on a Workshop with Amy Taylor Alpers

Coach helping people with Pilates exercises.Last month I attended a workshop with Amy Taylor Alpers from The Pilates Center, Boulder, USA and I was absolutely blown away! The workshop was held at the beautiful Pepilates Studio near Clapham Common. On entering the studio, I braced myself for the usual greeting from many Pilates instructors of "So who did you train with?" and I was so pleasantly surprised to find that no one asked that question. In fact, throughout the whole workshop no one was judged or questioned about the authenticity or style of their training which I found so refreshing and respectful.

The day began with Amy giving a short bio about her own Pilates training and experience. From the outset the scale and depth of her training was apparent. She peppered the day with fantastic anecdotes of Joe Pilates that really helped to engage with his vision and the man himself. We were told to,

"Get your Joe on"

In other words to become Joe Pilates, to breathe like him, to be strong like him, to travel back in time where bodies were different due to a lack of sedentary living.

Although the title of the workshop suggested the day would be very anatomical and rather specific to one muscle, Accessing Your Psoas, the tagline, Creating True Integrated Movement, truely explained the content of the day. Looking back at the huge pile of notes I made I am astounded at all the material, exercises and concepts we covered.

I can honestly say that in the 6 hour workshop I learnt more than in any other workshop or course I have done. It was so inspiring and I highly recommend any Pilates instructor, when the opportunity comes again, to attend Amy's workshops. As I said I was blown away......!

How to encourage clients to practise Pilates at home.

"PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour"  So states Joe Pilates in Return to Life, yet how do we encourage this diligence in our clients? Joe Pilates insists on us never taking "the night off" and not succumbing to momentary weakness and Mary Bowen recalls how he required his clients to commit to a minimum of three sessions a week. We all know how such commitment to the system would produce incredible results but realistically many of our clients attend only one or two sessions due to financial, time or other restraints. So how can we encourage our clients to practise more in order to progress and address any issues? An easily accessible and effective way is to give them short videos to do at home and here is an example of the Swan Dive taught at a low level as a 3 minute fix.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HRkBdHLV9g]

It is simple to record, upload and edit on YouTube and even though I hate to see and hear myself on camera, clients love it-so lights, camera, ACTION!!

I would love to hear how you encourage your clients to practise more!

Never Stop Learning!

f19bed802da36bac0a7574ffba44bbf1At the beginning of any of our courses or workshops I tell instructors that we never stop learning, to question everything and to ask anything! This is the most crucial founding principal of JPilates training- to constantly learn and enhance our teaching skills and knowledge and to realise that we can not know everything. When a client asks a question or has an injury or condition that you are unfamiliar with or unsure of, it is much more professional to admit that you need to further research the subject and to promise to get back to them once you have sought further advice or knowledge. (You would then email or phone us if you wish!!) Guidelines and research constantly develop, evolve and sometimes contradict and so it is imperative that we keep up to date with changes and have a reliable source to refer to.

Each year I allocate time and finances to attend courses and workshops to further my own knowledge. This year I am looking forward to a workshop from the fabulous Amy Taylor Alpers and the Pilates On Tour Convention. I'll definitely share with you my thoughts on both events after.

Continual professional development needn't be expensive. It could be attending our monthly Instructor Only Classes or another instructor's class in your area and evaluate (to yourself of course!) aspects you enjoyed and areas which could be improved. Webinars are a great way of developing your knowledge of specific areas such as Scoliosis and we are always open to new topics for us to present.

For more information on all our qualificationscourses and workshops please visit www.jpilates.co.uk or contact info@jpilates.co.uk.

