5 Power Pilates Relocate To Make You a Much Better Athlete

Pilates Northern Beaches are always one step ahead in giving you the best course for exercise. At some point in the last years, the badass prison-cell exercise of a German circus entertainer and boxer interned in England during World war got co-opted by soccer moms as well as university coeds. However more lately, several of the toughest professional athletes in professional sporting activities have actually uncovered the advantages of Pilates as well as added it to their training.

” It’s hard,” states NFL defensive back Johnson Bademosi. “I have actually been educating for football for ten years, and the very first time I attempted Pilates, I seemed like a child– I was actually having a hard time.”

Named for its inventor Joseph Pilates, who at some point brought it to the UNITED STATE, the system includes bodyweight-only workouts, generally on a piece of equipment called a reformer, which uses wheels that allow you focus on range of movement as opposed to resistance. That’s one reason professional athletes like Bademosi locate it so hard– it triggers lesser-used muscular tissues and also fully hires the core.

” It’s hard to plan for what’s required on the area by simply raising weights,” says Bademosi. “Pilates challenges you with truly unknown movements.”

Says Stanford University’s Nanci Conniff, who collaborates with pros like Bademosi, Andrew Good Luck, as well as Jeremy Lin, “With Pilates, you’re enhancing the muscular tissues that are better to the bone. You’re always working in expansion, to lengthen rather than reduce muscles,” which can counteract the tightening and stress of sport-specific, high-impact training.

Here, some reformer steps Conniff has modified to suit any type of exercise room and professional athlete.

Pilates for CrossFit

Conniff advises that CrossFitters include workouts like the Saw (check out the how-to,

right here) and also Swimmers to their warmup, as a means of prepping for huge, explosive moves. “These construct solid muscle connections in the intrinsic core, as well as higher versatility in the hips, which assists shield the reduced back,” she claims.

Swimmer: Lie facedown, arms stretched above, keep legs with each other as well as right. Reach via the top of your go to the most extension you can handle, chin tucked somewhat, eyes overlooking. Elevate your right arm and also left leg about 6 ″ off the ground, floating your head and breast up off the mat. Hold this position for 10 breaths. Alternate limbs.

Pilates for lifters

” These Pilates moves produce pelvic stability for heavy lifts, as well as for boosted adaptability and also variety of motion in the hamstrings, hips, and also low back,” claims Conniff.

Double leg kick: Lying facedown, bend knees to reach heels towards your butt. Arms get to behind your back, fingers tied, elbows curved, head relied on the right (if you can not lace fingers, use a resistance band to attach the hands). On inhale, kick both heels to your butt 2 or 3 times rapidly, then exhale as you stretch legs and also arms out long, raising your head and breast with eyes looking forward. Lower to starting setting with head resorted to the left, and repeat for 6 to 10 total breath cycles.

Teaser: Start with your back, head, as well as shoulders anchored to the flooring, legs raised to a 90 ° angle at your hips and also 90 ° once more at the knees, arms increased somewhat, regarding upper body high. Sweep arms expenses after that back descending towards sides, all at once expand boosts and out directly, lifting your body up right into a V-sit placement; hold for a couple of breaths. Complete by curtailing one vertebra each time, to beginning position. Repeat 3 to 5 times. (Make it extra challenging by carrying a conditioning ball.).

Pilates for endurance sporting activities.

Conniff states runners and bikers and also any individual else who places their body through recurring motions can make use of Pilates transfer to include core strength and stability, along with enhanced flexibility in their spine, hips, and shoulders.

Single-leg kick: Lie facedown, propped up on arm joints, legs extended long as well as pressed together. Lift the torso from the flooring, creating as much area between your flesh and also the floor as possible, maintaining the hips and upper legs down. On exhale, bend your right knee to kick your heel towards your butt two times rapidly then breathe in as you extend the leg to starting placement. Repeat 10 times each leg.

Stooping bike: Kneeling on your left knee, with appropriate leg prolonged straight out to the side, lean left, positioning your left hand on the floor. Elevate your appropriate leg until your foot is simply below hip height. Exhale while turning appropriate leg ahead; breathe in as you flex ideal knee, sweeping the leg back as far as feasible. Repeat 5 times, switch over legs.

Miraculous Benefits Of Practising Pilates Safely During Pregnancy

Pilates Northern Beaches are suitable for all levels, with a special focus on technique to ensure a safe and effective workout. Pregnancy is the greatest gift in the life of every woman. It is a bliss, it is the most delicate feeling that only a woman can experience. She deserves to enjoy the full course happily. But, often it becomes painful as it’s completely an overwhelming experience for your body. Generally all of us get very worried and anxious regarding the safety of the future mother and the growing baby. Carrying extra weight, issue in balance, swelling of feet, back pain, strain and stress are the common issues that come along with pregnancy. Worry not. Pregnancy Pilates masters in Adelaide have discovered some surprising benefits of Pilates during pregnancy. Have a look into them below.

