Another One Bites the Dust #2

Another One Bites the Dust #2

Welcome to the unanticipated 2nd installment of Another One Bites the Dust. This series is my homage to the ‘if-you-hate-em-you'll-someday-love-em' exercises of the Pilates Method.

Exercises in the dust so far

On the Mat:

  • The Roll Up
  • The Neck Pull

On the Reformer:

  • Short Box Series
  • Breaststroke

On the Cadillac:

  • The Leg Springs

When we last left our heroine she was predicting that the Snake/Twist exercise on the Reformer would indeed reveal more yumminess than could be believed. Check her out in the above photo: a hazy Snake/Twist from days of old.

And oh yeah, it's been so good to me lately.

For us crooked folk, there's nothing quite like a twist to shake it all down and make us more balanced. Yes, you've got to work for it, but the wringing out of the Snake/Twist is quite effective. Dare I say it's delicious?

Deeeeeeeelicious it is and I've already upped it to 3 Snake, 2 Twist and sometimes the 1 arm Twist as well.

Workin' on my stamina, folks!

But yes, no one was more surprised than I at the staggering number of these puppies I now like to do.

“What you don't like you do twice!”

I love love LOVE being reminded of this quote, reportedly from Romana quoting Joe Pilates.

It's fun to imagine Joe saying it.

So let's all suck it up and dig into those exercises that we just don't like at all. Treasures abound as we increase our proficiency in these challenging-for-us exercises.

Another One Bites the Dust #2

It's helpful to have a sense of humor about how difficult we find them to be.

L.O. Frickin' L.

And the secret is…?

I'm sure it will not come as a surprise that consistent practice is the way to better our most hated exercises. But even more valuable to me are the weekly private lessons that I've been doing for nearly 5 years now. Sure I'd love to have a lesson 2 or 3 times a week – that would be amazing.

For now, 1 lesson per week is what I can do financially and proximity-wise as I am traveling for my lesson.

But what is invaluable to me is the inspiration and the jump start to my week that my Monday lessons provide. I also find that the same consistent instructor really keeps me on task. My focus and progress are consistent.

And I'm addicted to feeling good.

Very motivating.

Physically, of course, untwisted and more balanced.

And mentally hey that was hard and I DID it! – it's a high as well.

I am a huge fan of taking lessons with many teachers. I also enjoy taking workshops. But currently, my private lessons with one teacher are revealing such amazing aspects of this work. The body is learning first and informing the mind in a different way than even workshops can do.

That being said, I also enjoy taking Mat classes with Jennifer Kries. She's local to me and makes me do the Swimming exercise for way longer than I ever do it on my own. I mean, what are friends for?

We've all got “friends in the biz,” right?

Your mission:

  1. Find a fellow teacher you love to hang around.
  2. Schedule a lesson.
  3. Check Workout! off your to-do list.

Hey that's 1 Hot Tip

I find the elusive moments in the Snake/Twist to be in the moments of the initial set up and return – essentially the same Elephant-ish/Up Stretch-ish position.

Strengthen the first part of the exercise and it makes the whole thing better.

To enliven your connection to the apparatus let's put all those springs on for a bit. No, you won't be going anywhere, but you'll be a sweaty little mess regardless.

With all the springs on the carriage remains stationary. You are now free to push the lower body into the footbar firmly. You can play around and discover how your back will control the arms on the carriage.

You can visit with it. Spend a little time. You can Elephant (sort of) to your heart's content.

What does it feel like to REALLY push into the footbar? Use the lower body to feel how powerfully it will initiate the movement of the carriage (in a bit, after you go back to 1 spring).

Use your scoop to lift and hold that carriage in. ALL THE WAY IN. Close the last inch of the carriage.

Anyone?

Now you've got your scoop on!

Got a favorite exercise you love to hate?

Let it all out – #Pilatesventing – in a comment below

Rock on, Pilates peeps!

The Silver Lining of Injury

The Silver Lining of Injury

At the end of February I picked up my heavy Reformer carriage in a bad, bad way.

Already with a tendency toward tightness, my back seized up and got crazy frickin' tight. Basically all the stuff I cultivate consistently in my Pilates workout disappeared for a bit and all the tight stuff got freakishly tighter.

*sigh*

Of course this incident happened just before I planned to do a nice big Reformer workout. Well, that would have to be on hold for a bit while I sort out if I should apply ice or heat?

That's the first thing I learned.

Ice.

Miraculous stuff really.

Today, aside from a lingering LUSH obsession created while caring for my back, I am stronger than ever. And despite mixed feelings of annoyance and embarrassment (yeah, I know. Whatever…) there are always Pilates lessons you learn when you must dial back your usual tricks to be good to your body and to speed the healing process.

Did I mention I'm a terrible patient?

Speaking of terrible patients…

One of my clients, Sharon, has a tendency to over-do at her job, lifting things that are too heavy when she should really delegate, and occasionally arrives for her Pilates lesson walking like a little old lady.

This particular client is as vivacious as the day is long, so it's immediately apparent that she is not 100%. She has a great sense of humor and of course wants to do all of her exercises and assures me that she is fine.

Okay…let's hobble to the Cadillac.

She once famously appeared for her session with one arm in a sling and declared herself ready for anything (NO).

No more feetsies

Randomly, for several months Sharon was recovering from a foot injury. We of course did a lot of Mat, some Reformer exercises that did not involve her feet and a bit on the Cadillac that she loves.

As a result of taking her feet and therefore her legs out of the equation, Sharon's center got lots of attention. She learned to get more mileage out of her powerhouse, specifically her upper stomach and buttocks.

She ended up learning a great deal about her body that she could carry through in her workout after recovering (very quickly) from the foot issue.

My weekly lessons

Karen Frischmann is such a great momma. Her “prescription” for my speedy recovery?

  • Epsom salt baths – yes she is to blame for my steady LUSH habit (or is she?)
  • Spine Corrector exercises everyday until the tightness in my thighs and low back subsided.

What a beautiful world it would be if everyone did their daily Spine Corrector exercises. We so need that thing!

It is indeed “The Corrector!”

So what did I learn?

  • My tight-ass back really hit home the importance of length. AGAIN.
  • The exercises in which I could access the muscles of the seat to aid in the elongation of the low back felt fine and well-supported. When I could not find my seat, I would feel my back.

Pretty clear.

  • Only my ego was in pain, the rest of me was just super stiff.
  • I have even greater empathy for clients that have back issues through my own personal experience. Injury is a great teacher.

Everybody now: “Fetch me The Corrector!”

Please note that I am sharing my personal experience with a back issue. I am not suggesting that everyone with a bad back should leap onto the Spine Corrector. There are lots of different kinds of backs out there. Just sayin'.

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