I stumbled into Pilates quite by accident (I wonder how many of us have done the same thing?). I had moved away from Nursing to a job in Pharmaceutical Marketing and I was working late. A friend asked me to join her at her exercise class and that was my first Pilates experience.
I loved it from the beginning – I honestly felt my body uncurling from a forward seated position and my spine sighing as I explored, what I now know to be better alignment. I felt stronger, toned and far more flexible than I had for ages – if not for ever! Growing up playing a number of sports, very little, if any time, was given to lengthening and strengthening any muscle group. I was besotted with how moving my body in this new Pilates way felt so good.
I continued taking Pilates classes, moving between Mat and Machines for many years, and began to develop my infatuation in exploring how my body moved and felt with Pilates. I have always enjoyed different movement modalities, but Pilates kept pulling me back, waiting patiently for my return.
It was after a Breast Cancer diagnosis is 2011 that I decided to act on my desire of becoming an Instructor. I had continued with my Pilates classes all through my treatment, being encouraged by my instructors to explore the movement and find ways of feeling better. Some days it might have been through my breath, other days just concentrating on the movement took my mind off my diagnosis, which was a huge release. Pilates helped me feel strong and a little more in control of my body.
I have enjoyed every minute of working as an instructor, knowing that every client is facing different challenges with their body. Pilates really is for EVERYBODY. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced. Whether preparing for an operation or recovering from surgery or an illness, or simply working to maintain your strength and flexibility.
My studio renovation is now complete – Thank You Ascot Refurbishments – and I’m excited to be able to offer Pilates instruction on the reformer, vertical tower, wunda chair and other small equipment, as well as the more well known mat based pilates exercises. Offering one on one instruction during your one hour lesson, we will be able to focus on what your body needs and go at your pace. Beginners to advanced are welcome.
If you are unfamiliar with Pilates equipment, the reformer is probably the most well known. The range of exercises that can be performed on the reformer is numerous, and provides a challenging and intense workout, changing the way you feel and look by offering the body both resistance and support. Springs and body weight are used to create resistance during the workout which isolate specific muscle groups. Many of the stretches that can be performed on the reformer are difficult to replicate on the mat or other pieces of equipment.
If you are familiar with the reformer, you’ll be used to the controlled, flowing workouts that put your muscles through a full range of motion. Added to the reformer, the vertical tower provides increased versatility to the exercise programme. With hundreds of exercises on offer, you won’t get bored! If you’re looking for something to complement your mat based pilates workout or wanting to try something new, why not get in touch and book a session?
Are you, or do you know somebody who is a breast cancer survivor?
The Pink Ribbon Program is a post operative, pilates based, Recovery Program, developed by a survivor for survivors to help regain mobility, and improve strength and posture.
The Program is taught over 6 weeks, twice a week for 30 minute sessions, either one-on-one or in small groups. It is equally suitable for recent survivors and those whose surgery was some time ago, but who have failed to recover full mobility and musculature in affected areas.
As a Pink Ribbon Program instructor I am a certified Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist and also know first hand how difficult it is to begin an exercise program post-operatively. The many benefits of the Pink Ribbon Program include helping to regain strength and mobility in the affected shoulder and arm, enhancing physical and mental well-being and improving self confidence. The program also provides rehabilitation from surgeries, including mastectomy, lumpectomy, lymph node removal and reconstructive procedures.
Please contact me for more information about classes and click on the Pink Ribbon Program link for more information. http://www.pinkribbonprogram.com
My latest beginners’ course started this week in Virginia Water. I purposely keep the class sizes small so each person can have lots of attention and that’s important because we all have different bodies that move in different ways.
Everyone’s reason to start pilates is different too. There’s always a mixture of ages, body shapes, fitness and flexibility and it’s worth remembering that it’s not always the fittest people who are the most flexible! Pilates is a great way of working on muscle imbalances caused by taking part in other sports, as well being created by the lives we lead.
The beginners’ course lasts for 6 weeks and teaches the principals of Pilates, really focussing on body alignment and the importance of the core, and the exercises build each week. Every exercise can be modified and adapted depending on your capability and at the end of 6 weeks, you’ll have a new found understanding of how your body moves, not to mention you’ll feel stronger too.
Mats and any small equipment used are provided. You just have to turn up in comfortable clothing! Come along to a course and try it – you may just love it!
Everybody’s motivation to exercise is different. This is a wonderful account of what Pilates meant to one woman on her journey with breast cancer, and how small things can make a big difference.
Pilates isn’t just about what you learn in classes – its fundamentals can be applied to everyday situations, where ever you are and what ever you’re doing.
By taking what you learn out of the studio, the benefits of pilates can be felt for longer. Take gardening for instance. Recently a client who hadn’t thought of using her core to support her back when gardening was disappointed at the end of the day when her back was sore. Engaging the core before lifting, bending, twisting or digging helps support the back as it moves, reducing the risk of pain. That principle can just as easily be applied to movements such as picking up a child, a shopping bag, or a suitcase or getting in and out of the car.
Throughout the day it’s easy for shoulders to hunch which can cause shoulder and neck tension and lead to discomfort. By remembering to keep shoulders relaxed and actively keeping your shoulders down your back (think about putting them in your back pockets) you can reduce muscle tightness and tension in your neck and shoulders, improving posture and helping you stand taller. A strong, engaged core and good upper body posture go a long way to supporting the rest of our body as we go about everyday tasks. But it’s not just every day tasks that benefit from applying what you learn in a Pilates class – sporting performance can also be improved. A stronger, better balanced body is a more efficient body – the benefits are endless. What’s your motivation to learn Pilates?
Welcome to Carrie’s Pilates and my new website.
As this is my first blog, it seems right to start at the beginning, looking at what Pilates is and how it can benefit you.
Pilates is a series of exercises to develop physical strength, core endurance, coordination, flexibility and joint mobility, as well as reducing stress, improving mental focus and creating a sense of well being. It’s recognized by Health Professionals, as being a safe and healthy way to exercise, and the great thing is that you don’t need a particular fitness level to start. There’s no ‘right’ body shape either. The exercises are designed to lengthen muscles giving a leaner look and importantly, a balanced body and are a great compliment to sports, such as running, cycling, swimming, rowing, golf, tennis to name but a few. If you’re a regular at any sport and don’t take time to stretch the muscles used and strengthen those not used on a regular basis, tightness and injury may occur. A balanced body where all muscles are worked evenly is a much more efficient, not to mention, happy body.
Maybe you’re not a regular at sport, but you also have aches and pains? Maybe you’re recovering from injury, illness or childbirth? Over time, just living our lives can create muscular imbalances in our bodies that can be addressed by, and benefit, from Pilates.
If you’ve been thinking about starting a Pilates class, or even if you haven’t, why not come along and try it out. You might just love it! Looking forward to seeing you.