Protected: Welcome to my Transitions on the Reformer Workshop 2021

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Protected: Welcome to the Cadillac Project 2021!

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The Pilates System: The Cadillac Environment

Shoulder Roll Down on the Cadillac

Hello all you Pilates cats and kittens!

Welcome to one of my very favorite weeks of the year, that mellow, holiday-between-holidays, last. week. of the year.

2021, I've got my eyes (and hopes) on you.

Post-feasting is when I need my Pilates exercises the most. They are just the best twisty-turny things to work out the gut. Even foods that can mightily tax your digestive system are no match for a Reformer workout.

Meanwhile, Back at the Cadillac…

Continuing from last week's post I've been taking a good hard look at Joe Pilates' Cadillac apparatus.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Joe Pilates giveth and Joe Pilates taketh away.

One Solid Bar vs 2 Wambly Springs

On the Cadillac apparatus, we've got lots of Joe's goodies to work with: there are individual springs, a wooden pole attached with 2 short springs, a solid wooden push-thru bar, the firm surface of the mat, a hanging trapeze with stout springs, 2 fuzzy loops, and the steel poles of the canopy.

Some places to work are very solid and supportive:

  • a solid wooden push-thru bar
  • the firm surface of the mat
  • the steel poles of the canopy

Other places to work may literally leave you hanging in the breeze:

  • individual springs
  • a hanging trapeze with stout springs
  • 2 fuzzy loops

Lots of choices to be made.

Scroll up for another look at the image of the Shoulder Roll Down.

Now take a look at another exercise where you are in the same position in an entirely different scenario:

Leg Springs in the Air on the Cadillac

Here in the Leg Springs in the Air, there's not as much to stand on, right?

You'll find all kinds of Joe Pilates' tricks like this throughout the Cadillac repertoire. Probably not a coincidence…

The Spring Remains the Same…or does it?

The Cadillac apparatus is equipped with 4 different sets of interchangeable springs.

Sure they have specific names: arm springs, leg springs, roll back bar springs and push thru springs.

But depending on who you are, what you are looking for, and your proficiency, you may decide on a specific spring to assist you on your Pilates Path.

For example, on my Gratz Cadillac I find more success using the lighter arm springs for the Leg Spring Series.

Joe's original name for his method was Contrology, or the study of control.

That's really what we're after, right?

Control.

Whichever spring elicits the help you need to be in control is the one you want.

And then there's also the option of no spring at all.

More on that in January…

Only 3 spots remaining in The Cadillac Project.

Got questions? Leave a comment below and I'm happy to help.

Reserve your spot today.

The Cadillac: Simply the Best

The CadillacOne of my favorite elements of the Pilates System is that nothing is arbitrary.

“There IS a reason,” says Joe Pilates, for all of our protocols and exercises and apparatuses.

Each apparatus in the studio has a special purpose or it wouldn't be there, right?

All the apparatuses exist to assist and support your efforts. And of course, they mingle their help with challenge, like everything else in this brilliant method.

Joe Pilates' First Invention

What niche does the Cadillac fill in the Pilates studio?

Like so many things in the Pilates Method – the Teaser, the Hundred – the Cadillac has a reputation.

She's the favorite “feel-good” and “stretchy” workout your clients demand. Who cares about the oppressive Reformer, that unforgiving Mat or those impossible Chairs?

And it’s always the Cadillac who welcomes you when you “just want to wake the f*** up…”

The Best of its Kind

It's rumored that Joe Pilates called his invention the Cadillac after a mid-20th-century advertisement proclaiming General Motors' Cadillac automobile to be the best of its kind.

A couple of years ago I investigated this story.

And does anyone complain about having to use the Cadillac? I've only heard glowing reviews from clients – the Cadillac is decidedly more popular than the Reformer… or the Mat… or anything else in the studio really…

Cadillac as Laboratory

The repertoire of Cadillac exercises is vast.

And there's something for everyone.

On the Cadillac, you'll find…

  • …an easy place to lie down if you can't get down on the floor.
  • …a mat that offers full-body support and is a template for your tall standing position (lying down).
  • …a place to get assistance to learn how to roll your body up and down on the Mat.
  • …a boatload of exercises which can be straightforward places to learn not-so-straightforward exercises on the Reformer and Mat.
  • …a place to advance your standing exercises with assistance from a spring.
  • …a nice place to hold on while you balance on one leg.
  • …a great place to invert the lower body for beginners.
  • …a fun place to invert the entire body for advanced practitioners.

