Tag Archives: Joseph Pilates

Pilates is Not Yoga

Pilates Is Not Yoga

PhotoCredit:greenwoodathleticclub.com

It’s almost 2015. Why are people still asking me what Pilates is, and if it’s Yoga? Why isn’t everyone practicing Pilates? All the cool kids are doing it; Gwyneth, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Beckam, Tiger, Kobe, Ugo, Oprah. And remember Pippa’s derriere? Nuff said.

I’ve been a Pilates Instructor, and practitioner, for several years and I can’t imagine my life without it. I don’t know a lot, but what I do know for certain is that every person, no matter their level of fitness, will benefit from Pilates.

A Brief History

Pilates founder and inventor, Joseph Pilates, was born in Germany, and moved to England where he was interned in a concentration camp. During this time, he began to develop an integrated, comprehensive system of physical exercise, which he called “Contrology.” He trained his fellow inmates and it’s told that these inmates survived the great pandemic of 1918 due to their good physical shape.

In 1925, Pilates migrated to the United States, and met his future wife, Clara, on the ship. The couple founded a studio in New York City, where they taught their students, including injured dancers, and athletes until 1967.

Did you read that? Athletes. Please stop saying that Pilates is for girls. Mr. Pilates was a man. He was also a boxer and a gymnast and I believe he smoked the occasional cigar. What’s more manly that that?

His method, which pays close attention to the core and postural muscles, helps to keep the body balanced and provides support for the spine. It requires patience and persistence. Mr. Pilates said, “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”

Can you sit in a chair, bend over and tie your shoes? Go ahead, try it.

Practicing Pilates is a way of life. It doesn’t stop when you leave the studio or your class ends. This is the beauty. I can preach its benefits all day long but I’d rather you experience it firsthand.

Now go give it a try and lift your thut!

Practice Pilates for Great Sex

woman-laying-downPractice Pilates for great sex. It works. Let me share the many ways that Pilates can improve your sex life.

I would hope that by now, all human inhabitants of Mother Earth know the benefits of physical fitness on leading a healthy life, resulting in more energy, confidence and less muffin top. The prouder you are of your physique, the more likely you’ll want to show it off, especially between the sheets. I feel so confident in bed, I should be getting paid. Wait. Never mind.

Here’s a break down using several Pilates principles by way of example.

If the pelvic floor muscles, which are a part of the core, (see article on core) are strong, then you’ll be able to increase tension, master movements and orgasm upon your command. One of the many beautiful side effects is the ability to contract and release at will. Pilates sure is empowering!

If you’re not sure where or what the pelvic floor muscles are, then as you continue to read this, pretend you’re going to pee your pants and then stop the flow of your pretend pee. Those are them.

Pilates exercises involve coordinating the breath with each movement. Emphasis is made on expansive inhalations and exhalations, which brings oxygenated blood to the muscles faster. When we can do this correctly, it leads to an increased blood flow to the sex organs. Who wants to suck wind when you’re having sex. Wouldn’t you rather be sucking something else. Whoa, where did that come from?

Controlled panting is what you want, and Pilates is a perfect way to practice that control. Since the system calls for muscle control, so as to perform each exercise accurately and precisely, you become more aware of how your body moves and the function each muscle has within that movement.

Pilates is a mind body system, so there’s a mental component. In teaching, I use imagery to achieve correct form. This requires a great deal of focus and concentration from my clients. Pilates requires impeccable form without extraneous movement, just like sex. It’s maximum sexual efficiency.

I’m not saying that by doing Pilates, it will turn you into a contortionist, but I can guarantee an increase in flexibility. The hip joints are especially worked in many of the exercises. Being able to get your legs over your head, or splay them out like a wishbone, can be very erotic. N’est pas?!

Stability plays a vital role in Pilates, where one’s core and balance is continuously being challenged. Don’t you think it would enhance playtime, if you were able to stabilize yourself in certain sexual positions?

Mr. Pilates designed a piece of equipment called the Cadillac, which includes an attachment called the Trapeze. It allows for super fun mobilization (movement). I have a feeling that Mr. Pilates knew exactly what he was doing when he brought out the Trapeze.

I believe, or I’d like to believe, that he wanted us to practice on the Trapeze, so that we might take those moves into our bedrooms and hang from the rafters, if you’re into extreme sports, or that you may fulfill your childhood dream of joining the circus.

Practicing Pilates has been proven to help with erectile dysfunction. Nuff said.

Get into the Pilates studio, so that you can mount your partner with confidence, zest, and without the fear of pulling a muscle.

Why Isn’t Everyone Doing Pilates? Part 1

Why isn’t everyone doing Pilates? Gwyneth, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston do. And , and did you see Pippa’s derriere? Need I say more?

