30-Day Wunda Chair Challenge: UPDATE and Full Confession!

30-Day Wunda Chair Challenge: UPDATE and Full Confession!

Hello all you lovely Pilates peeps!

Well this post is loooong overdue.

Recently I've just returned from my first UK Adventure of the year and it's been grand.

Many thanks to Jayne O'Brien and all the amazing instructors I met at Equinox Kensington in London. UK hospitality at its finest!

And a big congratulations to new mum Amy Kellow (my Vintage Pilates classmate from The Work and Teaching the Work). What a pleasure to have a reunion in your studio Everybody Pilates. Amazing to see your staff and clients again!

It was such a pleasure to meet and work with such fine teachers and blog subscribers. Thanks so much for all your kind words. Your feedback warms my heart and is truly TRULY appreciated.

Keep up all your hard and sweaty work, hang on to your dynamic opposition and I'll be back in Portsmouth this October. 

I hope you've had a chance to check out this extra post to somehow make up for my absence of the last 3 weeks. I wrote it a while back for Gratz. You know I love to play Pilates Detective: Andrea and the Case of “Why is it called the Cadillac?”

30 Days of Wunda: The good, the ugly, the confused

Thank you to everyone who undertook my recent Wunda Chair Challenge

And now for my Pilates confession…

Full disclosure: this one dusted me. 

Gone were the heady times luxuriating over the Small Barrel.

My body didn't feel as good after my Wunda as I had anticipated. Hmmm…

I'd gotten better at some of the exercises but where was the amazing integrated feeling Pilates creates in my body? Randomly I felt stiff and couldn't figure out why.

Why did my back feel amazing on the Barrel?

Why has the Wunda Chair left me feeling gimpy?

Don't blame the exercise: Wunda Edition

A little factoid about your body on Pilates: The body gets used to feeling good.

If your workout behavior changes – or God forbid stops – the body gets cranky.

“WTF? What happened to those Pilates exercises you were doing?”

So again a little detective work was in order.

First off we've got our beloved Pilates System

Like a well-tuned orchestra, each apparatus has its part to play.

The Wunda Chair is not our major apparatus that reforms the body. It is not the Reformer. It functions more efficiently as a place to address a specific issue. This does not mean one cannot get a fabulous workout on the Wunda Chair, but often we've got to show up with all our stuff at the ready. 

We don't seek out the Wunda Chair for full support and assistance, right?

For my Wunda challenge I had to ask:

What is happening naturally on the Small Barrel that I can't find in the Chair exercises?

The brilliance of the Small Barrel – which I discovered and which many of you reported – was the way the apparatus supports, informs and corrects the back. 

For me in particular the Small Barrel alerted, assisted and supported me to correct my imbalance – one side of my powerhouse that doesn't like to work very well.

The Wunda Chair by its very nature and construction offers no feedback or support for the back. So my imbalance gets a free ride.

In this way the Barrels and the Chairs make a good team.

Good to know. 

Where to go from here?

Now armed with new information from the Small Barrel, I know how to work the weaker side of my powerhouse. My new plan is to start all over again with my 30 Day Wunda Chair challenge.

And I mustn't neglect my Small Barrel exercises! I learn so much from The Small Round One. I didn't know how good I had it over there…

I shall report back!

A little while back I got all gaga over the Small Barrel Project. Serendipitously I was strolling through my notes from Teaching the Work and found this gem:

“Spine Corrector: It cures all.” – Jay Grimes

And to that I say “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

One more time and I'll have it!

Here's where you can find me in 2017.

Classical Pilates Convention UK 2014

Classical Pilates Convention UK

Who knew this year's Classical Pilates Convention UK would be even more amazing than last year?

Yup.

And guess whose bottom still hurts from the Toe Corrector?

I  Mejo.

Thank you so much Everybody Pilates for your uber-cool hand in creating the warmest, smoothest 3-Day Pilates Education experience ever created. I have a big old-fashioned love pang for you Amy and Ed and all your friendly staff.

Classical Pilates Convention UK 2014

What did I learn this weekend?

