We all know that we should exercise. We want to look better, feel better, and reap the health benefits that come from an exercise regime. One of my favorite benefits of exercise is the relationship that it has with mood, stress and energy levels. When we exercise, the body releases a chemical called endorphins into the blood stream. Endorphins help to elevate our mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and give us that physical “high” that leaves us happy for the rest of the day. These benefits are especially present during a mind-body workout such as Pilates. The combination of deep breathing, mental focus and the graceful, coordinated Pilates movements can do much to promote endorphin release and stress reduction. As a life-long dancer, Yogi and Pilates teacher, I have found my relationship to mindful movement and exercise my primary source of creative expression, personal fulfillment and sense of self awareness. My exercise routine makes me feel grounded in both my mind and body, which I call upon as a source of strength in times of physical or mental stress. Without my workouts I would feel restless, cranky, and more prone to injury. As many of us do, I struggle daily with the challenges of modern life and the desire to “do it all.” I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a business owner. In spite of my many responsibilities, I know that my primary responsibility is to the care and support of my own body and mind. When I am grounded, healthy and in balance in my own body, I am better able to be of service to my family, my students, and my colleagues. My Pilates workouts leave me feeling strong, limber, and in control of my various aches and pains. They are also an opportunity for me to quiet my mind and push my to-do list and daily worries to the back burner, as I focus on my breath and my movements. I love when my students tell me that they leave their sessions feeling energized, happy and generally feeling better in their body than when they walked in the door. I invite you to join me in becoming grounded through your Pilates workout, either by visiting us at the studio for a lesson, or at home with a DVD. Enjoy your endorphin high!
Many people begin Pilates lessons as a means to improve their overall health, enhance athletic performance, and recover from injury. Many of my clients have started Pilates on the recommendation of their doctor, physical therapist, or friend or family member who felt that they would benefit from strengthening their core and improving their flexibility.. The Pilates method of exercise is one of the most recommended ways to safely and effectively strengthen your core and stretch tight muscles. Pilates is especially recommended for people who need to build core strength due to a spine, hip or shoulder injury. “The Core” refers to what Joseph Pilates called the body’s “powerhouse” of muscles. These are the muscles of the abdominals, low back, pelvic floor and hips. These muscles wrap around the torso, spine and the internal organs like a girdle or corset. The core muscles create a strong and stable central pillar to support the body’s functional movement. Core strength refers to the ability to efficiently recruit these muscles during daily, functional activities in order to prevent injury, maintain correct posture, and to protect injured tissue or bones. Pilates has been found to be extremely effective in building core strength, since it emphasizes concentration, control, movement quality, and deep breathing.