Tummy muscles and pelvic floor become strong

During pregnancy, tummy muscles protect your body and help you carry the increasing weight of your baby easily. If it is not firm, then your body won’t be able to perform better. Practising Pilates when you are pregnant is suggested by professionals. It not only makes the tummy muscles strong but also strengthens the pelvic floor. As a result, the uterus and the baby stay protected.

Weight remains under control

As a law of nature, our body gains weight during pregnancy. But, if the weight exceeds the safe range then complications for both the mother and the baby can arise. Gentle Pilates exercises are recommended in such situations. It would keep the body fit, control weight and make the spine flexible.

Easy transformation of the body

Often it gets difficult to get the same old fit body after the birth of the child. Lack of movement and consuming unhealthy food at the time of pregnancy are the main causes of this issue. So, to avoid being a shapeless lump of mass, start practising Pilates being under the supervision of pregnancy Pilates masters in Adelaide.

Pre-and Probiotics Are Good For The Stomach

How can pre-and probiotics play a role in health and disease? You may have already eaten and drunk both types of drugs without your realizing it right away. Reduce sugary food car is one factor on how to improve gut health.

Bowel Health:

In the intestine takes place the bulk of digestion. A healthy gut does the job better than a gut that does not have it so good. It is largely the composition of intestinal bacteria that determines whether the gut remain healthy. There are several types of intestinal bacteria, and if bad bacteria are good growing conditions, reproduce themselves and create not only indigestion, but also diseases in other parts of the body.

Prebiotics – food for bacteria:

The health-promoting intestinal bacteria already present in the gut need good conditions to grow and reproduce. Because they feed on the food we eat, it’s up to us to choose foods that keep the good intestinal bacteria in the turns. Prebiotics are the name of science has sat on several substances in food that has just this effect. Prebiotics are the components of food that stimulates growth and activity of beneficial bacteria. And therefore contributes to good health.

Examples of Prebiotics:

The beneficial bacteria thrive when they eat carbohydrates. For carbohydrates to reach the bacteria, they must be indigestible and not absorbable in the human small intestine. Examples of such carbohydrates are fiber of several types of fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin and resistant starch.

What foods are Prebiotics?

Fructo-oligosaccharides and inulin are found in several common root vegetables such as artichoke and onions of all kinds, such as onions, garlic and leeks. Bananas, asparagus and chicory also contain a good deal, and especially wheat. In the United States contributes wheat with 70% of the intake of inulin. Fructo-oligosaccharides and inulin can be extracted from these sources and added to other foods, such as crackers.

Probiotics – foods with bacteria:

Most types of foods contain one or more types of bacteria. Some occur naturally, while others are added to give the food a new flavor or character. Yogurt is a good example of this. Yoghurt fermented with special lactic acid bacteria that makes yogurt thickens and gets a fresh taste. This process, people have known for over a thousand years. Some lactic acid bacteria have been shown to have very specific, health-promoting properties. These are called with a common concept of probiotics.

Examples of probiotics:

Several types of foods containing lactic acid bacteria, fermented milk, sourdough bread, yogurt, lactic acid fermented sauerkraut, cheese, sausage and butter. In addition, add a few types of foods and beverages probiotic lactic acid bacteria. In Norway, this applies Cultura, Biola and BioQ products. Culture is added to the A and B bacteria. All Biola products are added LGG bacteria. In addition, Biola Milk with flavor also added to the A and B bacteria. BioQ products are added to the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri.

Effects of probiotic bacteria:

The types of probiotic lactic acid bacteria added in dairy products, is considered to be the best documented. They are considered to have a number of beneficial health properties, including improving intestinal movements and shorten the time it takes to normalize the intestinal flora after a course of antibiotics. In addition, there are several studies showing that both children and elderly people have better health with probiotic foods. See separate articles on this.

What’s Hijacking Pilates Classes Across Melbourne? Part Two

Pilates instructor course are stimulating, personalized and deeply rooted in the art and science of movement. In our first part of this two-part blog, we discussed the history and core principles of Pilates. Now, we can dive into the trend that is taking root in many Pilates studios across Melbourne, and why you should watch out for it.


As fitness bootcamps and group fitness classes increase, we have become more ready to put a dance track and some dumbbells alongside just about anything. Even Yoga, one of the most meditative forms of exercise already with it’s Vinyasa style of flow, has experienced a cultural shift as some yogi’s attempt to morph it into an aerobics-style workout.