  • A first-time-to-Pilates client can fall madly in love with Jay Grimes in less time than it takes to do the Hundred.
  • Mejo Wiggin and Karen Frischmann have boundless knowledge, enthusiasm and smiles for all participants at all times.
  • Amy Kellow and Alisa Wyatt ROCK THE HOUSE!! Both deliver brilliant Pilates workshops with the greatest of skill and ease.
  • Oh, and just how many Teasers can you “suggest” participants do in 2.5 hours?

37.

 

Classical Pilates Convention UK

I also love when Gratz Industries is in attendance. It’s wonderful to connect with David and Russell to express my love and devotion to their wonderful and legendary apparatus. Sadly I was too busy to shop for Pilates toys…although I did spy some fuzzy covers for the metal handles that I may very soon covet purchase.

Classical Pilates Convention UK 2014Pilates Giveaways!

One happy attendee walked away in style after winning some chic swag courtesy of Pilates Nerd.

Drop Karen Ellis (Queen Nerd) a short note to share your love for her sweet T-shirts, jumpers and notebooks.

I quite fancy the sticky notes myself…

Global Pilates Love

Finally, a big warm gooey thank you to the lovely dedicated blog readers who came up to say hi with many a kind word and a giggle.

Oh. So. Truly. Appreciated.

I love to connect with you at these events and I can’t thank you enough for all your encouraging words and positive vibes.

Awesome, I say! You are all AWESOME.

Classical Pilates Convention UK

So cheers to you dear friends from Norway, UK, Quatar, Sweden, Italy, Finland and Australia. Much love to you all.

E adesso, buongiorno a Roma! Ci vediamo dopo…

Classical Pilates Convention UK

Don't worry, I ate the whole thing 🙂

Yay for Pilates!

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 Feet

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 FeetThe good news

I flew direct from San Diego to Baltimore.

The bad news

I flew direct from San Diego to Baltimore.

5 hours of sitting BADLY…

When I fly I have a great empathy for both the tall and the ample. At 5'2″ I have barely enough room for myself and an iPhone. The flight to Baltimore was an early one so I slept through nearly all of it. Later that afternoon during my Mat workout I realized just how long I'd been sleeping (read this as ‘slumping').

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 Feet

Jus' sayin'.

Stay classy, San Diego

My return flight was interminable as I was awake for all of it. Awake and fidgety. A fellow San Diegan, a young woman also in perpetual motion, sat to my right. She spent the flight playing an action game, steering her virtual motorcycle by moving her iPad wildly in the air in front of her. Her travel companion, a terrier sporting pink highlights and a ponytail, rustled inside a bag (also pink) at her feet. I did my best to remain calm despite a mild allergy to dogs and often full-on hypochondria on airplanes. Hold on, I just taught a Pilates workshop this weekend. I'm invincible…Nam myoho renge kyo…

I live in a city where it's just fine to paint your dog pink.

The woman to my left in the aisle seat explained that she took a Xanex and would be asleep throughout the flight. Should we need to use the lavatory we were just to give her a poke to get out into the aisle. Okay…

Slumping and reading Game of Thrones for 5 hours I fantasized about Pilates exercises I would do if I had opportunity. I stood awaiting the dog owner's return from the loo and eyed the darkened aisle.

The Hundred is definitely possible.

Couple things though:

  1. The ‘ick' factor
  2. The ‘freakshow' factor

Let's be reasonable, shall we?

1. In-seat Spine Stretch Forward

a.k.a.

“I'm not ill, I'm returning to life!”

You may be able to upgrade this one to an In-seat Roll Up if it's possible to extend your arms straight out in front of you. However, for myself, not so much.

Reaching down toward your carry-on bag is expected activity though so you may not even look weird, although the flight attendant may hand you an air-sickness bag…

  1. Pull your stomach in until you feel your back firmly into the back of the seat. Inhale.
  2. Plant your feet on the floor as wide as the space will allow. Mine got to be about hip-width apart. Push your heels into the floor and squeeze the bottom.
  3. Scoop in and reach toward your carry-on bag and keep your stomach and ribs as far away from your legs as you can. Exhale. Repeat 5x every hour or so.

Reach from way down in the low back as you stretch the back way over the stomach pulling in. You're trying to lengthen that slumpy part, which should feel good. Come back up with a book or some ear buds and no one will be the wiser.

