On the 8th Day of March MATness Joe Pilates gave to me…

On the 8th Day of March MATness Joe Pilates gave to me...

The Spine Stretch!

#MM2015

#spinestretch

#opentheback

#Pilateshaiku

with lift and a scoop

the tug-of-war within you

opens up the back

Use MM hashtags on Facebook, twitter and Instagram to find amazing Pilates Mat inspiration from around the world.

Thank you so much Dana Santi, Colleen Naughton Strong and Chris Robinson for an amazing Classical Pilates Conference in San Diego! 

Where else would I be able to find beautiful and strong Pilates teachers ready to burst into action at the drop of a blogpost?!

Just joining us? 

Here’s some MATness you may have missed:

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!

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?

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