By Julie Poplawski
You all know the drill: a new client comes in and looks around the studio, intrigued yet uneasy in our dominatrix-looking den. The newbie has heard about how Pilates helps to create long, lean muscles, and she wants that! As an instructor you are excited to aid in her success, hoping she will become a long-term client.
Often, achieving that long, lean body may mean the client ultimately needs to lose weight. That is where every Pilates teacher I know encounters the delicate dilemma of balancing education with expectation. A new client doesn’t understand that an articulating spine feels amazing. She hasn’t discovered that a balanced gait can let her run and walk for hours pain-free or that scapular stabilization just might cure her chronic afternoon headache. She just wants to look lean!
Facing an eager student seeking weight loss, it’s tough to deliver the message right off the bat that although Pilates is a movement modality, it (and probably any exercise for that matter) will not produce weight loss if a person’s diet isn’t appropriate for their goals—if they eat too much.
In my mind I used to justify that postural muscle development would eventually let my weight-loss-seeking clients’ bodies work more efficiently to burn fat. I would further justify that some movement is better than no movement. Sometimes I’d get downright self-righteous and think: Well, even though they don’t want the real benefits of Pilates I can still make their bodies work better. No matter how vigorously I asked my clients to perform the Hundred or flow through the Pilates postures, I knew I couldn’t help them lose all the weight they needed for that lean look using Pilates alone.
I searched through weight-loss books and talked to everyone who had either short- or long-term success with weight loss in hopes of finding a straightforward, no-guilt handbook to give to my clients. I couldn’t find one. So I developed my own approach to take with these clients, and even wrote a book, called Fill Your Cup, as a guide for them. You might not be motivated to go that far, but there are many things you can do—in addition to providing a great workout—to help support their weight-loss goals. It doesn’t take a degree in nutrition or an entire Pilates session to talk healthy habits for weight loss. Here are some ideas:
As 2010 winds down it’s time for our very own Pilates-Pro.com “Year in Review,” a countdown of the site’s 10 most popular articles from the past year. We’d also like to publically thank our community of passionate Pilates professionals who contributed to Pilates-Pro.com this year by writing articles and participating in our forums and lively social networks. Pilates-Pro.com continues to grow because of you. And of course, if you have topics you’d like us tackle in 2011, please drop a line and let us know!
1. Adding Barre Work to Your Pilates Workout by Christine Binnendyk
2. Pilates on Call: Working with Pregnant and Postpartum Clients with Debra Goodman and Amanda Martin
3. How to Work with the Pilates Foot Corrector by Dianne Wise
4. How to Brand Your Pilates Studio on a Shoestring by Erika Quest
5. Pilates for Runners: The Basics by Pat Guyton
6. Intro to the Psoas Muscle by Liz Koch
7. Pilates and Going for the Burn: How Much is Too Much? by Maria Leone
8. Pilates Instructors’ Top Tax Questions, Answered Q&A with Steve Kingsley
9. Just a Pilates Instructor? by Kristen Matthews
10. That New Fitness Trend? Pilates Has It Covered by Jonathan Urla
By Kathy Kukula
Walk through the door at The Pilates Centre in Norwalk, Conn., and, among the forest of Reformers and Towers, you’ll see something that’s all too rare in many Pilates studios: men. And while some of the guys are the financiers and media executives that this coastal area is famous for, quite a few of them spend their time in more old-fashioned pursuits: in a rink, a pitch or a boxing ring. In the past two years, owner Jennifer Mongeluzo and her team of four trainers have strengthened and stretched a growing cadre of pro and semi-pro hockey and rugby players, Muay Thai kickboxers, boxers and mixed-martial arts fighters. Here’s how she did it:
I thought I’d seen it all when it came to Pilates sock innovations—grippy bottoms, separate toes, slippers. That’s why I wasn’t expecting much when a box of Shashi Socks hit my desk promising a “cool treat” for my feet. I tossed a pair into my bag and didn’t have a chance to wear them for several weeks. When I finally tried them out, I felt a little sheepish—they were really great and caught the eye of every instructor at the studio.
Shashi Socks creator Natalie Sudit had been doing Pilates for over 15 years but didn’t like practicing in regular socks, so she created her own. Yes, they’re grippy on the bottoms—nothing new there. But what’s unique about Shashi is the breathable mesh fabric that covers the top of the foot. It kept my feet from sweating and made the socks feel like they were barely there. I literally forgot I was wearing them. If you like to practice barefoot but want the sanitary protection of a sock, these are for you. They’re well suited for warmer climates or summer months when the thought of regular socks makes your brow glisten.
