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Why we shut down: Part II

It’s approaching that time at the studio … season transition, also known as: studio shutdown.
 

This seasonal transition is going to be for two weeks **gasp**shock**

Could it be true? Do we dare, you ask?

Art of Fitness

On, June 22, 2018, we posted a blog on the benefits clients could experience via our scheduled studio shutdowns simply by creating their own change in routine for rest & recovery. Why we shut down: Part II, will give you more insight into why a small business would dare take time away.
 

Inspiration was found a couple of years ago after reading an article, ‘Time Off Helps You Thrive in Life and Career.(2016,Huffington Post,By Caroline Dowd-Higgins).

What stuck in my mind is the statement “Be the Boss Who Sets a Good Example.” The article explains how our behaviour sets an example for others around you. That in fact, you should “honour your vacation time, that others will follow suit and enjoy their vacation time without guilt or concern.”
 
This article sparked in me a slightly unique business plan that I felt compelled to implement. Scheduled studio shutdown represents a plan that clearly provides for clients access to instructors that ‘walk the talk’ of the commonly used phrase: work/life balance.
 
So, great your instructors ‘get to’ take time to refresh, revitalize and reset mentally, but what’s in it for you?
 

Here’s what’s in it for you:

  • The studio goes through a deep clean thanks to Terry’s (featured in the video!) energy & elbow grease, her amazing attention to cleanliness detail never fails to impress.
    • Everything is taken off shelves to be cleaned, ceiling fans are wiped down, and of course all the regular twice a week vacuuming and floor mopping.
  • Equipment maintenance: springs, attachments, hinges, bearings, general upkeep.
    • Scheduled studio shutdown is when it happens.
    • Every time you use the equipment in our studio you can feel safe that all parts are in working order, seriously those springs could be dangerous!
    • Watch a video of exactly what Steph does on our Instagram or Facebook account!  
  • On the surface work life balance for your instructor certainly feels like it’s all about us. However, it’s a real WIN WIN situation — ever wonder why it seems that your instructors love what they do?
    • It’s because they do.
    • AND
    • Because we work hard to run a business in a way that respects human natures need for change, rest, reflection.
    • This allows for time to rejuvenate our ability to be teach, inspire and make movement relevant to each individual that walks in our door.

 

Register for Summer Classes!

It’s that time of year again! Summer classes will begin on Monday July 2. 

Summer 2018 AoF header

Summer Classes: Monday July 2 – Friday August 24, 2018
Monday classes (7 weeks), Tuesday – Friday classes (8 weeks)Classes cancelled Monday, August 6, 2018

If you’re a returning client and have already let your instructor know you’re coming back you’re already enrolled.  Otherwise you can enroll here.

Transitional Season Break: Monday August 27 – Friday September 7, 2018

Downloadable Printable Schedule 
Online Schedule

Cancellation Policy: Gentle reminder of our 8 hour cancellation policy for group classes and 24 hour cancellation policy for private sessions.  When we receive sufficient notice, you will receive a credit for your class or session.  Otherwise, the entire cost will be processed as if you were in attendance.

E-Transfer Payments: Please note that we do accept e-transfer payments to ‘steffipilates@me.com’

Why do we shut the studio down between seasons?

What are the benefits for you as a client?

As everyday people, we are constantly being bombarded from many sources to continuously strive towards our health and fitness goals. So much so that we miss the fitness paradox: In constant striving we neglect a key ingredient that is the foundation to our quality of life and the success of our goals: REST & RECOVERY!

Putting in place our transition week was to reinforce the concept and empower our clients to own and enjoy rest and recovery, it is well deserved and should be honoured. Why does your body need to FULLY recovery and restore itself? The article written by, By Daniel Duane for Men’s Journal, in the Huffington Post does a great job explaining why recovery is so very important.

So, as us smartie-pant Pilates Instructors like to say when you let us know you are feeling your muscles during a workout … You are welcome, this time not for the burn but instead for the Studio ‘forced’ shut down.