Oh gosh there's so much to do here! So many possibilities within the canopy of the Cadillac

Pilates Confession Time

I've never liked the Leg Spring Series on the Cadillac.

Nope. Not one bit.

It's not that I don't do them… I've been doing them for years. They're not great, but little by little they get better.

Curiously, I love love LOVE the Frog and Circles on the Reformer.

What makes the same exercises done on different apparatus so…different?

And by ‘different' I mean vexing.

See what you think:

 

The Cadillac version

Frog in Leg Springs on Cadillac

 

The Reformer version

Frog on the Reformer

Looks kinda the same, right?

But looks can be deceiving.

What's the same?

  • The position of most of the body is the same. In both exercises, you have each foot in its own strap.
  • The choreography is the same.
  • The support you receive from the apparatus is similar.

What's different?

  • The Cadillac is not a moving platform.
  • On the Cadillac, each foot is directly attached to the spring. The Reformer connects you to the spring system which resides underneath the carriage. On the Cadillac, this direct attachment to the spring makes control more difficult.
  • The position of the upper body and the arms is different. On the Cadillac, the arm position is advantageous to help lift and engage the entire trunk of the body. It's also the most solid support you get in the exercise here.
  • And look at the position of my ribcage. Never underestimate the power of the headpiece on the Reformer.

Think about the Footwork series we do (everywhere) on the Reformer.

It's very reminiscent of the Frog, yes?

That footbar is so solid and supportive. Yet fleeting.

Joseph Pilates giveth and Joseph Pilates taketh away…

Over time, you'll ween yourself from Footwork done with the stout footbar to the less supportive long black straps for the Frog to the foot-directly-connected-to-spring instability on the Cadillac for the Leg Spring Series.

“These things take time,” Jay Grimes tells me.

Where are we going?

Think of the Cadillac as a stepping stone from the compressive support of the Reformer and Wunda Chair on your way to going it alone on the Mat.

Some support you'll receive from the Cadillac will be considerable: All that stuff with the Push Through Bar. It's probably not an accident the push-thru springs are the heaviest springs in the studio.

Meanwhile on the other side of the Cadillac: the Roll Down Bar…I smell unstable support here!

The Cadillac Project

You know how much I love a good Pilates Project. In September my workshop focused on the Wunda Chair.

Join me in January 2021 for a deep dive into the vast repertoire of the Cadillac. On the Cadillac, there are so many ways to enhance and challenge our Pilates workout all around the studio.

Go full-on remedial to reinforce fundamentals, or channel your inner circus performer with gravity-defying exercises hanging from the canopy.

I love to work the system via the lens of a good ol' Pilates Project.

Currently, I've got 2 projects in the works for my body – I'll bet you can guess LOL

My Cadillac Project #1: Building Symmetry

  • Leg Springs Series
  • Leg Springs Series – One Leg
  • Airplane (with the Airplane board)
  • Roll Back with One Arm
  • Tower
  • Tower – One Leg
  • Monkey
  • Monkey – One Leg
  • Shoulder Roll Down (the Sari)
  • Push Thru
  • Push Thru One Arm
  • Standing Stretches in the fuzzies
  • Standing Boxing
  • Standing Lunges
  • Squats
  • One Leg Squats

Wheee!

This one's a wild ride that takes me from lying down to the one leg squats.

All is possible on the magnificent Cadillac!

My Cadillac Project #2: Creating the Round Back Shape

What makes a round shape? It can be a struggle for me. Notice some exercises even make both of my projects!

  • Leg Springs – One Leg
  • Airplane
  • Roll Back
  • Tower
  • Push Through
  • Reverse Push Through
  • Seated Tower
  • Half Hang

What kind of Pilates Project will you create on the Cadillac?

In a total of 8 workshop hours, you'll explore the fundamental forces of 2-way stretch as you experieince as many of our meat-and-potatoes Cadillac exercises as time will allow.

You'll build a Pilates Project of your own along the way.

The Cadillac Project will meet 4 Thursdays in January: January 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2021.

Class time is 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Cadillac or Tower Unit
  2. Pilates experience

Just a few spots remaining.