 2. Water Closet Wall

Take a moment of quiet time for yourself in the most spacious place you'll find on the airplane. Seriously, you may be able to extend your arms in front of you, but I dare you to circle them. So for the Wall exercise, I didn't have room for the Circles. I thought about the Roll Down, but I'd already covered that with the Spine Stretch in my seat. Given the confined quarters and the proximity of your head to the plumbing, well I stuck with the most appropriate part of the Wall for the space, Skiing, or Squats.

  1. Use the lavatory door as the Wall. Walk the feet forward and hip-width apart until you can feel your entire back on the Wall.
  2. Reach the arms forward and up as you slide down the Wall. Keep your hips above your knees and pull your stomach deeply in and up as you reach toward  the ceiling with the fingertips.
  3. Push the wall away with your stomach as you slide up the Wall. Imagine you are pressing the air down as the arm press down and return to your sides.

It's really the same lengthening and lifting of your back that you were doing in Spine Stretch: stomach in and back stretching long.

And if it skeeves you out to slide up and down the door of an airplane lavatory you may want to rethink the whole flying thing in general…maybe I shouldn't have spelled it out like that.

At the very least you'll arrive home hungry for the Reformer. Your carriage awaits…

2 Essential Pilates Moves at 30,000 Feet

Serendipitous Bonus (for those of you who do speak yoga)

Share your travel survival tips in a comment below. Anyone manage to do the Teaser in-flight?

What did you Learn Today?

What Did You Learn Today?

Written just before my Holiday vacation, December 2011

So my plan was to finish up my day yesterday pretty early actually…and then get down to the task of my own workout. I know, very risky to put it at the end of the day like that. But I had plenty of time to myself before Joe got home from work and…well…you know how it goes, once the “workday” is finished it is very easy to get distracted finishing up at my desk, laundering towels, relaxing (!), thinking about my impending holiday travel, etc…You see where this is going…

Alas, there was to be no workout that afternoon, only wine.

But hey, I’m on holiday, right?

The Rationalization:

“Well…my flight is in the afternoon so we will not be leaving in the morning until around 10:30 or 11, so there will be plenty of time to have a morning workout and it will be a nice way to wake up and stretch out to feel good before the airport and the potential chaos of the day.”

Okay, this morning plan has barely breezed into my mind and I have my doubts.

The Reformer was staring me down as well.

What Did You Learn Today?

Really.

I’m going to wake up at 7 or 7:30am and have breakfast. Okaaaaay…

THEN workout, followed by a shower and the last of my packing? Really. That’s what’s going to happen?

Have you met Andrea? Because that doesn’t sound like her at all…

And then an amazing thing happened. Well, let’s call it Amazing Thing #1. I had a great desire to stretch out that next morning. Great. So far, so good. After breakfast (check!) I laid down on the reformer, not really with any expectations at this point. Truth be told, my first plan was to do three repetitions of every exercise so I could have time to fit in all my reformer exercises. Then I did the footwork and the hundred before I remembered my “plan” so I recalculated and decided I would do as much as I could in the 45 minutes I had. And doncha know that was plenty of time? Imagine that.

And then I was in it.

Moving, feeling good, learning a couple things about the stuff I’m working on, having a good ol’ stretchy time.

Upon finishing my workout I had the most pleasant realization – Amazing Thing #2! Pilates was really what my mind needed today. By focusing fully on my workout I did not have any room in my head for my usual pre-travel thoughts of logistics, airport security anxieties, imminent family visiting, FLYING, you name it and I will worry about it.

Instead I felt calm. I felt centered in my mind. I felt strong and grounded in my body and happy to shower and then finish my travel preparations. And yeah, I am intimately acquainted with this post-workout feeling, but it was all the more lovely juxtaposed against the backdrop of this particular day.

And that is what I learned today.

What did you learn today? Share some holiday cheer in a comment below.

The Bust Redux!

No tiny white shorts necessary…

Just wanted to share a follow-up to my inaugural post NYC For Bust. One of my very first Pilates teachers Kerry DeVivo, owner of Excel Pilates Annapolis was in New York and took her own walk up 8th Avenue to feast her eyes on Joe's famous statue.

I made it her mission to get a photo of Pilates in the buff, shall we say.

Voila!

The Bust Redux!

DeVivo does not disappoint.