Embrace the small class size and do not be intimidated. Coordination is not required and all levels can work side by side. Finally, be present in mind and body during each and every class. You will love Pilates!Read More
The great news is that you can focus on exercises that create more definition and shape. Standard crunches from the floor are not very effective for toning because they target mostly the surface rectus abdominus muscle group.Read More
I’m the first to admit it—I love shiny new things.
I’m constantly mulling over the idea of moving my studio to another physical location that’s less….um, old? Apologies to my landlord if he reads this but it's a fact that we are not the prettiest building on the block. And to our students, thank you for seeing beauty more than skin deep. Even though here in Texas, size and glamour definitely matter.
Sure, I dream of that big, beautiful new space. But holy cash cow! The price of retail space! I started adding up the cost of making that work. And soul searching. And making a list of priorities.
The price of devotion
Fortunately, I have a decision-making process that allows me to get gut-level honest with what matters. What surfaced for me was that I always want to put people FIRST. This is a business that truly belongs to the instructors who teach here. They are a physical therapist, a seasoned dance teacher, a prenatal specialist, several PMA board certified instructors, and a trauma care volunteer.
More than that they are fanatically devoted to the art of pilates. They each have each spent many years studying and specializing in the various divisions of pilates. And yet they are increasingly difficult to find and hire now that many studios cut costs with instructor training ranging from a weekend to 5 days.
We do what it takes
I fully appreciate that a Pilates studio is a small business and that someone’s livelihood is at stake. But 2-5 days of training is not nearly sufficient for the expertise that is expected from our customers. On a survey that I sent out to over 225 new students this year, over 40% reported having existing injuries, including spine and joint problems. Many of these cite injury as their motivation to seek pilates to begin with. But it’s not even good enough to keep people safe—they also anticipate being in tip-top-sparkling shape after spending the money for private and small group lessons. I rely completely upon talented instructors to deliver the goods.
So how’s a girl (the “boss”) supposed to feel, wanting that shiny new space but knowing it may require a big compromise on staff and quality to make those numbers add up?
My first thought is…grateful. I’m simply overwhelmed with gratitude with where I am right now, in this building, with you, with my team. Things are just things, but relationships are timeless.
Secondly, I am patient. There’s peace in knowing that all things happen in their season.
Thanks for helping support Pilates as a skilled profession. You can support the studio by telling your friends about us and by giving your honest reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Google.
While it may be counter-intuitive, backing off from that ambitious workout plan may be the best thing you can do to avoid total burnout. Here’s how to manage your expectations and come out the other side even stronger.Read More
Do you ever feel like there isn't enough time in the day to do what needs to be done?
Is it difficult for you to switch off your brain when you actually have time to rest?
Our world is moving so fast, and we feel like we have to stay in high gear in order to keep up. Physiologically-speaking, 'high gear' would be the equivalent of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the system that regulates the fight-or-flight response. Now, the fight-or-flight response gets a pretty bad rap these days, though it really does deserve some positive recognition. After all, this response is what has helped us as a human race survive through trying times. The problem lies in that the fight-or-flight response has become a sustained state of being because we don't let our guard down long enough to give our sympathetic nervous system a chance to down-regulate. This sounds tricky, but the down-regulation of the sympathetic nervous system, and subsequent activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (the 'rest-and-digest' system), can be as simple as taking a few deep, slow breaths.
Life becomes a whole lot easier when we take a few minutes in our day to slow things down. When we make room in our day for some sort of stillness (this can be a 20-minute nap, listening to a guided meditation, deep breathing exercises, or anything that serves to slow down your mind and heart rate), we can return to our normal routine with a renewed sense of calm and mental acuity. Believe it or not, we will actually be more productive after slowing things down for a bit :)
Developing a practice of stillness during the day can also help improve our sleep. A practice of stillness is just that, practice! We get better at it the more we do it, and this will manifest in all areas of our lives, including our sleep patterns.
So, give yourself a little break. You deserve to look after yourself. Not only you, but everyone around you will benefit from your calm, centered, focused, more rested, and at-peace presence :)
Today (a poem by Mary Oliver)
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
Here's what you can do right now.
A couple of my favorite sympathetic nervous system down-regulators:
Deepak Chopra's 'The Secret of Healing' meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uin2q_hEHlU
Dr. Andrew Weil's '4-7-8 Breathing Technique' tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz4G31LGyog
Alison Lumley, MSAOM, L.Ac.
Do you really enjoy working out?
Yep, that’s a serious question. Really. Stop for a moment and consider it. Do you LOVE showing up to your pilates studio, gym, barre method, spinning studio, etc?
You may even be thinking, “Does anyone actually enjoy those things?”
Before owning a pilates studio, I made a living teaching pilates 15-30 times per week.... for the last 15 years! In order to pay the bills, my clients HAD to love working with me.