The Legalities Of Having a Website-Who Knew??

law-guide_bookYou all know how much I love my job of running a Pilates Teacher Training company and we all know how it is incredibly rewarding and inspiring to be involved in something we are so passionate about. The actual teaching, creating and developing  courses, qualifications and workshops is the fun part, what I find most challenging is application of the legalities of running a business, making sure that I tick every box when it comes to website and social media lawful requirements. A few weeks ago I saw on Facebook a post by the fantastic Suzanne Dibble, reminding me of the law when using social media. Delving deeper into her posts and website, I realised that I was missing two important policies on my website that are a legal must, Website Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy. The guidelines seem to be that if you offering more than just a small information-only website then you will need to post "Terms & Conditions" somewhere on your website and if you are collecting any data, e.g. email information, then you will most certainly need a Privacy Policy.

Both policies will vary to small  degree depending on your business but please take a look at the Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy on the JPilates website to help write yours if you wish. I know some of you may be thinking "Well of course you need these policies!" but just in case some of you didn't know........!

References

http://www.suzannedibble.com

Thank you to Akasha Wellness for allowing me to use their documents as templates!

Image from emplaw.co.uk

How to teach a beginner class to an experienced exerciser

Cheerful adult women doing stretching exercises on Pilates class.Recently I have been asked by several Pilates instructors how to teach beginner Pilates classes to experienced exercisers without boring them to death! Often these clients are used to training at high levels of intensity and it can be difficult to strike a balance between encouraging precision, integrity of movement and technique and maintain suitable intensity, focus and interest. First and foremost we need to understand and recognise the needs and goals of the client- why are they attending the class?

Since September I have been teaching at the beautiful, newly opened Reformer studio, Akasha Wellness. Almost all of the clients are new to Reformer and are attending in order to increase strength, flexibility and to be challenged! After ensuring that there are no injuries or conditions that may impact on their exercise programme, I teach fairly demanding classes, designed to enhance their strength, mobility and flexibility. Although I constantly embed and cue correct movement and technique, I see the achievement of precision as on-going task 1781921_729156613813298_3059734296895095942_nwhich can take weeks, months even years to attain. Perfect movement is not something that can be taught in the first few classes and in attempting to "over-correct" and "over-talk" we can restrict natural movement and reduce the sense of well-being. We need to allow clients to make mistakes without fear of failure. This is how we learn. Giving time to make mistakes and self correct teaches increased body awareness and self-responsibility for ones own practice.

Both instructors and clients should acknowledge that to achieve results, Pilates requires dedication and commitment. As Joe Pilates stated, “PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour” It is a long-term, lifestyle choice giving you time to strive for and achieve precision, control and flow.

For JPilates Associates, this month's Class Plan is a Matwork plan for the beginner but experienced exerciser. Contact info@jpilates.co.uk to request your copy.

Side note: We always need to have full understanding and knowledge of any injuries or conditions which may impact on exercise choice and intensity and seek medical consent if necessary.

 

You're hired! Top tips for success when auditioning for Pilates jobs.

alan-sugar-amstrad-and-the-apprenticeWith our Autumn Level 3 Diploma in Teaching Mat Pilates students due to sit their final assessments in a few weeks, we have been discussing the practicalities they will face once qualified and ready to launch themselves into our industry. One of the areas we have discussed is auditioning for jobs at Pilates studios-just what are studio owners looking for? Michelle Smith from the Pilates Pod, Hitchin has recently been interviewing for Pilates instructors to join their studio and here are her invaluable top tips!

  1. Arrive with at least 10 mins to spare. This will allow time for an introduction, to check out the studio, equipment and bodies participating. Arriving at the last minute or late makes me think you are unorganised and will be the same in the job. Saying “I didn’t have time to do that” just won’t cut it!
  2. Be confident but subtly so. We want to see you’ve got the confidence in your teaching, what you’re saying and having a good rapport with the bodies in the session and staff.
  3.  Be calm and prepared. Despite whatever stresses you’ve had in the day getting here, appear calm and in control. Plan your lesson in advance so you know what equipment you want, stay within the time limit and know what you want to get across.
  4. Treat the teaching as if it was a normal class. We want to see your style and personality, see you correct, modify and have fun  with the bodies in the session.
  5. Know your environment. What works for a gym style class with fitness adaptations, stretches and tone of language may not work for a  Pilates studio setting so remember to do your research in advance and plan accordingly.
  6. Swot up on the business you are applying for. The teaching part is one part but with a quick interview chat after we also want to see you know a bit about the company you are wanting to work for, and why you want to work for them.
  7. Impress us! This is your 15 minutes of fame so remember to show us the best bits about you and your teaching!

