March Mat-ness Challenge Day 4

Today we will perform the Half Roll Back.  This exercise is performed in a seated position with legs bent, feet flat on the mat, and torso rounded forward and arms reaching over the legs.

Begin with an inhale holding the starting position.  On your exhale, roll the torso away from the legs half way back.  On your inhale, take the torso forward to the starting position.

For the entire exercise, keep the abdominal muscles engaged.  Feel as if your belly button is pulling back away from your thighs.  Also, the back should be round, but do not collapse through the front of the shoulders.  Keep the shoulders pulled back and a space between your chin and chest.

Perform 5 – 10 repetitions of this exercise.

Advertisements

March Mat-ness Challenge Day 3

Today we will perform the infamous Hundred.  This is an abdominal endurance exercise similar to the Ab Prep from Day 1, but held for 100 breaths.  See Day 1 for a description of the position for this exercise.

Begin in your Ab Prep position with your head and shoulders lifted up.  Hold your head and shoulders up with your arms reaching by your sides.  You will gently pat your arms by your sides to create a rhythm for your breath.  As you pump your arms, you will inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts all the while keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in and flat.  Do this for 100 breaths.

As a beginner, you will perform this exercise with your legs bent and your feet on the mat.  As you progress, you can move to legs in a table top position.  From there you would progress to keeping the legs in table top for the inhales, and extend the legs away from the body on the exhales.  Finally, you when strong enough to keep the abdominal muscles pulled in the entire time, you could hold your legs in the extended position for the entire exercise.

Don’t progress too quickly!  Make sure your form is correct before moving forward.  If you experience and tension in your neck or shoulders, feet should be down on the mat, and you may lower your head to the mat while continuing the breathing.

March Mat-ness Challenge Day 2

Today’s mat exercise is called Breast Stroke Prep.  In the video, I show 3 different ways to perform the exercise.  I begin with the easiest and progress to the more challenging of the three.

The first way to perform the Breast Stroke is to lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your hands under your shoulders.  Abdominal muscles should feel pulled up away from the mat, and hips bones should be pressing into the mat.  Begin with an inhale.  On your exhale, reach through the top of your head and lift up away from the mat.  Think of keeping your body in a long line rather than trying to bend your back.  Also, don’t put a lot of weight into your hands to lift up, instead use your core muscles to do the work. Hold for one inhale, then exhale and lengthen back down to the mat.

The second way is essentially the same except that you have your hands by the sides of your legs.  Reach down the sides of your legs as you lift up. Hold for one breath.  Then exhale to lengthen back down.

The third way is the same except for placing the back of your hands to your forehead.  You will lift your arms with your head and shoulders.  Hold for one breath.  Then exhale to lengthen back down.

If you are new to the exercise, begin with the first version.  Perform 3-5 repetitions.

March Mat-ness Challenge Day 1

Today is the first day of the March Mat-ness Challenge!  Each day in March we will perform a different Mat Pilates exercise.  I have videos of each exercise with directions on how to perform the exercise with or without modifications.  You perform the exercise they way it works best for your body.

The first exercise we will do is the Ab Prep.  This is performed lying on a mat on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat.  You can start with your hands by your sides.

Those new to the exercise should begin with a 4 breath pattern.  Start with an inhale and nod your chin slightly.  On your exhale, reach with your arms and curl your head and shoulders off the mat.  You’ll want to feel your ribs sliding towards your hips.  On your inhale, hold this position.  On your exhale, lengthen your head and shoulders back down to the mat.

Those who are new to the exercise will want to perform this in an imprint where the curve in the lower spine is flat against the mat.  As you get stronger you can progress to performing the exercise in a neutral spine.

You may also progress to having your hands behind your head.  Keep your elbows out to the sides and gently rest your head into your finger tips.  Do not pull on your head with your hands.

Finally, you may also progress to a 2 breath pattern where you would exhale to curl your head and shoulders off the mat, and inhale to lower back down.  Perform 5-10 repetitions.