It saddens me to see Pilates classes across Melbourne taking the same route.

Instead of remaining true to the core principles of Pilates, there are many practitioners who are choosing to sacrifice precision for power and mindfulness for distraction. These classes use the systems that had been refined by Joseph Pilates to provide a comprehensive full-body workout alongside a heightened self-awareness, but are now intent on introducing loud disco music and dumbbells or weights.

For genuine Pilates practitioners, it creates a cumbersome dichotomy; the precise, controlled, focussed movements of Pilates with the practitioner’s mind clear and connected to the stillness and resistance they are experiencing, now used in the atmosphere you might see in an aerobics or Pump class. This new take on Pilates often comes with a costly price tag, as people purchase passes on a class-by-class basis (which can add up quickly!).

Pilates At Kaya

Here at Kaya, our instructors come highly accredited from Elixr School Of Pilates, Australia’s leading Pilates teacher training institute. Elixr School Of Pilates are constantly reviewing the latest research and findings in sports science and developing Pilates with this information, while remaining true to the core teachings and benefits that Pilates promises.

Pilates can be used as a form of remedial exercise thanks to the inherent resistance training that begins in an activated core and extends throughout the entire body, and our Kaya Pilates training courses can guide you through the fundamentals of the practice so you are completely comfortable with the movements. The Pilates at Kaya will continually develop and provide challenges to every member, no matter what level of experience of fitness you have. Our commitment to Pilates has been recognised by organisations from across Melbourne, such as The Australian Ballet, who train their bodies and minds here, at our Melbourne locations. We are glad to offer Australia’s talented dancers a space to exercise and unwind, and we welcome anyone else who wishes to care for their wellbeing in our ambient facilities.

Kaya Health Clubs is Melbourne’s leading health and lifestyle club, with over 240 classes available every week for our members and an extensive range of fitness equipment and lifestyle services. Come in and take a tour of our facilities and enquire about our pricing structure – we have a range of membership options to suit anyone.

Alternative Medicine – The Road to Here

In the Australia traditional Chinese medicine Northern Beaches rely on herbal remedies because it is non-chemical based. It wasn’t too long ago that doctors who used alternative medicine methods of healing patients were labeled quacks. In fact, I remember the funny looks from fellow colleagues when I told them I thought herbal products and supplements had a lot to offer traditional medicine!

In addition, years ago, people who turned to vitamin and mineral supplements as prevention against illness were labeled ‘health nuts’. Today, however, these same people are said to practice proactive wellness as nutritional healing ideas have become widespread.

In fact, despite all the TV ads for drugs, more and more of my patients are opening up to the idea that popping a prescription pill for what ails them might not be the only answer. As I always tell them, there are many natural remedies that can be tried before resorting to drugs or surgery.

If you’re a newcomer to alternative medicine, I’d like to share with you a little history of the field. Then, I’d like to tell you a little about some successful alternative healing remedies as well as a little about the future of alternative medicine.

Allopathic vs. Naturopathic

What we refer to as alternative medicine practices today were, and still are, traditional medicine in China, India, the Middle East, and Europe. Did you know that herbal and homeopathic medicine were also the cornerstones of the American Popular Health Movement in the 1830s-50’s? That’s right! Osteopathic and chiropractic medicine also developed around the same time.

By 1849, however, the popular uses of herbal and homeopathic remedies were deemed quackery by the American Medical Association which had formed two years earlier. Several years later, chiropractic also fell out of favor. Treating patients with prescription drugs, or allopathic medicine, set the standard of health care in the U.S. for decades to follow.

Now, in 2010, the pendulum is swinging back to the popular health practices of over 150 years ago! With the dangerous, sometimes life-threatening, side effects of prescription drugs, the cost of medical care today, and insurance issues, people have begun to reconsider alternatives.

The renewed interest in herbal, homeopathic, midwifery, chiropractic, and acupuncture has skyrocketed in the U.S. today. In addition, cutting-edge research into energy, and mind/body healing, is also commanding attention around the world.

Even traditional medical doctors (M.D.’s) are integrating natural-based healing remedies into their practices, and a whole new field of medicine called Integrative Medicine has formed.

