free initial consults - try a class today!
free initial consults - try a class today!
Your Pilates Journey Starts Here! Originally developed by the very inventive Joe Pilates, the Pilates Method takes a holistic approach to physical fitness. My classes cover the original exercises designed by Joe, and also incorporate new, complimentary repertoire as well. The ideal Pilates class is a whole body experience - we recognise that beautiful interconnectedness of the musculoskeletal system - and I aim to work the whole body in each session. Once we have spent time on the foundations of breath, focus, abdominal connection and neutral spine position, we can layer movement on top and provide a full body strength building workout that will leave you feeling centred, revitalised and confident in your body.
“Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.”
We all know how important breathing is and yet so many people could be breathing more effectively and reaping the benefits of oxygenating the body and mind. In Pilates we use diaphragmatic breathing to help connect through our core muscles and other supporting muscles, such as the intercostals, improving the ability to breathe efficiently and move correctly. We also use the breath as a way to find that last push of exertion needed for a movement – for example, try a percussive exhale during a roll up to get over that “sticky” point and notice how it helps you lift up.
Interestingly, although we tend to breathe in prescribed ways for each exercise in the repertoire, we can also effect change in how we perform each exercise (and make it easier or harder) by changing the breath pattern. In fact Joe Pilates used to give his students individual breath patterns to suit their individual bodies and needs, because no two bodies are the same.
Our abdominal musculature has six layers. Working from the outside in, we have the rectus abdominus (or “six pack”), external obliques, internal obliques, transverse abdominus and the pelvic floor. While working the outer layers will make you look fit and provide strength, in Pilates we aim to connect through the entire abdominal “corset”, to build functional strength and provide protection for the spine (Pilates can be very effective for relieving back pain and disc issues). Strength though the core also flows out to the rest of the body (and strength through the body supports the core muscles).
You might hear about pelvic floor under the hazy term “Women’s Health” but in fact pelvic floor strength is important for everyone. The pelvic floor sits like a hammock at the bottom of the pelvis and helps contain our internal organs (helping protect against prolapse). The pelvic floor also co-contracts with the transverse abdominus, so working pelvic floor will actually tone two of your abdominal layers at once, and these layers provide the foundation for all the upper abdominal layers, like the foundation of a house. Whether you want to improve the strength of your deep abdominals or prepare/repair pre/post pregnancy, Pilates is an excellent way to tone up all your abdominal muscles.
Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. As an instructor I have experience teaching beginners through to advanced clients; new mums and mums to be; healthy clients and those coming back from injuries, and everything in between. As a student I was mentored by instructors who worked with injured bodies, Ballet dancers and AFL players, so I am very aware of how wonderfully all inclusive Pilates is.
Pilates is a form of strength training but we also focus on maintaining flexibility, so the body maintains optimal, functional balance. We aim to remind your body to move in accordance with its design wherever possible, thus minimising the aches and pains that come with poor posture and incorrect muscle recruitment. Much of our equipment provides resistance which helps improve bone density and wards off Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. Pilates classes use a range of equipment, from the Reformer, Wunda Chair and Cadillac, to resistance bands, magic circles and other torture devices (!) to build strength and endurance while toning the body. Best of all, because Pilates focuses on looking after each body individually, the work you do is right for you.
Most people have heard that Pilates makes you longer and leaner – and it’s true. We focus on postural stability and strength and also use muscle strength to lift and lengthen the body – think of that abdominal corset holding you up, lifting through the waist and supporting the spine. We can also help fix or alleviate postural issues such as scoliosis, or imbalances brought on by day to day life (I’m sure there are a few mums like me out there who tend to be shorter on their baby carrying side!). Walking taller and improving stability also improve mobility, which means you can go about daily life in an easy, low impact fashion, and there’s nothing like the feeling of confidence that goes with knowing your body is getting stronger and moving more efficiently.
One of my favourite classes to teach has always been Mums & Bubs Pilates. As a mum myself I know only too well how hard it can be to fit any sort of self care into your routine, at a time when you need it the most. Although my usual Mums & Bubs mat classes aren't running currently, I will be looking at reopening these in 2021 and, in the meantime, I am happy to take individual mums (or dads) for sessions with babies welcome. I have experienced first hand the benefits of regular Pilates during pregnancy and also after birth, both for health and personal confidence. Pilates is an excellent way to combat such common issues as pelvic floor weakness and abdominal separation.
Pilates comes under the umbrella of Mind Body Exercise for good reason. Our core principles are Breathing, Concentration, Control, Centreing, Flow and Precision – and believe me, when you are busy concentrating on your breathing, precise movements, controlling your body and flowing from one move to the next, it is impossible not to be centered. Just to spend an hour focusing and being fully in the now is hugely beneficial for mind, body and spirit – for me a good session is a meditation in motion.