 

How to Get Started at Pilates, Core, & More

sp_equipment_group-03_72dpi-rgb

If you have been thinking about starting Pilates, now is a great time to do it!  Pilates provides a wealth of benefits.  Here are a few:

  • Longer, leaner muscles
  • Core strength & stability
  • Injury prevention
  • Relief from stress & back pain
  • Better posture
  • Improved balance & coordination
  • Enhanced athletic performance
  • Effective post-rehabilitation
  • Heightened mind-body awareness
  • Increased self-confidence

So what are you waiting for?  Don’t know where to start?  At Pilates, Core, & More you have 3 Introductory offers to choose from to get you started.

  1.  3 Introductory Private Package for $200
  2. 3 Introductory Duet Package for $125/person
  3. Introductory Class Package for $100/person

1. The Introductory Private Package is great if you are wanting more individualized attention and want the flexibility to schedule your appointments at your convenience.  The package includes 3 private sessions, 1 Reformer Class, and a pair of ToeSox.  Schedule your appointments once a week or all three in one week – it’s up to you!  When you are finished with your 3 sessions, you can decide to try  a class or continue with private sessions.  When you are ready to try a class, you have one included in your package.  The Essential Reformer Level 1 or Level 1/2 are perfect for those who have just completed the introductory sessions. You also get to pick a pair of ToeSox to wear while working out.

2. The Introductory Duet Package is great if you have a partner you would like to work with.  The package includes 3 Duet sessions, 1 Reformer class, and 1 pair of ToeSox for each participant.  The appointments will be made according to you and your partner’s schedule.  Splitting the sessions makes them more affordable and gives you a workout buddy!  After the 3 sessions, you can decide to try a class or continue with duet sessions.  When you are ready to try a class, you have one included in your package. The Essential Reformer Level 1 or Level 1/2 are perfect for those who have just completed the introductory sessions.  You also get to pick a pair of ToeSox to wear while working out.

3. The Introductory Class Package is the for those who already have experience on Pilates equipment.  The package includes 5 Reformer classes and a pair of ToeSox.  New clients may choose from Level 1, Level 1/2, Level 2, Equipment Circuit class, or Cardio Blast class when just starting at Pilates, Core, & More.

Do not delay!  Now is the time to get started on your Pilates journey to a healthier spine, stronger muscles, and increased flexibility and balance.

Visit our website to get started today!sp_equipment_group-02_72dpi-rgb

Client Spotlight – Anne

img_0697

Anne Kelley

Q. How long have you been practicing Pilates?

A.”I took Mat Pilates at Happy Hollow for about 6 months and also from another instructor for another 6 months.  I started taking Pilates from Christina when she was teaching in her home about 3 years ago.”

Q. What is your favorite exercise?

A. “I like a variety of exercises on the Reformer.  Jumping on the Cardio Tramp is fun and a great aerobic exercise.”

Q. What is your favorite piece of equipment?

A. “I like the Reformer, but I would love to try the Cadillac!”

Q. What other forms of exercise do you regularly participate in?

A. “During the school months, I play tennis 2-3 times a week which I love.  We also enjoy snow skiing in Colorado with our girls.  In the summer, I play tennis 3 times a week, bike with a bunch of gals one day a week, and kayak on another day with the same bunch of girls in Okoboji.  I love summer and living on the lake.”

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. “I have been married for 43 years to my husband, Jerry, who I met at the University of Nebraska.  We have two wonderful daughters who live in Denver.”

Q. What do you think is the biggest benefit of doing Pilates?

A. “I do Pilates to strengthen my core.  It has really helped with the arthritis in my lower back.”

Q. How has Pilates made an impact on your life?

A. This past April, Christina pointed out to me when I was doing leg circles on the Reformer that my left leg was, “doing its own thing.”  I didn’t realize it until she pointed it out, and when I tried to correct it, I couldn’t.  I might not have thought too much about it except that I had noticed I also was lagging behind when walking for exercise with my girlfriends, and I wasn’t moving as quickly on the tennis court.  I just seemed to be lacking my usual energy.