Now, let me explain to you a little more about each of the more common alternative practices so you can better understand what they are and how they function:

Herbal – made from natural, plant-based substances. These products have been used safely for centuries by the Chinese, Indians, and Native Americans. They’ve been a boon to women in safe hormone replacement therapy and men’s prostate health with saw palmetto and lycopene. However, do consult a naturopathic or integrative medicine doctor before trying to treat an illness with herbal preparations.
Homeopathic – based on the “law of similars”, a minute quantity of medicine is diluted many times and used, much like a vaccine, to create a reaction that stimulates the body to heal itself. Success with allergies, pain, mineral imbalance-based illnesses, and more, has been achieved with homeopathy. Consult a homeopathic for proper use.
Chiropractic – based on the principle of proper alignment of the skeletal structure so that nerves coming off the spinal cord are not pinched. These nerves are then able to properly feed, or enervate, different parts of the body to prevent and correct disease states. Back and neck pain as well as nerve compression issues have had success with chiropractic.
Acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology – based on the concept of qi energy and the belief that illness occurs when this energy does not flow correctly. Certain meridians on the body are manipulated by inserting hair-thin needles into the skin, or using fingertips to press on these areas. Addiction (smoking, drugs, alcohol, weight), chronic pain, nervous tics, have all been treated successfully. Reiki is another similar practice that involves manipulating the electrical field that surrounds humans with a practitioner’s hands.
Energy Medicine – Mechanical energy, sound, heat, electricity, magnetism, light (ultraviolet, infrared, laser), plasma (color) therapies modalities have been used for the past 100 years as a “fringe” treatment. Today, mainstream medicine uses ultraviolet light for skin problems; lasers in surgery; infrared (and Far InfraRed) light to reduce inflammation and pain; sound is also used to break up kidney stones. The future of energy healing is wide open and mind-boggling.
Anti-Aging Medicine -based on the principle of replacing nutrients that deplete with age which start the deterioration we call aging. Focuses on supplementation with anti-oxidants, etc, to keep cells regenerating at their youthful levels. New paths involve the study of telomere lengthening. Telomeres are human DNA structures that shorten each time a cell replicates until they die. Supplementing with the building blocks of telomeres, can keep their youthful length and you healthy, much longer.
Mind/Body Healing – based on the principle that the mind can influence healing in the body through specific, directed thoughts; it is what biofeedback is based on. It has been very successful with controlling pain and certain psychological disorders.

There you have the basics of what alternative medicine is. The future is blindingly bright with all the advances it continues to make on a daily basis. In the near future, I feel that most of what we refer to as alternative medicine today will be mainstream medicine tomorrow. In 2010, it’s traveled a long road to get where it is today and its potential for human healing is enormous!

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging

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Things to Consider Before Laser Tattoo Removal in Sydney

Hair in your underarms can often by annoying especially if is smells bad but with technology today Laser Hair Removal Sydney can easily get rid of them. So you got yourself inked with all the pomp and show and now you’re regretting your decision? Do not worry, you can get rid of the tattoo which you are not very attached to anymore or feeling guilty about. The latest technology used to get rid of unwanted tattoos – Laser Tattoo Removal. There are a number of clinics in Sydney offering Laser tattoos removal, however, before you consider laser removal keep this in mind that it will be not as simple as getting yourself a facial, it needs a little more consideration. on your part to go ahead with your decision.

Here are some useful tips that you may consider before opting for laser removal in Sydney.

Careful About Your Expectations

Before you decide to go ahead with laser tattoo removal keep this in mind that no laser procedure guarantees complete removal of your tattoo. So, it’s always advisable to consult with a professional surgeon to make sure your expectations are met with the laser tattoo removal procedure. In some cases, depending on the size and density of the ink, laser tattoo removal can leave a shadow, which may even look like a scar. So always best to get professional advice and look at before and after gallery’s to see what’s possible.

Laser Tattoo Removal May Take a Few Sessions

If only the removal of a tattoo was as easy as getting one in the first place. It can be difficult to determine exactly how many sessions you may need to get it completely removed. . Consult with your surgeon beforehand and he will give you a fairly good idea of how many sessions your tattoo removal will require. He should determine the time and the interval between the sessions after complete analysis of your tattoo, so that you can avoid the side effects if any. Normally, the process of laser tattoo removal takes approximately 4 to 6 sessions.

The Location of the Tattoo on Your Body

The location of the tattoo in your body is quite critical when it comes to laser removal because the laser may t have some harmful effects on the skin. Bold tattoos located in sensitive parts of your body can take time to remove… Also, tattoo’s with fading ink, especially on arms and legs can take more time to remove compared to other parts of the body.

There are different kinds of laser techniques available to removal tattoos permanently and it depends on the tattoo colors, size, design, etc. So, it’s better to determine all the aspects of your case first up and then you are in a better position to make a good decision.

