Video Blog: The Teaser “My legs are too long!”

Video Blog: The Teaser "My legs are too long!"

The familiar complaints – dare I call them excuses? – about any given Pilates exercise:

“My arms are too short!”

“My legs are too long!”

Or my favorite:

“There must be something wrong with the Reformer!”

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Quick Teaser Facts

  • The Teaser requires the back to be in a Round shape. Your shape must be solid. This is crucial to the wrangling of said long legs.
  • You must actively be doing a lot of work to create and sustain your Teaser during the entire exercise. Not just balance, but hard sweaty work is required for Teaser success. Willpower, friends!
  • Think like an animal and master the 2-way stretch.

The Internal Tug-of-War

Really just another name for the 2-way stretch, I like to think about the unrelenting oppositional forces you must employ to execute the Teaser with proper control. The work of the strong scoop/lift of the center is in a constant battle with the long reach outward and upward of all the limbs.

Working in this manner will give your Teaser control, strength and balance. Awesome.

One Fine Teaser

Join my client Greg and I for this week's video blog. We aim to demystify the how-the-hell-can-I-do-the-Teaser-and-straighten-my-super-long-legs conundrum.

Never complain about your long legs again when you see what this guy can do.

A Few Nerdy Factoids

  • Greg is 6'8″ and he's working on an 86″ Gratz Reformer in 2nd gear.
  • When Greg first began Pilates lessons years ago, one of his goals was to be able to do the Teaser with his legs straight. Check!
  • I speak about “3 little stretches” similar to the ones you can do in the Roll Up and the Spine Stretch on the Mat: 3 little stretches = the constant battle of the 2-way stretch!

I appreciate you and hope you have a great workout today! Thank you for watching 🙂

The Pilates exercises are perfect for every body. 

Share your own Teaser successes in a comment below.

Read my full Pilates confession about the Teaser in a related post on Pilatesology.

What do you love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

What do you love about Pilates RIGHT NOWA big thank you to all subscribers for their support throughout my blog's inaugural year.

I loved reading your insightful comments. I am honored that you were able to share your personal experiences with our brilliant Pilates Method.

Truly inspiring.

For those of you that are new to the blog,

Welcome.

I invite you to troll the archives. Should there be a particular topic, exercise or concept you'd like to see in a future post, I'd love to hear about it.

That exercise you hate just might make the blog. I might even “hate” it too.

That said, lately, I've got tons on my Pilates mind. New thoughts and experiences are percolating about such familiar exercises as the Roll Up and the Elephant. Chinese New Year (The Year of the Horse!) is also tempting me if you recall last year's Year of the Snake post.

Yeesh…a post on the Horseback?? I'm so scared of how much I need to delve into and dissect that one, surely I must step up to the plate. Worst-case scenario, my Horseback gets a little better…

Win Whin-ny!

What do I love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

Peeling the Onion

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

My client Gail and I love to discuss the process of uncovering the infinite layers of the Pilates Method as ‘peeling the onion.'

According to Answers.com:

peel the onion

This metaphor is often used to describe an enlightened approach to problem solving: By methodically removing each layer of the onion, one is able to appreciate the complexities at each level as you eventually reach the core where you can objectively define the problem.

Eventually, reach the core' – how apropos.

But we soon realize, what happens when you peel an onion?

You cry…

There's no crying in Pilates.

We have since switched up our metaphor.

Eating the Artichoke

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

More tasty and satisfying than an onion, yet similar in scope. Many layers and leaves to contend with, changes in taste and texture, prickly parts as you get deeper and deeper in, and finally if you're lucky, what happens when you reach the center?

The heart is delicious.

It's hard to decide which I love more. Pilates or artichokes…

It's my favorite thing about Pilates RIGHT NOW.

Pilates has been described as an endless journey. It has been said that if one is true to Pilates, Pilates will indeed be true to you. Study the Pilates Method well and discover layer upon layer of potential in yourself.

It's undeniably empowering and a ridiculously-good-for-you daily habit to cultivate.