I’ve been a Pilates instructor and practitioner for several years and I can’t imagine my life without it. And what I know for certain is that every person, no matter the level of fitness, can benefit from Pilates.

A Brief History

Pilates founder and inventor, Joseph Pilates, was born in Germany, and moved to England where he was interned in a concentration camp. During this time, he began to develop an integrated, comprehensive system of physical exercise, which he called “Contrology.” He trained his fellow inmates and it’s told that these inmates survived the great pandemic of 1918 due to their good physical shape.

In 1925, Pilates migrated to the United States, and met his future wife, Clara, on the ship. The couple founded a studio in New York City, where they taught their students, including injured dancers, and athletes until 1967. There are first generation ‘masters’ who are still teaching the method and keeping Mr. Pilates’s legacy alive.

His method encouraged the use of the mind to control the muscles. Attention is paid to core postural muscles, that help keep the human body balanced and that provide support for the spine. Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath, alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep abdominal muscles.

Pilates requires patience and persistence. It’s not about muscling through exercises or seeing how fast one can perform an exercise. Mr. Pilates believed that having a supple body that moves like a cat was healthier than having the body of a weight lifter. The exercises employ all of the bodies’ muscles, which results in proper development, leading to performing the work with “minimum effort and maximum pleasure.”

Pilates has many benefits including but not limited to the following:

Correct breathing

When one learns how to breathe properly, it improves lung capacity, and forces impurities out and clean air in. Pay attention the next time you’re working out and see if you’re holding your breath.

Improved posture

We lead a more sedentary life, spending a good portion of our days hunched over computers, car steering wheels or smart phones. This has an adverse affect on our posture, and can result in muscle imbalances, tight backs and weak cores. Pilates addresses these issues, focusing on rebalancing, strengthening and stretching.

Increased flexibility

Mr. Pilates said that you’re only as healthy as your spine is flexible. Can you sit in a chair, bend over and tie your shoes? Go ahead, try it.

“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference. In 20 you’ll see a difference. And in 30, you’ll be on your way to having a whole new body.” Joseph Pilates. I can personally attest to the accuracy of this quote. Those saddlebags that I was saddled with a few years ago, are gone and my ass is riding high. Ladies, what more can you ask for? And for men, you’ll be able to roll down and touch your toes without your hamstrings cramping.

Prevention

Practicing Pilates is more than a physical system of exercises. It’s the concentration and consciousness behind it. By practicing this method, you’re preparing your body for the unexpected. You’ll learn how to walk with a proper gait, making you feel taller, stronger and healthier. And how many times have you turned around to yell at your kids in the backseat of the car, because they’re fighting over the last carrot stick? When you practice Pilates, your body is ready for any sudden moves, twists and turns.

Practicing Pilates is a way of life. One doesn’t stop when you leave the studio or your class ends. This is the beauty. I can sit here all day and preach its benefits but I’d rather you experience it firsthand. Find a studio in your area and give it a shot. Email me if you need help finding a reputable studio or any other questions that you might have. I’m here for you.

Now go and lift your ass!

Read the rest of the articles in this series!

Why Pilates? Part 2: What Is The Core?

Why Pilates? Part 3: The Principles

Why Pilates? Part 4: Your Pilates Tool Kit

Why Pilates? Part 3: The Principles

Mr. Pilates called his method Contrology. You can read all about it in his book, Return To Life. These principles, or concepts, that I’m about to impart to you, did not come from Mr. Pilates directly. They’ve been distilled from his work by instructors that have been carrying on his method. We in the biz refer to these ‘legacy keepers’ as the elders. They are revered and respected, much like I am, if only in my head.

The Distilled Principles

Breath

This was Mr. Pilates’ A-number-one must have. Think about what would happen if we didn’t breath. He believed that the more one can pump the air in and out, the healthier the body. Coordinating the breath with the Pilates exercises is always emphasized. One of the many benefits from Pilates is greater lung capacity.

Control

When performing any and all of the exercises, every muscle is being controlled. Even if a muscle is not visibly working, it’s still being controlled by the muscle’s owner. That would be you.

Centering

Focus and energy are brought to the center of the body, where the Pilates exercises are initiated. The center of the body being the square (or rectangle) from armpit, down the side body, across the low belly, up the other side body to the other armpit and across to armpit number one. I’m sure there’s a more technical way of illustrating this but I’m not known for my technical acumen.

Concentration

Pilates is a mind-body system that requires the practitioner’s full and undivided attention. Concentration ensures that each exercise is performed with the most efficiency. I don’t recommend watching Jerseylicious while doing Pilates. You won’t be able to look away. From Jerseylicious, that is.

Precision

Each Pilates exercise requires specific placement of the body, and if using Pilates equipment, specific placement of the body in relation to the equipment. Proper body alignment is always a priority.