5 Top Reasons Why You Must Start Practicing Yoga Today!

Yoga classes Mosman has become a buzzword in today’s world. For some, Yoga is a physical exercise, for others, Yoga is a spiritual rejuvenation – whatever the reason be, Yoga offers several benefits to people. Originated in India, Yoga philosophy has become a global phenomenon helping millions explore their inner world and find more joy, and peace in life.

Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means ‘union’. Propounded by a famous Indian sage Patanjali, Yoga brings about inner transformation and connects your body and mind with your soul. Although many people think Yoga is all about difficult body postures, Yoga is much more than just a physical exercise.

Yoga has more benefits than one could think of. Yoga is all about transforming your inner world and bringing about utmost peace, tranquillity and joy to your life. In today’s fast-paced world of today, Yoga is not a novelty, but a necessity.

Here are top 5 reasons why everyone must practice Yoga in today –

  1. Discover your soul: The entire Yoga philosophy is based on the concept of knowing your soul and getting rid of all the delusions, myths, and attachments related to the outer world. Once the attachment to the physical reality is broken, one realizes his soul or pure Atma. We, in the modern world, think our reality is what we can think, explain or see. But Yogic philosophy believes in the transcendental reality of pure consciousness, or Atma or Soul. Once the person unites with his Atma, he attains his true self and experiences pure joy or happiness.
  2. Attain Pure Bliss: Once the person unites with his reality of Atma, or pure consciousness, he immediately feels utmost contentment and peace. As all the pain and sorrow is caused by the attachments or illusions, once we break the attachments, we experience pure joy and eternal bliss. This is called the state of ‘pure consciousnesses’.
  3. Improve Emotional and Psychological Health: Most of our troubles or problems are caused by attachments or desires. The more we chase happiness in the outer world, the unhappier we feel. Once we start looking inside and explore our inner world, we attain the true state of contentment and happiness. This immensely improves our emotional and psychological health. We no longer get affected by our circumstances or outer reality, but feel calm and composed at all times. As we learn to control our senses or mind, we attain a state of eternal peace and happiness. This makes us emotionally as well as psychologically more resilient.
  4. Improve Physical Fitness: Yogic philosophy believes in cleansing the body as well as Mind of all the impurities, in order to attain a state of pure consciousness. Hence, Hatha Yoga proposes a system of easy to complex Yoga postures or Asanas which not only makes us mentally agile and resilient, but also improves our physical fitness.
  5. Get Closer to God or Higher Consciousness: In Yoga philosophy, God resides in every human being in the form of higher consciousness, or Atma. But due to the association with the matter, we lose this reality and assume that we are the body, or the senses. Yoga makes you realize the truth of your inner reality or true nature, and break this illusion of me, I or mine. Once the illusion of the matter is broken, the Atma or soul is realized. Once the person attains this state of ‘being’ or ‘nothingness’, we realize the higher reality or God, which resides within us. A true Yogi realizes this truth through intense sadhana or practice learning under true Guru.

As stated above, meditation improves your happiness level and makes you emotionally healthy. As you feel less stressed and your happiness quotient increases, your physical health also improves drastically. Due to this, your lifespan also increases. It has been observed that people who meditate on a continuous basis, live much longer than other people.

How has meditation benefitted you? Let us know in the comments below.

How Charities Can Embrace Technology – Publicity and Fundraising

Many people are concerned that if they donate money to charity may be reduced by tax or administrative costs, preventing the full amount from reaching the people or causes they really want to help. The missions of charities are as wide ranging as the number of issues that different societies face across the world, however any cause can benefit from embracing the advances in technology that are taking place all around us. Whether it be communicating their message to the general public and boosting their funding or carrying out the work to help the disadvantaged that lie at the heart of their objectives, technology can help charities become much more efficient, effective and dynamic in all aspects.

The Internet

One of the biggest challenges facing charities is in publicising their cause and the work that they do, and ultimately raising the funding that they fundamentally rely upon. The internet has been a godsend in that respect and it has never been easier to create a web presence to inform the general public and potential donors and volunteers about a charity does and why. What’s more, charities can even use their online channels to obtain their funding or services directly from their donors whilst they are imparting this information to them.

The internet provides a vast array of possible mediums through which charities can communicate their messages such as standalone web sites – incorporating engaging rich media including charity videos, games, blogs and infographics – or sometimes the more effective social networking sites. What’s more, there are plenty of off-the-shelf e-commerce systems, such as PayPal and WorldPay, which can be integrated into a charity’s web site to allow them to receive donations via the internet or raise money through other initiatives such as online charity shops.

Virtually any computer literate charity worker will be able to create a simple site or blog, but for those charities looking to provide a rich online experience to its users it is worth forming a relationship with a digital development or web design agency to deliver that content. Some agencies will specialise in working with charities, using flexible agile methods to do so and possibly offering special concessions (e.g., discounts, free resource etc) so it is important for each charity to find the right agency for them.