You shall reap the fruits of your labors tenfold.

100 fold!

But that's just one thing I'm jazzed about RIGHT NOW. Not to mention my current obsessions with Handstands at the Ladder Barrel, the Thigh Stretch everywhere and the reach of the lower body…

If you ask me again tomorrow I'll probably have a different answer.

So I reached out via social media to see what's on your mind Pilates-love-wise. Thoughts and experiences poured in from across the continental US and Hawaii, UK, Puerto Rico, Israel, Estonia, Scotland, Australia, Canada (O, Canada!), Indonesia, Romania, Turkey…

Wow.

So what it is about Pilates that everyone is loving RIGHT NOW?

The most beloved?

1. Physical and Mental Health/The elusive Fountain of Youth!

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

Ooh, this was a biggie…

“It takes my mind away from everything else.” Amen, sister.

“Just yesterday I had a lady in her 60s say she felt a youth and brightness in her body that she hadn't felt since she was a teenager.” Return to Life!

“I can touch my toes!” says Chuck Rapoport at 76, reaching his toes for the first time in his life.

“The gift of movement is more movement.” Beautiful!

2. “I learn something new every day.”

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

…which, of course, you all remember, means you are a genius!

“It seems that I'm never tired and never bored with it! It keeps the fire, the challenge and the move on.” No boring exercise!

“Working out a lot and always surprised by some new thing I find/feel each time.” It is amazing that way…

“How much there is to learn. So much breadth and depth, it's exciting.” Get excited about feeling good.

“That it still makes me feel the way it did the first time I worked out on the apparatus 30 years ago.” The classics never go out of style…

“It's a constant challenge in the best way: during personal practice, while teaching, while learning. Pilates keeps me permanently alert!” Did complacency kill the cat?

“I love that right now fascia fitness is the next big thing and Pilates has been fascia fitness all along!” Joe Pilates said he was 50 years ahead of his time…I'm thinking it's more like 100.

 3. Community/Higher Education

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

“Connection within the body and throughout the community, connecting the archival work and methodology to current movement research, and connecting to the never-ending depth within the work!” Deep stuff to be had here…

“Community, support, a wealth of shared knowledge, diving deeper and making new passionate pilates friends.” Again, diving in deep!

“RIGHT NOW the most impressive thing about our profession is the tremendous push towards next-level training. Mentor programs, Master's programs, intensives, and business support are burgeoning in our industry providing the educational opportunities to instructors that will truly redefine the practice of Pilates going forward.” Alycea Ungaro weighs in on a significant development in our industry.

“The community in which I belong, hands down.” Nerd out with all your Pilates besties!

 4. Trust Contrology. It Works.

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

“My favorite thing about Pilates right now is how I can have complete faith in it. I trust it and it never fails me or my clients.” Pilates is your best friend for life!

“Practicing the system builds stronger trust into it day by day. Contrology works.” Do Pilates. It works.

“Pilates is a translation tool for everything else I do.” Guilty. Make Pilates your secret weapon.

5. “I love my job!”

What do you Love about Pilates RIGHT NOW?

“Discovering new things about my body through daily practice AND how I then translate them through my teaching…love my job!” Daily discoveries – love 'em.

“Witnessing a client's ‘aha!' moment.” I get excited when a client makes a new connection. I start talking loud.

“The feeling you have when you know you've taught a great class and a client texts you: ‘Fantastic class!’” Hey, I'm good at this.

“Healing, empowering, humbling, inspiring….all at the same time.” We wouldn't have it any other way.

Missed your chance to weigh in?

Share your love in a comment below.

If you change your mind tomorrow, well then hit it again…

BOOK REVIEW: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Book Review: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Received one morning on vacation in Paris:

Hi Andrea,
I was wondering if you would like me to send you a copy of “Pilates An Interactive Workbook.” 
Warmest wishes,
Christina Maria Gadar

Pilates An Interactive Workbook is a wonderful new book by Christina Maria Gadar. I had been secretly wanting this book since it was released on August 29, 2013.