Use this link to join in the fun:

Yes! I love the Cadillac!

Get a glimpse of The Cadillac Project in this week's video.

Thanks for watching!

Pilates in the Year 2020 and Beyond… what I’ll be up to in 2021

The Path to Mastery 2020

Hey there!

Who else can't believe it's October?

It's good news, somewhat. It's my favorite month! It's got my birthday right smack in the middle of it on The Ides of October and it's got Halloween. So that's a plus.

On the other hand, 2020 pretty much feels like the year that will never end.

At least there's oodles of time to commit to your Pilates practice.

Who else is really excited about things you can control?

I've been thinking about you and your Pilates workout.

Maybe you've come across this book?

Amazon.com: Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy eBook: Steel, John Howard: Kindle Store

In Caged Lion: Joseph Pilates and His Legacy, author John Howard Steel shares his experience and friendship with Joe and Clara Pilates. He also gives us youngsters a window into what it was like to work out in the Pilates' gym.

Yes, gym.

Everyone was responsible for his/her own workout: working, moving, sweating, and getting in “the zone.” This is the laser focus of the Pilates workout. This is ownership of your workout. Your hour of learning about YOU.

Moving. Focusing. Letting the exercises do their magic. Over time. Even if you don't think you're particularly good at them. Trust. They are working.

Movement heals.

Movement heals if you actually MOVE.

You make moving it along a priority.

Steady as she goes…

You know me, I'm a reformed slow-poke (ha ha pun not intended!). I'd like nothing better than to micromanage my body and get it all to work together perfectly.

Maybe you wish you could do that too.

Wishing doesn't make it so.

Think for a moment what that movement gives to your mind as well as your body.

Pilates is positive. It's up and forward. It is the internal housekeeping of your body. You are massaging your very guts for an hour. It's the gift you give yourself so you can run, walk, play and indulge in your life, your life's work, your pleasures.

A Pilates workout by yourself or with an instructor should leave you feeling empowered, emboldened and ready to take on the world. Maybe sometimes you'll be amazed by what you do!

That's my favorite part.

That moment when you accomplish even one moment that surprises you.

I remember the last one of those very vividly: 5 brisk Teasers on the Guillotine. At the end of my lesson. Of the Mat. Yeah, totally didn't see that coming…

Meanwhile…

A big thank you to everyone who participated in my September workshop, The Wunda Chair Project. It's been a fantastic month of learning and examining the lion's share of our Wunda Chair exercises. The Wunda is truly inexhaustible. It's amazing what can be accomplished and addressed on this petite but mighty apparatus.

As you might have guessed, I'm a big fan of the Pilates Project.

There's a ton of Pilates Projects on the blog. Read a few more of them here, here and here.

(Pilatesology subscribers, check out this Pilates Project on the Control Balance Step Off on the Reformer.)

The Pilates Method is ripe for this kind of exploration. As one workshop participant put it so perfectly, “My whole life is a Pilates Project!”

I feel you.

That moment when you've got one wobbly side of the Mountain Climb and it suddenly dons on you:

This is not the Pilates Olympics. The goal is not a flawless Mountain Climb. The goal is to walk tall and with confidence as you go about your day being your very best self.

That feeling – that confidence – is priceless.

Good news:

A Pilates Project for the Cadillac!

The Cadillac

The Cadillac is where the magic happens, right?

It serves everyone you could possibly conjure up: from the frailest individual to the circus performer to everyone in between.

From Leg Springs and Arm Springs to the Standing Arm Spring Series and the Flying Squirrel, there's an opportunity to improve all our Pilates exercises in the studio.

I had a reluctance I could never place with regard to working on the Cadillac.

Oh, I'm always on board for hanging upside down, but historically I'd rather shoot myself than do the Leg Springs series. And why do so many people LOVE those lying down Arm Springs? They are ridiculous!!

But the first step is admitting you have a problem.

What luck! I've got several 😏

Having recently “conquered” the Wild Wild Wunda, I hope to build a more proficient relationship with the Cadillac… with some hanging upside down fun included at the end for my reward, of course.

Remember everyone's favorite Pilates problem, imbalance side-to-side?