Social Networking

The boom in social networking has given charities a way to reach out to the communities that form on these networks and communicate directly with them. The premise of sharing that drives networks such as Facebook or Twitter means that if a charity can engage effectively with users on these sites they will be shared and recommended across the communities (and sometimes the general public too) more readily, thus spreading their message in a way and at a speed previously not possible. A charity’s reach can be greatest, therefore, when it combines its own website channel with social media channels to provide a broader online presence. Information and updates that are posted on a charity’s own website can reach a much wider audience if they are also promoted through social media outlets and shared across those communities. In particular, social media can be invaluable when organising fundraising events as participants buy into the cause and actively share it with their communities to raise awareness, sponsorship and encourage other participants to volunteer.

Furthermore,, the integration of blogs and/or social media updates together with online donation facilities, for example, means that charities can provide running feedback on the success of their fundraising activities as well as on the effectiveness of the work that is being carried out with the funds that have been donated thus far. Consequently, donors (and prospective donors) are able to see exactly where and how their money is being used and, assuming they see value in its application, be more motivated to provide further funding.

Mobile Internet/Apps

Through the use of mobile browsers and apps, another dimension can be added to all these benefits in that the charities can provide updates whilst working ‘in the field’ and the public can access information and donate from wherever they are. For example, a charity worker providing aid in the wake of a natural disaster can tweet from their mobile device as they are on the scene or even record an on location video diary to bring the extent of the crisis to the attention of the public. In particular, when charities workers are operating in scenarios where other forms of communication can be difficult, mobile devices being used on location can be the only way for the workers to get their message out until they return back home.

Furthermore, the possibility of being able to donate, not just access the charity’s message, via a mobile app, browser or via text messages (with the money being taken from your mobile bill) means that members of the public are more likely to donate when they get the urge/motivation and have the means to do so at their fingertips. They no longer have to wait until they get back home or to the nearest bank, by which time they may have lost that urge. In addition, there is a likelihood that members of the public will be more generous with their money when it is being transferred in a digital ‘virtual’ medium as opposed to a more tangible one.

© Stuart Mitchell 2012

If you want to find out more about how technology is helping charities fulfil their objectives then visit charity videos. Alternatively, for more information on how charities can work most effectively with web agencies you can visit Digital Agency London.

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The Pilates Scoop

The scoop is a signature concept for Pilates training, as well as a topic for much debate. Every teacher has an opinion on whether the Pilates exercises should be done with a scoop or neutral spine. It’s impossible not to land on one side of the political fence or the other with a viewpoint on to scoop or not to scoop. Pilates instructor course teach and demonstrate a wide range of Pilates and dance specific repertoire.

It seems unrealistic to me to say that there is only one way to do anything! I’ve always taught my teachers to use their eye and treat each person as an individual. Here’s my personal opinion for the use of the Pilates scoop, I hope you find it useful in deciding whether you’re going to incorporate scooping into the exercises in your Pilates training programs.

Scooping is a necessary concept for learning how to properly articulate the spine and strengthen core muscles. Since each individual has a unique structure and different strengths and weaknesses, it seems most useful to train the body to work with both a neutral pelvis and scoop since the use of both movement and stabilization are key in Pilates training and teaching the body functional movement patterns.

The Benefit of Learning to Scoop

The ability to articulate into a scoop lengthens low back muscles and strengthens the core, providing the opportunity for a flexible spine able to move freely in flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral bending. A good scoop facilitates the ability to articulate the spine from the tailbone through the sacrum, to waistline, moving the pelvis into a posterior tilt. Scooping lengthens the tailbone away from the head, opening the spine while changing the curves of the back. When the lumbar spine moves into flexion, the neck should complement the curve. Both ends of the body pull away from center.

The Benefit of Maintaining a Neutral Spine

The ability to maintain a neutral pelvis position involves enough abdominal strength to keep the back muscles from taking over and pulling the pelvis farther into an anterior tilt/arch.

Having been a gymnast and dancer (with congenital low back dysfunctions) – I began my Pilates training with a nice anterior tilt to my pelvis, a huge arch in my low back, very tight hip flexors and surprisingly weak abdominals. How many of your students face this same challenge! For me, learning how to articulate my spine and even get into a good position for rolling was almost impossible. In fact it was more than six months of practicing Pilates before I ever made it back up to balance on Rolling Like a Ball and the Seal. Without learning how to scoop, I’d probably still only dreaming about rolling.

Why Practice Scooping?