Flow

Ideally, a constant flow is applied to the exercises, moving gracefully and easily from one exercise to the next. If one is not flowing with concentration and control, the Pilates Reformer, for example, will make noise, as evidenced by the springs banging around. Some instructors, like yours truly, like to call this ‘crashing’ and I will shame and humiliate any client that ‘crashes’ their Reformer. Sometimes tough love is the only way.

When these principles are integrated and practiced as a whole, the results are kick-ass.  And you’re sure to get a kick-ass ass in no time.

Some Pilates training centers and instructors may include the principles listed below in their teachings as well:

Stabilization
Flexibility
Mobilization
Opposition
Range of Motion
Body Awareness

In my opinion they are all valuable, and a practitioner would benefit from learning all of them. They might also deepen their Pilates practice. And really, who doesn’t want to go deep?

Read the rest of the articles in this series!

Why Pilates? Part 1

Why Pilates? Part 2: What Is The Core?

Why Pilates? Part 4: Your Pilates Tool Kit

 

Sex & Pilates

This week marked the 44th anniversary of Joseph Pilates’ death. He died in 1967 at the age of 86. So it seems only fitting that I’d honor the man by exploring the many ways that Pilates can improve your sex life. As per usual, I speak from experience.

I would hope that by now, all human inhabitants of Mother Earth know the benefits to living a healthy life, and that physical fitness leads to more energy, more confidence and less muffin top. The prouder you are of your physique, the more likely you’ll want to show it off, especially between the sheets. Personally, I feel so confident in bed, I should be getting paid. Wait. Never mind.

By practicing Pilates, you will want it both morning and night and you will be outstanding at it. I’ll break it down by using several Pilates principles by way of example.

If the pelvic floor muscles, which are a part of the core, (see article on core) are strong, then you’ll be able to increase tension, master movements and orgasm upon your command. Since I’ve become a Pilates instructor, one of the many beautiful side effects is my ability to contract and release at will. Pilates sure is empowering!

If you’re not sure where or what the pelvic floor muscles are, then as you continue to read this, pretend you’re going to pee your pants and then stop the flow of your pretend pee. Those are them.

Pilates exercises involve coordinating the breath with each movement. Emphasis is made on expansive inhalations and exhalations, which brings oxygenated blood to the muscles faster. When we can do this correctly, it leads to an increased blood flow to the sex organs. And let’s face it, who wants to suck wind when you’re having sex. I’d rather be sucking something else. Whoa, where did that come from? Improved breath will increase stamina as well.

Controlled panting is what you want, and Pilates is a perfect way to practice that control. Since the system calls for muscle control, so as to perform each exercise accurately and precisely, you become more aware of how your body moves and the function each muscle has within that movement.

Pilates is a mind body system, so there’s also a mental component. In teaching, I use imagery to achieve correct form. This requires a great deal of focus and concentration from my clients. I have different images during sex, but I’m focused nonetheless. I’m looking for impeccable form without extraneous movement, just like Pilates requires. It’s maximum sexual efficiency.

I’m not saying that by doing Pilates, it can turn you into a contortionist, but I can guarantee an increase in flexibility. The hip joints especially are worked in many of the exercises. Being able to get your legs over your head, or splay them out like a wishbone, can be very erotic. It would be nice if the ladies could do that as well.

Stability plays a vital role in Pilates, where one’s core and balance is continuously being challenged. Don’t you think it would enhance playtime, if you were able to stabilize yourself in certain sexual positions? Doggie style comes to mind, which requires balancing on all fours (some of us in the Pilates biz call this position quadruped) while your partner thrusts, bumps and grinds, shaking your foundation.

My personal example of stability and sex, includes straddling my stud like the stallion he is. I lift my knees up and off the mattress, so that I’m, not only balancing, but since my weight is shifted back on my heels, I use my glutes (ass) and hamstrings, instead of my thighs. Hello Pilates!

Mr. Pilates designed a piece of equipment called the Cadillac, which includes an attachment called the Trapeze. It allows for super fun mobilization (movement). I have a feeling that Mr. Pilates knew exactly what he was doing when he brought out the Trapeze.

I believe, or I’d like to believe, that he wanted us to practice on the Trapeze, so that we might take those moves into our bedrooms and hang from the rafters, if you’re the extreme sports type of person that is. Or so that you might fulfill your childhood dream of joining the circus.

Practicing Pilates has been proven to help with erectile dysfunction. I know nothing about this, given that my lover has the stamina and control of an 18 year old, or that of Sting. And since he’s been practicing Pilates, E.D. isn’t his problem. Making sure that the refrigerator door is shut is his problem. We all have our crosses to bear.

Now, get into the Pilates studio, so that you can mount your partner with confidence, zest, and without the fear of pulling a muscle in your groin.