Good-fortune hovers closeby when in a magical city.

Need. More. Christina.

Christina Maria Gadar is one of my favorite Pilates practitioners. She completed her rigorous Pilates training under Joseph Pilates' protégée and Grand Master Instructor Romana Kryzanowska in 2000. She operates a world-class Pilates studio in Sarasota, Florida.

Should you be a Sarasota local I highly recommend you stop by for a lesson.

Although we have not met in person I have the highest regard and admiration for her thoughtful social media postings. The high standards of her studio are evident in her flawless videos, each featuring a different Pilates apparatus. She is a shining example of a connected and precise transition.

Have a look:

She nimbly zips up the mountain like a sprite in Mountain Climb on the Wunda Chair.

Calm focus is about her as she busts out even Swakate on the Arm Chair. It becomes an elegant exercise. Even as I watch I can feel its deliciousness…

BOOK REVIEW: Pilates An Interactive Workout by Christina Maria GadarSpeedy Delivery

The book arrived the very day she said it would, one day after my return from Europe.

It was bigger and more weighty than I expected and really said ‘serious.'

She even signed it – another fun surprise!

Although book reviews are not my usual style of posts, the idea for this review was entirely mine. Christina said she would be very happy for me to review it.

“I know there is no guarantee of a positive review, and I prefer it that way.”

Alignment trumps all. 

Pilates An Interactive Workbook sports the perfect tagline:

BOOK REVIEW: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Her POV – and indeed the POV of the Pilates Method itself – are in perfect alignment.

Oh gosh, I needed that pun.

A place for everything and everything in its place…

Christina has created a Pilates workbook that is part Exercise Manual and even more importantly part Exercise Journal. A place to keep all your thoughts, notes, corrections, etc… on a given exercise for handy reference.

Often the process of writing down the notes can help to cement them in the mind. Christina also wisely suggests that you write all your notes in pencil, “as your notes will change as your body changes.

There is no end to learning Pilates. Learn to savor each moment and each progression in your Pilates education. Then you will find yourself getting to the heart of the method.

The intended purpose of Pilates An Interactive Workbook is plainly stated. In bold, mind you.

“Please remember that this book is meant only for those who are already students of a certified Pilates instructor. Pilates cannot be learned from a book or video – only from a teacher.”

The italics are Christina's.

The Heart and Soul of the Method

All of the fundamental Pilates exercises on the Mat and the Reformer are in attendance. If the Reformer is at the heart of Pilates, the Matwork is surely the soul of the Method.

The Matwork is divided into a ‘basic' and an ‘intermediate' system. Also included are additional series aimed at the Pilates client/home exerciser which require only a small prop or a wall: Magic Circle exercises, Standing Arm Weights and the Wall series. Huzzah!

The Reformer section includes both fundamental as well as more challenging exercises such as Teaser, Semi-Circle and Side Splits. It is again a solid group of exercises on the Reformer that Pilates teachers use daily when working with nearly every client.

In the above photo you can see a sample of the page layout that is used throughout the book. This kind of organization is appealing to me. Nearly half to three-quarters of every left-hand page is reserved for your notes and observations on each particular exercise.

The thought of having all of my notes on the Backstroke together in one place is practically more excitement than I stand. Over time some notes would replace others of course, but collecting all of the notes would allow you to see what is improving over time, and what notes you got the very first time that you are still getting today…

***nerdgasm***

Get ready, here's another one.

 

I'm someone who's nerdy about the details.

The above photo also shows the ‘Detail' section located on many of the bottom left-hand pages. Christina is pictured here demonstrating the transition into the Corkscrew. Other Detail sections examine correct placement, show other secure and effective transitions between exercises and include tips for proficiency.

It's almost like having a teacher with you.

Imagine that.