The length created through the torso with a good scoop facilitates maintaining good flexion of the spine for the Hundred, Rolling Like a Ball, Series of 5, Stomach Massage Round, Kneeling Knees Round & Knees Off, Pelvic Lift…All of the beginner repertoire to strengthen the abdominals and get clients off to a successful start with their Pilates program.

Who Should Scoop?

Every Pilates student should learn and be able to work with a scoop. If when looking at standing posture – you observe the pelvis in a tucked or posterior tilted position, the concept of scooping may be easier to teach, but only because the hips tend more naturally to this position – Typically for this person, hip mechanics are compromised, hamstrings tight, abdominals and back muscles weak. The natural curves of the spine may be reversed! This would be a student who needs to learn proper scooping for correct abdominal strength, and also needs to focus on neutral spine exercises for improved hip mechanics and better gait.

If a client has standing posture with more lordosis or anterior pelvic tilt, hip flexors and low back muscles will be tight, and abdominals still weak. You can’t effectively articulate into a good scoop until the low back muscles stretch enough to allow the abdominals to work effectively to change the spine position. Neutral positions may be easier, but there can be a tendency to rely on back muscles to do all the work.

A cue often used is belly button to the backbone, or navel to spine. This cue may give a false sense of scoop. It tends to cut the body into two halves, (a top and a bottom) from the waistline rather than lengthening and articulating the spine as the tailbone curls forward. Rather than just the navel, everything from the base of the torso to the waistline should flatten. If the hip bones move closer to the ribs when working on scooping, it’s incorrect. Watch for length, with the hips pulling away from the ribs as the abdominals flatten and the spine lengthens into a scoop.

Initiation for a Good Scoop

1. Pelvic Floor Contraction – sitz bones, tailbone, and pubic bones should pull together, like closing a drawstring. This action starts to lengthen the tail away from the head and articulate through the sacrum.

2. Lower Abdominal Contraction – continues the action to articulate through the lumbar spine and provide support for the back, from the front of the body.

3. Gluteal Contraction – maintains the length of the spine and supports the scoop.

Preparatory Exercises To Practice Scooping

Pelvic Curl Supine-

1. Lay on the back knees bent, feet flat, arms by the sides.

2. Begin with the spine in a neutral position – normal curves of the spine.

3. Inhale and lengthen the spine.

4. Exhale to contract the pelvic floor, and low abdominals to curl the tailbone towards the ceiling and the, sacrum and low spine to the floor.

5. Engage the glutes to hold the position.

6. Inhale and lengthen the spine back to a neutral position.

What to watch for:

* On the inhale the spine is in a neutral position, eyes focused towards the ceiling.

* On the exhale as the spine articulates into the scoop, the neck should also flex

* Watch for the eyes to shift focus towards the knees as the neck changes position on the scoop to be sure the whole spine is mobile and active with the movement.

* The lengthening that is created here is the preparation for curling the head off the Mat for the Hundred and Series of 5 and being able to keep unnecessary tension out of the neck.

Pelvic Curl Prone-

1. Lay on the stomach – legs hip width apart, hands by the sides or under the head.

2. Start with the tip of the nose on the floor. If needed place a pillow under the forehead to keep the ears in line with the shoulders & adjust the head position. Be sure the head is not tilted to have the chin or forehead on the floor.

3. Inhale to depress the shoulder blades and lengthen the spine.

4. Exhale to contract the pelvic floor, curling the tailbone towards the floor

5. Continue to exhale while pulling the low abdominals up and in – towards the back and away from the mat, to lengthen through the sacrum and low spine.

6. Engage the glutes to hold the length.

7. Inhale and allow the spine to relax and rock back to a neutral position.

What to watch for

* It’s very important that the glutes don’t contract first. If they do – there will be no articulation and lengthening of the spine.

* The chest, shoulders, and thoracic spine should stay still. Movement is the tail lengthening away from the ribs.

* There will not be as much noticeable change in the head and neck position when on the stomach, but there should still be some movement through the neck.

Take note practicing this exercise both supine and prone changes the way that gravity affects the body. Because the legs are straight vs. bent, it is also different for pelvis placement and hip mechanics. Generally I teach the supine exercise to my new students, and the prone exercise in preparation for push-ups, Long Stretch on the Reformer, and other intermediate exercises when the time is right.

Happy Scooping!

Aliesa George has been teaching movement techniques for over 25 years. Author of Fantastic Feet! and other educational resources, she is committed to helping students & teachers develop their belief in unlimited potential and positive change. For details visit http://www.CenterworksPilates.com

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Fitness Pros Share How Pilates Can Melt Pounds

We all know that cardio and weight training will help you lose weight and get into shape quickly. Pilates is often overlooked as weight loss exercises because it is usually advertised as only targeting the abdominal muscles. At nutritionist Northern Beaches our goal is your good health and our job is to help you achieve it.