I have talked to thousands of people about fitness and I know 2 things to be unquestionably true:
If you don’t love it, you won’t stick with it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the best location, the nicest facility, the best instructor, or the best price (truth is, most Groupon users don’t stick around). If you, the fitness consumer, doesn’t enjoy it, it won’t last. [gyms bank on this when selling memberships, but that’s another story]
I often hear the following from my clients who try new classes at various places around town:
“That was the most killer workout! It was so hard! I couldn’t sit down for 3 days!!”.
Now, I fully support trying new things. I regularly go to other studios, and have fun trying all the new things for myself. But I do wonder, how often do we repeat this type of workout? Every day, every week, once a year…..NEVER!?
Which brings me to the second truth:
If you don’t stick with it, you won’t get results.
Ah, that’s the rub. You know that you need to show up 3-5 times per week to see results. But how many times have you made promises to yourself, or even bought a membership, and (gasp!) FAILED?
How awful does that feel? I’m not a fan of exercise shame; it causes people to give up.
Our human nature is to push harder for the elusive quick fix, when that mentality won’t get you fitter any faster. At some point, you are better off just putting on your shoes and going for a walk 10 minutes a day, which has proven benefits you can live with.
I really get a kick out of describing Pilates like this:
"It’s the most benefit for the least amount of pain. It’s hands-down the most pleasant workout I know of, and the results still happen. Because it is so easy on the joints, you aren’t sore like other workouts, so your brain doesn’t register the discomfort and you won’t hate it. Which motivates you to come back the next day." Voila!
I can’t help but notice that Pilates clients enjoy the way their body moves. They feel lengthened and de-stressed afterwards. The strength appears rather quickly, and life changes for the better.
If you have a tough time sticking with your workout, give pilates a try (or a second try)! Let us help you get into the rhythm of an active life.
About the author: Stephanie Evans is an enthusiastic Pilates instructor and studio owner who wants to share her love of pilates with you too.
855 Davis Blvd. Southlake, TX
If you struggle to make time for exercise, you are not alone. I tell my clients to just get it on the schedule, it’s half the battle. Then arrive—your makeup and hairdo aren’t impressing anyone so don’t add to your to-do list.Read More
Ok, I get it. You’re inexperienced. Uncoordinated. Not flexible. Hate working out. Believe it or not, I have heard this a few times before.
Let me first say that I have been there....Read More
Pilates is all about technique, not how many springs you can load onto the machine at once. As you begin to feel the right way to do the exercises, the exercises actually get harder. That’s when people fall in love with Pilates.Read More
“My favorite thing about Pilates is how energized and relaxed I feel after finishing a workout. I also love to see how Pilates has helped me progress and advance in other fitness activities,” said Amanda. “Pilates has significantly helped my posture and helped my body feel more balanced throughout the day. Before Pilates, I would often sleep unsettled and wake with pains in my neck and back. I've noticed huge improvements since my journey with Pilates has begun.”Read More
ELDOA: Groundbreaking exercise technique for back pain, disc bulges, and spinal pathologies.
Joseph Pilates once said “Change happens through movement and movement heals”. Thanks to the contributions of another visionary, Guy Voyer, DO, we now have a better shot at pinpointing the right movement, with the right force, in the right location..........Read More
TRUE: A level 2/3 class is characterized by more advanced SKILLS. See if you recognize some of these exercises by name. If not, or if you wouldn’t consider doing them, you may not be at this level just yet...Read More
On his way home from work one day in April 2013, Justin Elliott was shot in the head by an unknown assailant, a tragic event that claimed his eyesight and forever changed the course of his life. Many months of hospitalization and over a dozen surgeries to his facial bones left him considerably weakened. But today he’s visiting Purely Pilates Center and sitting patiently for an interview, following a tough workout. Justin tells us, “I was always a strong guy, but (afterwards) I had none of this (points to his core). I couldn’t do a sit up.”
As fate would have it, Justin’s next door neighbor just happens to be pilates instructor Nicole Lockhart. Nicole said, “My first thought was ‘he needs pilates’. Of course!”. (And we all giggle).
Luckily, Nicole persisted and eventually got Justin into the pilates studio. Nicole says the process of working with Justin revealed much about her own teaching style. Since Justin had no idea what pilates was (he researched it after Nicole had already roped him in) he relied on touch in the early stages. Nicole would perform a movement, and with his dad’s help, Justin would feel the position of her hand on the footbar, foot against the box, and so on.
In a discussion with Justin and Mike, Justin’s dad, they revealed that traditional physical therapy, while useful in initial stages of injury, gave them a few exercises whereas pilates gave Justin a sense of well-being, overall strength, better mobility and balance. In spending an hour watching him work, it is clear he is a man on a mission. He listens with intensity and puts his best effort forward. As he works up a sweat, Nicole gives a string of verbal cues that would make most folks dizzy. Justin says that as long has he knows all the steps ahead of time, he feels comfortable to keep moving. And move he does! This workout is no joke. Many of the movements would be a challenge to someone with full eyesight.
Nicole says that Justin is actually one of the easiest people to work with because of his keen listening skills and his willingness to trust the process.