Pilates for Life 

A large Detail section delineates the the various parts of the Reformer apparatus itself: head rest, carriage, the well, leather straps, etc… This section deserves to be quoted in its entirety:

In addition to being familiar with your individual workout routine on the Reformer, it is important to be familiar with the set-up of the Pilates apparatus. Knowing the set-up for each exercise will enhance your concentration and self-efficiency. It will also reinforce the proper techniques necessary for lifting, bending and and reaching. Before you know it, you will find yourself incorporating Pilates into every minute of your day.

Another gem:

The Reformer section does not begin at the Footwork Series. It starts with the very first moment of the workout: Lying down on the Reformer Apparatus. It is given the same prominence, value and design layout as every one of the exercises. Boom.

Pilates teachers everywhere are thanking you 🙂

A must for the self-proclaimed Pilates Nerd and enthusiast of all stripes, Pilates An Interactive Workbook clearly communicates the ideas and skills inherent and crucial to success in the Pilates Method:

  • Quality over quantity.
  • The imperative of learning a new exercise with a trained instructor before doing it on your own.
  • Practicing at home to make the most of your investment in Pilates lessons and take true ownership of your workout.
  • The Pilates Method is a complete system.

I am very happy to have this book. And to put it to good use. My Swan on the Barrel page is filling up!!

For more information on Christina Maria Gadar visit her at Gadar Pilates.

Book Review: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Do you own this book? How has it informed your own Pilates practice? Share your thoughts and join the conversation.

You can order the book for your favorite Pilates student here. (Even if it's you.)

3 Strategies for Success on the Wunda Chair

3 Strategies for Success on the Wunda Chair

The premise:

Joe Pilates created all The Pilates apparatuses to help you to do the Mat better. Okay.

To help Client X – Let's call him Mr. X – better his mat exercises you take him to the Wunda Chair.

A bold move. Me likey.

The Wunda Chair is a choice for challenge. Very different than lying Mr. X on the Cadillac for an exercise, you have brought him to the Chair, where he'll receive nothing short of a kick in the pants, German-style.

No doubt you have chosen an exercise that will challenge Mr. X in a way that when he returns to the Mat again next time, his exercises will be ever more manageable after his encounter with Wunda.

3 Strategies for Success on the Wunda Chair

1.  Don’t lose your Sh*t, K? 

Remember it’s still Pilates – you’re just on the Chair. The exercises may feel different but you can stay calm and (1) apply the same work and tactics that serve you on the Reformer, Mat and Cadillac to those pesky Chair exercises, and (2) rise to the challenge of the Wunda and come away with new skills to serve you all around the studio.

Footwork: The Footwork on the Chair is a great boon for the Footwork on the Reformer. Challenge Mr. X to find a Tall Back sitting up and help him to work his bottom. He'll gain more control to close the pedal and ultimately to close the carriage on the Reformer.

The Push Down: The Roll Up just got even more brilliant!

Going Up Front: I find this exercise to be particularly helpful to find connection and strength for the Front Splits on the Reformer. Not to mention a host of other stuff…

2.  Your objective on the Chair: control your muscles to close the spring.

Hmmm…where have I heard that before?

On the Reformer your one over-arching goal is to close the spring with control. Almost without exception the carriage goes out only so you get to control it on the way in. Brilliant!

On the Wunda Chair this means the pedal does not push you around.

Closing the pedal is the work of the exercise.

Yup. It’s all about control. Freakish, gut-wrenching control.

3.  What exercise(s) on the Chair can you use for Mr. X’s whatever?

The Wunda Chair: How did we get here?

Moreover, now that we are here – what shall we do?

Does Mr. X need more Round for his Elephant? More Round and control for the Teaser? Does he need help to sit up straight and tall?

Lucky for him we have the Wunda Chair: wundaful exercises to help all of the above and more:

  • Some Pull Ups for his Elephant!
  • Hey, some Teasers he can do on the Chair! Nasty but happy to help.
  • And Backwards Arms exercise to help him sit up taller. He will be so happy…
Related Post: 4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda Chair:

 

Must. Have. More. Wunda?