Well here's what I've come up with on the Cadillac for exactly that:

  • The Hundred (however you like it. Just get it done. Springs or no springs)
  • The One Leg Spring (crossover style or spring on the same side as the leg, pick your poison)
  • The Leg Spring Series (light – arm – springs for me)
  • Arm Springs Lying Down (Just go to your happy place on the Ped-o-Pul)
  • Rolling Back (everyone's favorite Roll Up)
  • Rolling Back One-Arm Side Stretch (Good Times)
  • Side Leg Springs (front/back and circles for now)
  • Airplane (Using the Airplane Board for now)
  • Flying Eagle (I have high hopes for this one)
  • Push Through Bar Series Tower, Monkey, Teaser, Reverse Push Thru, Mermaid, Swan, Shoulder Roll Down, Push Thru Front (actually enjoying this series more lately)
  • Rolling Back Bar Series – Chest Expansion, Thigh Stretch, Rolling In + Out, Rolling Stomach Massage, Long Back Arms (still a challenge, this series, but some nice rolling to sneak in)
  • Traditional Ending – Breathing, Spread Eagle, Pull Ups, Hanging Pull Ups + Twist, Hang! (Bonus video on this one!)
  • Standing Arm Springs – Butterfly, Squats, One Leg Squats (of course)
  • (Another video with more Cadillac “favorites.” I filmed this a while ago, so I may be lying) 😂

2021 Monthly Online Workshops

Study up on your Cadillac exercises and join me in 2021 to nerd out again, Pilates Project Style!

January: The Cadillac Project

In a total of 8 workshop hours, we'll look at the fundamental forces from our Wunda Chair exploration and take them to the Cadillac. It's a win-win for sure, by the sheer size and support of our Cadillac apparatus.

The Cadillac Project will meet 4 Thursdays in January: January 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2021.

Class time will be 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Cadillac or Tower Unit
  2. Pilates experience

Use this link to snag your spot:

Yes! I love the Cadillac!

 

February: The Complex Reformer Project

Thanks so much for this request, Laurel.

Build a strong Pilates foundation and the complex Reformer Exercises will come.

You probably know them by name or reputation: Overhead, Snake/Twist, Star, Backbend, Balance Control Off, Headstands, High Frog and Russian Splits.

These exercises are some of the most challenging exercises in the traditional Reformer repertoire.

If you do these exercises already or you're looking for the skills (for yourself or your clients) to work toward these bad boys in the future, this workshop is for you.

Using our Pilates Project POV, you'll find skills in the fundamental Reformer exercises to combine and transform into your very “favorite” complex exercises. In a total of 8 workshop hours you'll look deep within the traditional Pilates exercises.

  • Where do we begin to build our Snake/Twist skill set?
  • How and where do we find the components for a successful Star on the Reformer?
  • How can I start to learn the High Bridge?
  • Do I push the Reformer out with my head?
  • What exactly is closing the carriage??

The answers to these questions lie in the exercises you learn in your very first Pilates lessons.

The Complex Reformer Project will meet 4 Thursdays in February: February 4, 11, 18, and 25.

Class time will be 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Reformer, classical apparatus preferred
  2. Pilates experience

Use this link to snag your spot:

Yes! I love Complex Reformer Exercises!

 

March: Transitions on the Reformer

Hot off the heels of wrangling your complex Reformer exercises, you'll tackle all those elusive moments-in-between.

Proficiency in the traditional Pilates System creates one continuous chain of movement. This is your ultimate goal on the Reformer and on the Mat.

Often the transition from one exercise to the next is more challenging than the two exercises you're connecting. It's true.

Transitions. The moments in-between. This is where the stuff of life happens!

Picking up a bag of groceries. Reaching behind you. Getting in and out of the car.

Transitions are a part of everyday life. And that's when you really need your Pilates workout.

For the unexpected.

In a total of 8 workshop hours, you'll examine getting in and out of all your standard Reformer exercises. You'll set yourself up for success!

Transitions on the Reformer will meet 4 Thursdays in March: March 4, 11, 18, and 25.

Class time will be 9am – 11am PST

There will be homework!

Maximum 10 participants.

Prerequisites for this workshop include:

  1. A Reformer, classical apparatus preferred
  2. Pilates experience

Use this link to snag your spot:

Yes! I love Transitions on the Reformer!

 

Thanks for your consideration. And for your willingness to jump into Pilates Playtime.

Until we meet again I hope you'll work out with me on the Reformer:

 

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