When looking for work at Pilates studios, I would strongly recommended offering to audition as often studios have cover lists.  Jo Webster from Akasha Wellness says "The key to a successful instructor audition is that they demonstrate a passion for Pilates, an ability to build a rapport with clients and a have a level of professionalism that will support the studio / brand"

So with all these fabulous tips success will be more or less guaranteed! Break a leg!

Pilates Pod are looking for instructors for full time positions and cover. For more information please contact info@thepilatespod.co.uk.

Just Love JPilates Associates!

Associates-LogoI have to admit that JPilates Associates is the best thing I have ever created! The founding principle of JPilates has always been to constantly support and develop a friendly, vibrant Pilates teacher community where any question can be asked, any concept can be openly discussed and ideas can be shared so that we constantly learn and progress and creating JPilates Associates has completely fulfilled this.

One of the areas I most love in my work is creating new adaptations and variations of exercises and then choreographing classes to further inspire instructors. Being able to offer Instructor Only Classes and Daily Fixes to you means that I can help bring fresh ideas and also practically address any areas you wish specifically targeted such as Pre Natal Pilates. This month I am so excited to have added a slow motion video of The Boomerang so you can really analyse the different elements of this fantastically dynamic move.

Another really rewarding aspect for me is being able to have individual mentoring time with you. This can either be for your own personal development where we work on your Pilates practise or further developing, focusing and structuring your business and marketing plans and ideas.

The Associates Area ensures that you keep up with recent research and continual professional development through articles and updates. We also review books & DVDs for you to help expand and enhance your own Pilates library.

I love being a part of this amazing Pilates community and our Virtual Night’s Out have been so successful with us enjoying a glass (or two!) in the comfort of our own homes chatting about all things Pilates. I love to hear us being able to support each other and offer advice and experiences.

So thank you to everyone who is part of this special community!

For more information please click here

Music- To Play or Not To Play!

images-4If you ask a Pilates instructor if they use music in their classes the answer is often an emphatic "Yes!" or a shocked "No!" The question of whether music enhances or distracts during Pilates is often a hotly debated one. Some may argue that it distracts from  the precision of the exercises and  the search for the mind-body connection especially for those new to the method, whereas others believe that music can immediately create the calm ambiance and focus which can be hard to achieve initially.

Music causes  incredibly powerful and profound effects  involving several response mechanisms. These include:

  • The psychosocial response- the spiritual and psychological response we have to music
  • The cortical response- creates visualisation and imagery
  • The limbic response-how we react emotionally
  • The thalamic response-automatic body response to the rhythm of the music
  • The corporeal response-our physical reaction to the different sound vibrations.

In the light of these responses surely music would help deepen and enhance our mind-body connection, breathing and awareness?

Music should always create and support smooth movement sequencing, integration of breath and enhance inward focus. It should never intrude, detract or dominate the class.

MFP Logo (For Jo)Lisa Horner, the co-founder of Music for Pilates, definitely believes in the importance of music in Pilates.

"I personally love using music in my Pilates classes. I find it creates a calm relaxed atmosphere so clients can really focus on the areas that we are working on, giving them that whole mind-body experience that Pilates requires. As a teacher I also find it calms my soul which reflects in my voice helping the clients to work in a more intensified, slow, controlled rhythm. This is why it is so important to me to find that right music, which was surprisingly difficult and frustrating. I would find a lovely piece and then right in the middle a random squawk or screech from an unrecognisable animal or a deep boom from a Didjeridoo, shaking you and the clients out of your serene place. There is also that "small" problem of paying for a PPL licence or finding music that is licence free. My husband Perry, is an international song writer and music producer, so it only seemed natural to create our own licence free music, forming "Music for Pilates". We set to work tweaking the bits I knew would not work and testing in my own classes, until we found the balance of rhythm and calmness just right for Pilates."