Join me on November 16 @ Studio S Pilates, Temecula, CA

Click on the image for more details.

Thank you so much for reading!

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda Chair

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda ChairIt's no secret that the very first exercises you learn on the Wunda Chair can be challenging. The small size of this apparatus can leave you and your clients mostly hanging out in space bereft of support.

Gone is the luxury of lying down on the Mat, Reformer or Cadillac.

The Wunda Chair is compact. Stylish, even.

You've still got a “mat” area, per se, but oh, it has gotten teenie tiny…and rarely do you perch on it…

Working on the Chair – and taking clients there as well – can definitely up your game.

The Wunda Chair has panache!

To the uninitiated, it looks so unlike the other larger apparatus. Your client is intrigued…

They can feel the excitement in the air…

What's going to happen here?

Wait until they find out they must lift up the pedal with their stomach. Whaaa?

The 4 Must-Have Exercises

  1. The Push Down
  2. The Pull Up
  3. Spine Stretch Forward
  4. Teaser on the Floor

2 great pairs that work oh-so-well together.

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda ChairThe 1st dynamic duo: The Push Down and the Pull Up

Joe Pilates' genius has given you The Push Down where the lower body is fixed and the upper body moves, and exactly the opposite scenario in The Pull Up, where the upper body is fixed and the lower body is mobile. My gosh, they make a great pair.

Oh, and what are they good for?

Remember you are here at the Chair to get better at the Mat.

What fun. Happy to help!

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda ChairGiven the shape of these two exercises what can they help your client achieve?

What other exercises do they remind you of?

I love The Push Down and The Pull Up to reinforce the Round shape. Use them to improve the Elephant and Knee Stretches on the Reformer as well as the lying-down-counterpart of The Push Down: the Roll Up on the Mat. Get help from the The Pull Up to work on the Snake/Twist on the Reformer.

It doesn't get any better than that.

 

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda ChairPair Deux: The Spine Stretch Forward and the Teaser on the Floor

Deep within so many of the Pilates exercises there exists The Spine Stretch Forward. In the midst of the Roll Up and the Neck Pull on the Mat, in all of the exercises done on the Short Box and the Rowing Series on the Reformer you'll create your own tug-of-war within yourself. You will scoop the stomach in and up as you reach your back further up and over your aforementioned stomach.

 

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda ChairThe Teaser on the Floor can give your client a great assist to strengthen their Teasers – on the Mat and beyond. Using what you have just cultivated in the Spine Stretch Forward will help your stomach to make the Round back of the Teaser and pull up that pedal. You will use your stomach to close the spring with control to create and strengthen the Round shape of the Teaser.

 

You will use the springs in the same manner as you do on the Reformer.

What???!!!!

How did we get here? We're talking about the Wunda Chair!

Wait.

What is Mantra #1? 

4 Must-Have Pilates Exercises on the Wunda Chair

Yes! So on the Reformer the one over-arching goal is to close the spring with control. By learning to control the springs as they close you are learning to control your stomach, your powerhouse, your center, your body.

On the Wunda Chair this means the pedal does not push you around. The pedal pushing you around is the equivalent of the Reformer springs pulling the carriage in with a big BANG, reputedly the worst sin you could commit in Joe Pilates' studio.

Control. You reign supreme.

Don't let that pedal push you around.

Use your 4 Must-Haves to improve oh-so-many other exercises:

  • Elephant
  • Knee Stretches
  • Snake/Twist
  • Neck Pull
  • Teaser 1,2,3
  • Hip Circles
  • Spine Stretch Forward on the Mat
  • Open Leg Rocker
  • Push Thru on the Cadillac
  • Going Up Front on the Wunda Chair
  • The Short Box
  • Teaser on the Long Box
  • The Mountain Climb on the Wunda Chair
  • The Rowing Series on the Reformer

And the list goes on and on…

Join me on November 16 @ Studio S Pilates, Temecula, CA

Must. Have. More. Wunda.

Click on the image for more details.

Thank you so much for reading!

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