“Taking a long break doesn’t mean getting overly friendly with the couch, but stay away from your familiar workout routines, the getting ‘fitter’ part comes while you eat and rest. The body repairs tissue damage, strengthening the heart and other muscles, restoring depleted fuel reserves and getting better at transporting oxygen throughout the body. This makes your body a little more efficient and stronger than before.” – Daniel Duane, Men’s Journal, Huffington Post

 

We’re a little Different from Other Studios…

Art of Fitness

 

  1. Don’t worry about a Pilates mat, water, or a towel – we’ve got you covered!
  2. Class shouldn’t be easy. If it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong. No, really, you are. If it felt easy, ask a teacher to show you how to work harder. It’s always possible to work deeper in an exercise.
  3. If you want to take a class and it’s full, get on the wait list. You have a pretty good chance of getting in!
  4. Class is all about you. Request what you want to work on. Request what you don’t want to work on. Ask teachers to stay after and give you pointers. They’ll do it.
  5. If you forgot something just ask us – it’s likely we will have a stash somewhere. aka – hair ties, water bottles etc.
  6. Notify the teacher of any injuries or medical conditions. This helps us know how to give you modifications. You are the boss of your body! Never do an exercise that doesn’t feel or sound right to you. It is perfectly acceptable and expected to honour where you are at and rest for a few moments if the class is moving in a direction that is not appropriate for you.
  7. Have fun. There’s no reason for Pilates to be so serious. We’re glad you’re here and hope you enjoy the energy of our studio.
  8. Ask questions. As Instructors, we love to talk and are passionate about why Pilates is great for you – so don’t hesitate to ask about a certain exercise or sequence.
  9. We are always here for you – email us with concerns, questions or feedback.
  10. Turn off your cell phone. This enhances your experience and is a polite gesture to your fellow students.

Rhythm of a Class – An Instructor Perspective

Rhythm of a Class

It is a Pilates Instructors dream to see and entire class moving in a synchronized way however that’s not always the case. Courtney talks about a layering technique she uses, it helps eliminate any uncertainty in a group class setting. Start with the foundation exercise and that is what the baseline is for the clients. She stays at this baseline until all the foundational cues that she is using are being applied by the clients. If the cues are not being applied it tells her that she doesn’t have the green light to move into more complex exercises.

Rhythm of a Class

Once these cues are being applied we can increase the challenge and add another layer, this might mean progression, functional movement, load transfer etc. As an Instructor we need to know that we are able to go together with the clients into more directional complex exercises, not just because the plan was to get there but because the clients are ready to go there.

As an Instructor we always want our clients to have a positive experience creating a sense of accomplishment and desire to come back week after week. When you go to a class and it’s just hard, you get tired, you do so many heavy exercises that your only option is to loose quality, give up or collapse, then the experience is negative as it will leave one with a feeling of having given up on themselves or that you just aren’t good enough, strong enough, fit enough …

What we are looking for in clients is that ‘aha moment.’ During rep one or two the expectations are for the client to “give it a go”, not perfection. Around rep five or six we should see that precision meter go up because the client realizes “oh, that is what you meant.” The next stage we instructors strive to bring into a movement is always the ‘holy crap’, ‘I am getting it because this is intense’ moment.  Now this stage is our fine line, as instructors we want you to feel it however eventually if we play this out to far the client starts to lose their belief in you the instructor if you choose to push them to the point of having to give up or the client chooses to persevere however in the struggle they loose that connection and trust in you. As instructors, we need to watch and observe, and most importantly need to give clients permission to draw those lines themselves as well.

The class or session should leave a client feeling motivated, inspired, curious about what strength and ability they will reach into next. Teaching clients to be light in an exercise when the intensity of that exercise sequence is taking you towards your strength potential, drawing in on your limits, is essential in allowing the clients to create great gains without driving them to disappointment in themselves.