Music can also be used to choreograph the movements. This is definitely for the more advanced student where the movements seamlessly flow through a choreographed sequence adding more challenge and enhancing the movement dynamics. The Pilates Instructor Only Class on 22nd November will be a fully choreographed class set to some beautiful tracks from Music For Pilates. To book your class please contact info@jpilates.co.uk.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Why Dynamic Stretching is Perfect for Pilates

Man doing PilatesAll Pilates movements require a good balance between strength, mobility and flexibility for correct execution, but due to postural issues some additional flexibility work is required to establish good functional length and movement. Every stretch is either static or dynamic and passive or active. Static-passive stretching is the most commonly used and most recognisable, where the muscle is gradually taken to a point of mild tension and maintained for a period of time, relaxing while outside assistance is used to aid the stretch, such as a strap, body resistance or another person.

Dynamic-active stretching is performed by moving through a comfortable yet challenging range of motion repeatedly whilst actively contracting the muscle in opposition to the one you are stretching. The movement should be smooth and controlled and requires more co-ordination but improves functional mobility in sport and daily activities.

Research has shown, Herda TJ et al (2008), that although static-passive stretches are beneficial, dynamic-active stretches are more functionally effective. Strength is being built while performing the stretches as muscular force is required to generate the stretch but they can be lower risk as no external force is being applied.  The stretches are movement orientated which can help generate heat making the muscles more pliable and as there is muscle activation and contraction present, muscles are triggered to relax more. As one of the original principles is Flow, dynamic-active stretching really compliments Pilates classes bringing fluidity to the stretches and releases.

Please click here for a short video of a dynamic-active hamstring stretch.

Breathing- Is It That Important?

diaphragm[1]A short while ago I was contacted by a highly experienced instructor who was concerned as a newly qualified instructor had attended one of her classes and at the end had said that teaching the breathing is very out dated and no longer important. To me this demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of how important breath and the act of breathing was to Joseph Pilates and his work. The importance of breath in Pilates can be seen as far beyond the crucial role of respiration. It is the link between body, mind and spirit. It can promote awareness and attention, can enhance natural movement and aid relaxation. This relaxation or release of tension will then allow increased mobility and fluidity of movement.

Correct breathing patterns can enhance the connection between the deep abdominal muscles, pelvic floor and diaphragm, reversely if the diaphragm's movement is restricted, its can affect not only spinal stability and activation but also cause metabolic, respiratory and digestive issues. This can be apparent in clients with forward head posture where the phrenic nerve (the nerve that runs from C3-C5 and looks after the diaphragm) can become compressed and alter the neural feed to the diaphragm. If the diaphragm becomes inhibited it can mean less oxygen is reaching the body leading to a slower, weaker circulatory system which can cause dysfunction and complications.

The breathing patterns recorded by Joseph Pilates in "Return to Life Through Contrology" reflect how the breath enhances the movement patterns. Lateral, posterior breathing allows the lower ribs to remain mobile, so with the inhalation the ribcage expands upwards and laterally facilitating spinal extension. The opposite occurs with exhalation facilitating flexion. Joseph intuitively applied this to his instructions for movements such as Swan Dive and Double Leg Kick.

As Joseph stated, "Breathing is the first act of life, and the last... above all, learn to breathe correctly". When teaching, the breath forms the foundation to all the principles which are essential and integral to Pilates, it's importance should never be diminished.

Here's a short video showing an exercsie which can help to develop lateral, thoracic breathing.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hCJur3Z8Og]

Sources: kineticchainspecialist.com, ADAM

Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under The Anatomy of Pilates.