Shashi Socks come in white or black, with more colors promised soon. A split-toe version can be worn with flip-flops. Each pair costs $12.50, and Sudit also offers volume pricing for resale at studios.
Enter the Giveaway!
Natalie is offering five pairs of Sashi Socks as a giveaway to Pilates-Pro.com readers! To enter, sign up for our enewsletter or name one bone of the foot in the comments section or on our Facebook page. We’ll draw the winners in January.
By Madeline Black
It is not uncommon to see Pilates teachers use props during a session. The intention is to enable the client to move in optimal alignment. But, is it appropriate to use a prop? Yes, when there is an understanding of why the prop is being used and it facilitates the intended response. But too many times, props are used out of habit.
One common prop habit is placing a ball between the thighs (or knees) while performing Footwork on the Reformer. The ball brings the legs together and/or holds them in place, preventing a client from splaying open her thighs when pressing the carriage out and knocking her knees when returning the carriage home. This can actually hinder the healthy movement sequence intended in this exercise, and I would suggest that we break this habit. Our goal is to encourage optimal leg alignment while executing Pilates in a dynamic and functional way, not in a held position. Here’s a closer look at why it doesn’t serve the client to use a ball during Footwork.
It’s time again for another Pilates on Call, our open Q&A with Pilates and movement experts. Liz Koch, an expert on the psoas, has kindly volunteered to answer any and all of your questions about this deep, important muscle. For a general background on the posas, you can read her article Intro to the Psoas.
If you have questions about how the psoas relates to Pilates, now is your chance to get answers. You can leave your questions for Liz in the comments section below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Liz will get to them as quickly as possible, but might need a day or two to respond.
ABOUT LIZ KOCH
Liz Koch is an international somatic educator and creator of Core Awareness™ focusing on awareness for exploring human potential. With over 30 years experience working with and specializing in the iliopsoas, she is recognized in the somatic, bodywork and fitness professions as an authority on the core muscle. Liz is the author of The Psoas Book, Unraveling Scoliosis, Core Awareness: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise & Dance, and The Psoas and Back Pain. Approved by the USA National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education provider, Liz Koch is a member of the International Movement Educators Association (IMA). Learn more at coreawareness.com.
By Liz Koch
Feeling vibrant within your core ultimately depends upon a healthy, juicy and responsive psoas. The psoas (pronounced so-as) is your core muscle and an integral aspect of a centered and functional body. As a major player in back pain, knee injuries and tight hip sockets, it is often the exhausted psoas that disrupts range of motion, as well as digestion, bladder functioning and sexual pleasure.
WHERE IS THE PSOAS?
Your psoas is located deep within your core, growing out of the spine at approximately the twelfth thoracic vertebra (the area called the solar plexus), and moves through the pelvis, crossing over the ball and socket joints into the inner thighbones at the lesser trochanter. Being the only muscle to connect your spine to your legs, the psoas moves through the core like a pendulum synchronizing the free swinging of the leg when walking.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we thought we’d spread the word about “Passionately Pink! Pilates,” a free Pilates resource for breast cancer survivors. This hour-long video was produced through a collaboration between Peak Pilates Master Trainer Clare Dunphy and Naomi Aaronson, an occupational therapist, certified cancer exercise trainer and Pilates instructor. The video is divided into two sections (seated and supine) and is appropriate for women 6-8 weeks post surgery. “Clare, the model [Lissa Silk] and I all donated our time, energy, and spirit,” said Aaronson. “We put a lot of effort into making it safe and effective.”
Feel free to share the link to this video with clients or anyone recovering from breast cancer, or watch and get some tips for your own teaching.
It was a full house at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York Monday night as members of the Pilates and dance communities gathered to pay tribute to Kathleen Stanford Grant (1921-2010), a first-generation Pilates teacher who studied directly with Joseph Pilates and taught the Pilates method for more than 50 years. The celebratory evening was filled with laughter, dance, music and stories about the life and spirit of this multi-faceted woman who “dedicated her life to making all others dreams come true,” as Sarita Allen, one of her students, said. The celebration began with an African drumming processional and was followed by a mixture of dance performances, video footage and almost a dozen speeches from family members, students, colleagues and friends. For those who weren’t able to make it, I’d like to share some highlights from this special evening.
By Anne Samoilov
Welcome to the second installment of my Pilates Mentors series. I’m passionate about supporting my fellow Pilates instructors and passing on the nuggets of advice that I receive from my own Pilates mentors. I am so excited to share with you my conversation with Marguerite Ogle. Marguerite is best known for her work on About.com as the Pilates Guide. She has built an extremely thorough site which provides information for Pilates students as well as instructors.