Our voice is powerful, and what Courtney Miller speaks about in her podcast with Breathe Education is that she has a lot of success when ramping up an exercise to ensure that you are softening your voice, have a smile on your face, have a giggle, because we are ‘just doing pilates.’  This helps the client soften the tension and to discover how to use just enough effort to get the extra rep or two with quality and gives a positive note to land on.

To hear the Podcast interview with Courtney Miller yourself click here.  

Approach to Cueing – An Instructors Perspective

Approach to Cueing 

Cueing, ahhhhhh cueing such a mystery you can be!

As instructors we are always thinking about the next step or five steps ahead as we attempt to match the body cues each client gives us with our program intention and flow. We don’t have time to say anything that isn’t important in that moment, we must keep the future concepts in our mind to help create and orchestrate quality movements. There is never a time to Approach to Cueinggo into auto-pilot. 

A strong foundation right off the bat is key, take time to ground, center and bring internal awareness to the clients. After that internal awareness has been absorbed, we move into directional cues that create precise, flowing, strong movements. All the while still applying those “yummy” internal cues from the beginning as a strong reminder of purpose.

In the Breathe Education interview with Courtney Miller, she also talks about purposeful pauses. This sometimes may feel like punishment when an instructor asks you to pause during an exercise. However, the intention is to create an opportunity for the client to collect themselves and draw on the internal sensations of their bodies while the instructor regains control in order to Relayer the foundational cues that perhaps have started to trickle away once the class started moving along.

Last but definitely not least, ‘Rhythm of a Class’ coming tomorrow! 

Planning for Clients – An Instructors Perspective

Planning on its own can be a full time job, but when you learn how to focus in on clients movements during their session, the body you are working with can sometimes plan the workout all on its own, Courtney Miller describes it perfectly in this tidbit of information on planning for clients. 

Planning for Clients

Planning for Clients

Courtney Miller tells Breathe Education that she starts with a theme, it might be symmetry or rotation and then once the bodies start to enter the room she is inspired by the way they walk in the door. There is a bigger picture as an instructor and she likes to observe her clients as they come in and how they walk into the room, how they sit down, how they put there belongings away, do they sit on the reformer first? Lay down? Look at their phone? Rub their shoulders? Roll their shoulders? That is what will typically inspire an Instructor. Going in with a theme but then letting the clients movements inspire is the best way to find success in a group class. 

Tomorrow’s segment is all about our ‘approach to cueing’. 

Incorporating Props in your Pilates Workout – An Instructors Perspective

Yesterday we did an overview of the podcast with Courtney Miller and talked all about the creative process, today we are going to discuss incorporating props into a workout. 

Incorporating Props

You know those blue squishy balls we love to put between your inner thighs and make you squeeze? They are there for a reason! Courtney Miller describes it perfectly in this podcast by saying that she brings a prop in at the beginning of the session with the purpose of finding, for example, adductor connection, this gives the Instructor an opportunity to bring

Pilates Propsawareness there and cue clients to connect to their adductors. Then the prop will disappear and we will work the same muscle group without the prop so now the client has the awareness of where to feel without the prop. Later in the hour, the prop will come back again and its purpose will be to activate a different muscle group. The pattern continues through these sequences to really dig deep into our muscles. 

Have a question about why we use certain props during certain routines? 

Ask us! We are always eager to explain the ‘whys’ of our thought process behind your workouts!

Stay tuned tomorrow for ‘planning for clients’. 

 

An Instructors Perspective Series: Podcast overview with Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller is known in the Pilates world for her creativity; blending yoga, Pilates and functional fitness movements, her clear cueing skills and her way of staying ‘light’ during hard exercises. I watch her Pilates Anytime videos weekly to keep my own creativity juices flowing but also to pick up on her cueing and relaxed nature of getting her message across to a client without being too anatomical. Her classes are fun, light hearted, and most importantly challenging!

Recently my interest was drawn to a podcast interview that Courtney did with breathe education. There are five key points that continue to resonate with me as an instructor: the creative process, incorporating props, planning for clients, approach to cueing and the rhythm of a class.
 
