Monthly Archives: November 2009

Gratitude is Good for your Health

Time for a seasonally poignant post.

Exercise your gratitude muscles regularly, and you might find yourself healthier and happier.

•People with high blood pressure not only lower their blood pressure, but feel less hostile and are more likely quit smoking and lose weight when they practice gratitude. In one study, patients just called a research hotline once a week to report on the things that made them grateful.

•People who care for relatives with Alzheimer’s disease feel less stress and depression when they keep daily gratitude journals, listing the positive things in their lives.

•Those who maintain a thankful attitude through life appear to have lower risks of several disorders, including depression, phobias, bulimia and alcoholism.

•Most people can lift their mood simply by writing a letter of thanks to someone. Hand-deliver the letter, and the boost in happiness can last weeks or months.

USA Today

Need some help getting started?

Try starting a gratitude journal. Write down three things you are thankful for everyday. There is even a gratitude journal iphone app.

So once you’ve put the fork down, start working on the happiness of being thankful that your digestion is moving things along. Go from there.

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HEY YOU. Free Pilates Mat Classes December 7th through the 12th

The eye of the storm – that time after Thanksgiving and before the December holiday season – is a brief wink of time to reflect on all the things happening around you. It’s a good time. even if briefly, to regroup.

The City of St. Louis is definitely using that time to do so.

After two long years of alternate routes and traffic the likes of which St. Louis has never known, highway 64/40 is set to reopen on Monday, December 7th.

As a thank you to everyone who has continued to support classes, as an opportunity to reconnect with clients who have been cut off because of the highway fiasco, and as a chance to try Pilates for the first time, I am offering all of my mat classes for free from Monday, December 7th through Saturday, December 12.  I just ask that you choose one per person.

Click on the schedule page to see the list of mat classes available.

Many other instructors at the Pilates and Yoga Center of Saint Louis are also offering their classes for free that week as well. For more information about those classes, check out the Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis website.

The best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones is your health….and maybe the winning lotto ticket.

Does Traditional Pilates Need to Evolve?

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Does our society’s lack of upper body awareness make traditional Pilates a difficult choice?

I come from that strict, traditional pilates training background. Pilates is such an interesting meld of Eastern movement principles, coupled with the efficient and rigorous German aesthetic.

There is a specific order of specific exercises. Every detail matters.

A rigid structure is important for creating a fundamental base of the exercises and knowledge of Pilates’ intent.

BUT

Over time, the teaching of these fundamentals can be shaped by both the instructor’s style and by the real bodies of clients. This is the creative and evolving human nature. Parallel movement ideas emerge and deviate, like Gyrotonic, Yamuna Body Rolling, and various core and balance training techniques adopted by the trainer at the gym, all striving to find the ideal for the human condition.

Here is the thought I pose to you:

Although traditional understanding is important, do you think Pilates needs to evolve to accommodate our changing bodies? Has it already?

Lets face it, technology has changed how we live.

Joseph Pilates created his method one hundred years ago, when people did more with their bodies throughout the day in general. Even the in-between movements are going the way of the dinosaur;  we have dishwashers, elevators, microwaves, and cell phones. Today most people spend their time sitting. We sit: in front of a computer, at a desk, watching tv, driving their car, etc.  Not much reason to get up…except for, perhaps, an hour of exercise.

The most common problems observed seem to stem from sitting: pressure on the back, neck, and the rounding forward of the shoulders. Each misalignment fuels the next. Lack of understanding and awareness of the upper body results in weak abdominals and a weak core.

The beginning of traditional mat pilates starts lying supine and drawing up the “chin to the chest”. This move alone seems to create gobs of neck and shoulder tension. Personally, it would be easy to spend an hour just on correct posturing of the upper body. Compromising, I spend the first 10 minutes of class finding ways to create postural awareness, later moving to a more traditional format…sometimes. Truth is, the longer I teach, the more my beginning classes look less like traditional Pilates and more like movement therapy.

Do you have a hard time getting clients to understand the importance of posture? Or, do you prefer to just keep them moving? Do you stick to the classic moves, or do you mix it up? Do you believe any long-term effective exercise program should include mind/body awareness.

By creating a dialogue, right here, perhaps a more cohesive understanding of the body could be brought to light.

What do you think?

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