Here are six Pilates exercises provided by our fitness professionals that will make you sweat, boost your metabolic rate like cardio, and strengthen your core similar to weight training. All you need is a mat and fifteen minutes.

Exercise 1: Lie on your back and extend your legs long, place your hands under the small of your back. Lift your neck, head and shoulders up off the mat. Make sure that you have a space the size of a lemon between your chin and chest. Lift your legs to the ceiling and lower. Count to four each time you lift and lower your legs. Repeat this exercise ten times then rest.

The key to a great Pilates routine is to move as though your belly button was permanently glued to your spine and you are reaching long through your finger tips and shoulders.

Exercise 2: Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat and reach your arms long towards your toes. Extend your legs in the air at a 45 degree angle and hold them there, toes pointed. Keep that lemon sized spaced between your chest and chin and pump your arms as if you are slapping water. Complete 100 pumps in under a minute. Not only are you working your abdominal muscles, you are working your leg and arms muscles as well while the abdominals hold your core in place. Do for 1 minute, then rest.

Pilates includes all the muscles in the body and most Pilates exercises use the abs to stabilize while the body moves around the core. This type of motion that uses the abs as stabilizers is unique to Pilates specifically and will increase your metabolic rate, heart rate and in turn burn calories.

Exercise 3: Sit on your mat with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Extend your left leg to the ceiling. Slowly roll your body down to the mat, keeping the left leg lifted and right foot glued to the mat. Think of Velcro on your spine and mat and slowly roll one vertebrae at a time to the mat. Inhale, extend your arms above your head, drop your left foot and lift your right foot. Roll up one vertebra at a time and reach for that extended right foot. Repeat ten times then rest.

An intermediate Pilates workout burns 390 calories and an advanced workout burns 480, according to Kevin Rail, author at eHow.com, “How To Do Everything”. Pilates compliments traditional cardio and weight training routines or can be used as an alternative to both forms of exercise while obtaining similar health benefits.

Exercise 4: Sit up on the mat with your knees up and feet flat on the mat. Inhale, and then lift your feet off the mat. Keeping your knees bent, move your arms to the right of your legs and exhale. Pause one second. Swing your arms to the left and your legs right on the next inhale and reverse on the exhale. Be sure to inhale and exhale each time you swing the arms across. Remember to use your abs not your momentum to move the body and to breathe for each motion. Repeat ten times then rest.

Pilates is breathing and exercise combined. A lot of times, people will not pay attention to their muscles when they are working out or talk on the phone while they are supposed to be jogging on the treadmill. Pilates forces you to focus on your core connection, your breath and each movement you do and thus you burn more calories just ‘being in the moment’.

Exercise 5: Lie on the mat with knees up and feet placed on the mat. Lift your head, neck and shoulders off the mat and place your hands under your sit bones for support. Inhale as you lift your knees to your chest, then exhale as you extend legs long to the ceiling and all the way to the mat, almost but not quite touching the floor. Inhale again, knees to chest, lift to ceiling and extend long to the mat. Each move should take a full four seconds to complete. Repeat ten times then rest.

Pilates uses core muscles to provide the exercise component while using smaller muscles to provide the control of the rest of the body. The exercises will feel difficult because you are using your small muscles that you do not normally use when doing cardio or weight training. Once your body learns to rely on these “stabilizers” you will notice that you can handle more cardio time on the treadmill and actually lift more weights. Your yoga balance will improve and so will your everyday activities. Not to mention you will see the fat pounds melt right off!

Exercise 6: Sit with your feet on the mat and knees lifted into your chest. Place your arms long on the sides of your legs and pretend that someone has grabbed your waist and is pulling you back from the space just above your hips. Roll your back to the mat, keeping your feet flat and imagining that Velcro strip from your spine to the mat. Inhale on the way down. Exhale and begin by lifting your head, neck and shoulders off the mat and rolling up, each vertebrae one at a time until you peel up and reach over your knees. Once you hit the top, extend your right arm behind you and your left arm long in front of you. Inhale and lower to mat. Exhale again as you lift head, neck and shoulders off the mat and this time reach the right arm in front of you and the left arm long behind you. Take note repeat ten times then rest.

Pilates, even if done for only 15 minutes each day, will strengthen the core, burn calories, engage the small muscle groups and provide overall weight loss. If you combine cardio and weight training with a daily regimen of Pilates you will see quick and powerful results with only a minimal of 15 minutes of effort daily.

Debbie McFarlen

Team Fitness America




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