Getting back to his former strength is clearly a high priority. Justin, who is now a motivational speaker at local colleges, says that his message is simple: you can focus on your limitations, or you can accept what IS and go forward from there. He’s aware of a common thread, which is that everyone has limitations, it’s what you do with them that counts.
As Pilates exercise grows in popularity, consumer choices are broader than ever. While Pilates is by no means inexpensive anywhere (read Why is Pilates So Darn Expensive), the quality of classes and instructors is all over the map. Consequently, so are your results! So how do you know if you are investing wisely in your training?Read More
The reason I love working on the springboard with my athletes is because of the flexibility it gives me to adjust the spring height to the appropriate height of my client. Pictured is Sarah, tennis player, practicing her forehand. Using the springboard to practice both forehand and backhand shots allows Sarah to simulate swinging her tennis racket while perfecting her footwork, engaging her core muscles and strengthening her swing. It doesn't matter what sport you play, if you use your arms, legs and core while playing, the springboard is one piece of equipment you want to use on a regular basis.
Written by Nicole Lockhart, Certified Pilates Instructor.
During pregnancy, the abdominals and their connective tissue are designed to stretch and expand, which is a process that is natural and necessary to accommodate the growing uterus and baby. With your body going through numerous physical changes, your workout and fitness goals need to look very different!
Here are some important tips to consider while exercising during your pregnancy:
1. One of the main goals of your workout during pregnancy should be to maintain strong and supportive abdominals without putting too much stress on them.
Strong abs will support your posture, including lower back and pelvis, and will ultimately assist in childbirth. Your body is changing, and your priorities and lifestyle are going to be changing too. Your pilates workout is an opportunity to reflect these changes while you transition.
2. Starting at your second trimester, you should avoid all exercises involving flexion from a supine position.
A good example of flexion is a standard sit-up or "crunch". This movement can worsen diastasis recti, the separation of the rectus abdmoninus muscle at the linea alba. Although this is a common condition, we want to protect and heal the abdominals so that you can regain your pre-baby shape as soon as possible!
3. Be aware of changes in balance!
Your balance is going to continually change throughout your pregnancy, and it is something to be aware of to protect yourself and your baby. The dimensions and weight of your growing uterus influence the musculoskeletal structure of your body. Be kind to your changing body, and adapt as necessary.
4. Have fun!
Let this be an enjoyable time for you. Your pilates workout is an opportunity to let go of all your stress and anxiety, and to just focus on the movement at hand. By investing into your body, you are ultimately investing into your child as well. It is important to take time to care for yourself so that you can be the best mother you can be!
Taking pilates during pregnancy (if cleared by your doctor) can be incredibly beneficial when when it is done correctly. I would suggest doing your research and hiring a nationally certified pilates instructor to coach you through it. As always, be kind to yourself and have fun!
Written by Meaghan Biggio Hampton, Certified Pilates Instructor and perinatal specialist. Read more about Meaghan here.
So why try a Springboard class? Even if you regularly take reformer classes, incorporating some Springboard classes will help you quickly break through that fitness plateau.Read More
Nowadays it seems there is a new fitness boutique on every corner. Unfortunately, the term Pilates in the name of a business is often misleading. More than a few places that say they offer Pilates actually borrow the phrase for marketing. Terms like "pilates inspired" indicate that their method has very little to do with the real thing. Pilates (the real deal) consists of hundreds of unique exercises with very specific names, performed on pilates equipment and/or the floor, executed in a sequence designed to create muscle balance and overall health. Not that other exercise methods aren't capable of working beautifully, it's just that actual pilates is a method like no other. And when it's done well, it yields results that are deeply felt in body and mind. So how can you tell the difference?
Here's are 3 questions to ask your Instructor:
1. Where did you acquire certification?
A nationally recognized certification requires upwards of 450 hours of coursework, including thorough study of the muscles and their function, and how to modify for injuries. There is no weekend-long course that provides an education on all the equipment (with 500+ detailed movements); that would be impossible! And if the answer is "no certification at all", run for the hills! Would you hire a personal trainer or massage therapist with no credentials? Probably not.
2. How can you help me reach my goals?
A great instructor will be able to select exercises for you based on your goals, body style, sport, and dozens of other factors. She (or he) will likely give you a mouthful (and not shut up) if you let them. We assume anyone who undertakes training with an instructor has a goal in mind, and a skilled trainer will have a road map to meeting that goal. Pilates is designed to be customized, not "one size fits all".
3. Who is in your referral network?
A savvy instructor knows where her (or his) skill set ends and when to refer to another professional. Pilates clients often arrive at pilates when injuries and health conditions leave them unable to do what they love. Certified instructors have the training to spot an impending back problem, and they know when that achy knee needs a pro opinion. There is a reason physical therapists and chiropractors refer to pilates studios. Truly ethical instructors are driven by the love of pilates and the health of their clients, not a paycheck. And a good business that offers "real pilates" would expect nothing less.
written by Stephanie Evans/ Dec 18, 2015