To make a long story short . . . after seeing my internist and having an MRI, I was diagnosed with a meningioma which is a tumor in the lining of the brain.  The neurologists told me it had probably been growing slowly for 25-30 years and had finally gotten large enough to start pressing on the motor area of my brain and causing symptoms.  The doctors were all very impressed that my Pilates teacher (Christina) was the first one to notice the weakness in my left side.  On May 6th, I had a benign, racquet ball sized tumor removed during a 7 hour surgery.  I totally recovered and was back to all my physical activities in 8 weeks!

I feel very fortunate that Christina was so aware and perceptive of how my body normally performed that when she noticed I had a weakness on my left side, she pointed out to me.  Thank you, Christina.  I am forever grateful!

October Client Spotlight

img_0576

Rhonda Uleman

Q. How long have you been practicing Pilates?

A. I started doing Pilates in December 2015. I had been doing kettlebell for 4 years, but

was unable to continue with it because my knees and joints were hurting so bad. I was

very heavy and miserable. I didn’t know where to start with losing weight, so I ordered

the biggest loser 6 week challenge. I worked out private lessons with Christina, and

she was so help full and supportive with ideas to help me. She also gave me

Lisa Garrett’s name to contact for help with my nutrition. I have made a complete

change in my eating habits my moto is PROTIEN and PRODUCE. I eat very little carbs,

and I have been feeling a lot better since January and have lost 60 lbs so far. This is a

life change of how I eat.

Q. What is your favorite exercise?

A. I enjoy doing the jump board.

Q. What is your favorite piece of equipment?

A. I am enjoying learning new things on the Cadillac.

Q. What other forms of exercise do you regularly participate in?

A. Swimming and hiking

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. I have been married for 36 years, we have 2 daughters and 1 son, and we have 4 grandchildren.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A.  I am a beef lover and enjoy a good steak.

Q. How do you find time for Pilates?

A.  I schedule it into my daily calendar, to make sure I can be here at least 3 times a

week if not 4 times.

Q. What do you think is the biggest benefit of doing Pilates?

A.  It has helped me with my arthritis by keeping my joints moving.

That helps me out so I can keep up with our 4 grandchildren ranging from 7 years

old to 1.

September Client Spotlight

img_0461

Michelle Stigge

Q. How long have you been practicing Pilates?

A. I have been practicing Pilates for over 17 years – 1999 – 5 years of Mat Pilates and over 12 years of Reformer Pilates.  I began at 49 years old to get ready for grand children.

Q. What is your favorite exercise?

A. I enjoy standing leg exercises on the Reformer.  I also like the Jump Board.

Q. What is your favorite piece of equipment?

A. The Reformer is my most favorite.  I also like the Cadillac.

Q. What other forms of exercise do you regularly participate in?

A. I walk, use the elliptical, and enjoy water aerobics as well.

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. I have 3 children 47 to 28.  I adopted 2 children after my eldest graduated from high school.  I have 4 grandchildren 13, 8, 4, and 6 weeks.  Three girls and one grandson.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. My favorite food hands down is Mexican.  Coming from San Diego, I started eating it at an early age.  My very favorites are taquitos, spicy salsa, and guacamole.

Q. How do you find time for Pilates?

A. Pilates is a priority in my weekly schedule and has been for over 17 years.  My feeling of well being depends on it.  I am in class 3x per week.

Q. What do you think is the biggest benefit of doing Pilates?

A. A few years ago, I suffered 2 stroked which resulted in a heart valve replacement and an aneurysm repair.  I was very fortunate to have recovered with no lasting effects.  I was asymptomatic prior to this event, however, I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve unbeknownst to me.

Having a strong core as well as Pilates breathing being second nature to me made a vast difference in my recovery success.  My doctors verified it and I can’t imagine what recovery would have been like without the core and breathing working hand in hand.

It is more difficult to remain lean and strong and healthy as a senior.  I do, however, believe that these healthy habits go a long way in extending my active lifestyle as I age.  I plan to be doing Pilates into my 80’s and beyond.

I believe the adage that, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” in the aging process.  I so enjoy Christina’s expertise in the area of Pilates.  She is talented, informed, studied and I enjoy her class very much.