The following series of blog posts is a summary of my perspective and interpretation of Courtney’s conversation and is based on her ideas, descriptions and concepts described within the podcast interview. I was inspired to write this for two reasons: to bring fellow instructors attention to Courtney’s interview as a tool for learning, and to give our clients a glimpse into what goes through the instructor brains during classes and private sessions. 

The Creative Process

As a Pilates Instructor we are constantly working towards solutions via modifications and or concepts that help our clients achieve beneficial and appropriately challenging options for overcoming obstacles. Each client’s body reacts differently to different movements, meaning, we are always on our toes trying to creatively challenge you as a client from one session or class to another. Our goal is to find the options that react well in your body.
 
Becoming a Pilates Instructor stems from a love of movement. We love to get our bodies onto the Pilates equipment or our mats with small apparatus to get into our own body movement sequences. Nine times out of ten our exercise ideas and flows will come out of a personal practice session. This is why you will see us in classes, in the corner quietly working out solo or doing private workouts with other instructors. 
 
Look out for “Incorporating Props” tomorrow! 
 

Pilates Can Take Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level

Many yoga practitioners lay down on their yoga mat with a specific goal in mind. I want to deepen pigeon pose, I want to hold my handstand effortlessly, I want to float into crow without bruising my triceps. No matter what your goal is during your Yoga class, we have the secret.

Pilates is often compared to Yoga, but there is a defined difference. Pilates requires strength and precision, teaching you to move from a solid foundation, and connect to postural muscles that are universally underused. Learning to connect to these postural muscles can lead you into a lengthened chest position during triangle pose, control your centre of gravity during half moon, and flow through chaturanga lightly in neutral alignment.

PJ Yoga

Here are a few key reasons why Pilates will take your Yoga poses to the next level.

Proper Alignment

Pilates is all about positioning your spine in proper alignment, so you can walk out of your session and take this posture into everyday life. Focusing on balancing the musculature helps create symmetry between the left and the right sides of your body. Working both sides simultaneously, you’re able to compare the strength of both sides and work them equally. You can take this knowledge to your Yoga mat, and connect to your muscles equally during balance poses to help your stability and use your core properly to protect your back during back bends.

Flexibility

Pilates exercises incorporate dynamic stretching, so not only are you strengthening one muscle, you are getting a stretch through another. Although Pilates does not solely focus on flexibility, it is known to create more flexibility and length through the muscles, lengthening your body from head to toes. Learning how to dynamically stretch and stay neutral also protects your muscles from hyperextension during Yoga classes, this allows you to engage proper muscles before you lengthen into a stretch to avoid injury and create lasting results. 

Stronger Core  

A stronger core equals less back pain. Ask anyone who came to Pilates to relive back tension, they will tell you that they experienced some sort of relief. Our bodies were made to move, it only takes a few classes or private sessions to remind our body how to align and work properly to avoid tension. Having a strong core leaves more room for mobility through the body while doing Yoga, instead of suffering through back pain during poses. As a beginner going into a Yoga class, you may not realize when and where to connect to your centre, by incorporating the Pilates principles you can trust that your body is properly flowing from pose to pose. 

Allows you to Work Deeper

Once you start focusing on your abdominals, you realize that your bodies movements are powered through your core. Try doing downward dog without your core engaged; you’ll most likely leave with back pain. During exercise our larger muscles like to take over, Pilates helps us zone into our small, more intrinsic muscles. During Yoga classes, you will notice more strength during movements. With stronger abdominals, you can improve every single one of your poses on the yoga mat. If you decide to work one on one with an Instructor you can even mimic and improve your entire Yoga routine by dissecting each exercise.

Overall, Pilates can help Yogis advance into poses that they hadn’t felt possible before and avoid injury. Have you always wondered how that girl at the front of class effortlessly holds her position in handstand? Well now you’re in on the secret!