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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!

 

 

 

 

Spring Registration!

Spring Landscape HeaderIt’s that time of year again!

Spring classes will begin on Monday April 2. 

Spring Classes: Monday April 2 – Friday June 22, 2018
Monday classes (11 weeks), Tuesday – Friday classes (12 weeks)Classes cancelled Victoria Day Monday, May 21, 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 June 25 – Friday June 29, 2018

Downloadable Printable Schedule
Online Schedule

Class Cancellation Policy: Gentle reminder of our 8 hour cancel policy in order to receive class credit, otherwise the class cost will be processed

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

See Ya Later Alligator … We’ll Miss You Julane! 

As the Spring approaches we say goodbye to one of our valued Instructors as she sets out on a new adventure! Julane is freeing up her schedule in order to pursue her dreams within the massage therapy world. The biggest part of this dream: to work towards being hired on with a sports team! To learn more about Julane’s next steps and a heartfelt goodbye, keep reading! 

What is your next adventure?

No imminent adventure, but definitely some big dreams! At the moment I will be using my spare time to train for my upcoming duathlon… and maybe for another bobsled combine! I am filling up my calendar by completing my last year of university for my degree in health sciences online, courses to fulfill some curiosities, complete some upgrades and to better my skills in massage, Pilates and business!

I also intend to send in some resumes to professional sports teams. I  have completed a season as the trainer for the Panthers, semi pro baseball team, and three seasons as the massage therapist with the Kitchener Rangers. I would love to have a more prominent role!

Will massage be your sole focus?

I will be adding some massage hours to continue building my practice as well as focusing on some self improvement (see above)!

What was your favourite part about working at KW Art of Fitness?

Definitely the people! I couldn’t ask to be surrounded by a better group of clients and coworkers! I have loved working here over the last decade thanks to you truly wonderful people.

You guys have helped me learn and laugh every day and I couldn’t be more grateful to have you in my life! It is tremendously hard to say goodbye because I feel like I have a special bond with every single one of you; but I am leaving you in good hands!

What is your official last day?

Thursday March 22nd! 

Lunch and Learn: Introduction to Body Acceptance as a Self-Care Practice

Introduction to Body Acceptance as a Self-Care Practice

General Admission $19.00

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Location: Relish Cooking Studio
56 Regina St. N Waterloo, ON

Whether you know it or not you might be a victim to diet culture.

Diet culture is an enormous contributor to the body image and self-esteem issues that many people experience on a daily basis. Come for a casual and informative chat on self-care, easy to implement stress reducers and learn to start giving your body a little more kindness and a lot less guilt! Lunch is included.

DanaMeet The Speaker…Dana Rourke

Dana graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2009 and is studying to become an Intuitive Eating Counselor and Certified Body Trust Practitioner. Driven by a deep desire to present an alternative way of living, Dana’s work with her clients is rooted in a non-diet based approach, focusing on weight-neutral self-care and body positive practices to hold space for her clients while their navigate their way to a kinder and more natural relationship with food and their body.

Find details and registration here!

Fascial Stretch Therapy Coming

We are excited to announce that Julane will be exploring a new modality; Fascial Stretch Therapy TM. From January 9-15, 2017 in Julane will be studying physiology and techniques of Fascial Stretch Therapy through the Stretch to Win Institute in Tempe, Arizona.  For more information please visit; 

Julane’s Away Dates; January 1- 15, 2017

Fascial Stretch TherapyJulane chose this course for the multitude of ways it can help with every client and also as a modality that will help unify her education and abilities as both a massage therapist and as a clinical pilates instructor.

Fascia is a connective tissue that envelops almost everything in our bodies, including; muscles, joints and our organs. Although in its infancy of being studied and researched, the outcome of working with fascia has been astonishing and has had significant results with everything from chronic pain to sport performance. Fascia becomes restricted through many ways, most of which we all have in our daily basis. For example sitting in repetitive posture at work or from overtraining when we do get a chance to work out and get our bodies moving.

Because fascia is a continuous connective tissue wrapping from superficial to deep through our entire bodies, restrictions can cause and increase in muscle tone that may not respond to regular stretching techniques, increase risk of sprains and strains, joint pain from pull on the joint capsule as well as inhibiting efficient movement and pasture patterns.

During a session, you will go through an assessment and gets hands-on work to help accomplish your goals from a holistic, un-invasive approach.

Watch out for new classes in the Spring where we will be offering an introductory deal!

An Interview With Joseph Pilates

A DAY WITH JOSEPH PILATES

Joseph PilatesI asked to be photographed on one of his earliest inventions, the Bednasium, a sort of hospital bed that had springs attached to its metal-frame headboard. When I climbed onto the bed wearing trousers, shirt and tie, Joe stopped me. If I was going to exercise on his equipment I had to be in “trunks,” same as his Speedo-like briefs. I went into the changing area where I found a cardboard box containing a dozen black Jantzen briefs, chose a medium, then posed for a photograph meant for Buddy Bloodgood’s wall. I couldn’t possibly know that 50 years later this photo would be seen by thousands of people around the world.

excerpt from full article

Rediscover the Miracle of Movement

..rediscover the miracle of movement so you can make it part of your daily routine..

Body Harmonics helps people rediscover the true meaning of Pilates and what it means to move with ease and strength..rediscover the miracle of movement so you can make it part of your daily routine. You’ll look better, feel better and have the power to do anything.

Body Harmonics is who educates and inspires is at the KW Art of Fitness through all of the certification courses and continuing education classes. The message that is in this video resonates deeply with us and we bring it back to Kitchener Waterloo to our clients.

The Piriformis – a small muscle that can cause a lot of discomfort

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The bright red muscle in the picture is the piriformis muscle that can cause so much discomfort and pain when tight. Sometimes, one side is tighter then the other which can cause misalignment in the pelvis.

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This is one of the many exercises we do on the reformer to help relieve tension in the piriformis. Be sure that there are no other issues (hip, back or knee) that would override the benefit of this movement. It isn’t for everyone, but those who are able to do this enjoy the release. Click the image to learn more about this exercise.