December 21, 2023
In this installment of Wellness and Pilates thoughts, we begin with Gratz. You can catch up on any posts you might have missed here.
If you know, you know. For many, Gratz is the only classical Pilates equipment to use as they were the original manufacturer of the equipment. Our studio is a combination of Gratz and Pilates Designs equipment.
Injectables and laser treatments may be all the craze these days, but Guasha is an ancient Chinese healing massage tool used to improve circulation that has stood the test of time. We love this self-care ritual as it helps our product absorb into the skin better and forces us to slow down at the start and end of the day. Any type of skin oil you love is the perfect complement to this beauty tool.
One of my favorite quotes is “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. But before the plan you need to have the right goals. Generic goals are generally not effective. I want to lose weight, I want to exercise more, I want to eat healthy. They are great ideas but too generic for an actionable goal. Consider setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals, and breaking a big long-term goal into smaller bits. Here is a great article on effective goal setting.
This exercise is the nemesis of many a Pilates teacher and student because it is done on a variety of apparatus and the choreography is a bit different on each! It is done on the long box of the reformer, the spine corrector, the ladder barrel, and the Wunda chair. My personal favorites are the ladder barrel and Wunda chair but check these guys out doing it on the spine corrector just beautifully!
Grounding is a therapeutic technique that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. You can read more about it here, but simply by the fact that we say we don’t feel grounded when life spirals out of control shows that this idea has been around forever. The benefits of this practice include reducing inflammation, cardiovascular disease, muscle damage, chronic pain, and improving mood.
Virtually every site and article about wellness places gratitude high up on the list. There are many ways to make gratitude a bigger part of your daily life. All the methods that help people adopt a ‘gratitude practice” are just ways of bringing our mindset back to one of appreciation and recognition of the world around us. Especially post-pandemic many of us are isolated and have forgotten how to appreciate the little things. Check out this article for ways you can increase your awareness of gratitude that is in you already. The health benefits include, boosting your immune system, improved mental health, improved relationships, and increased optimism.
One of my favorite feeds belongs to Christina Maria Gadar who is fighting the good fight to share Pilates archival history without the threat of censorship by the Pilates bullies of the world. For those of you who do not know, there has been a battle waging in the Pilates world for some time now about rights and ownership of Pilates photos and other archival materials. You can read the New York Times article on the Fight For The Soul of Pilates here. It is round 2 for many of us who first faced this battle in the 2000’s trademark battle which sought to disallow the use of the word Pilates. Check out this amazing feed for Open Access Pilates Archives here.
No Pilates training, including the Real Pilates Teacher Training Program which we host, is complete without understanding the six guiding principles of Pilates. They are breath, concentration, centering, control, precision, and flow. While we teach exercises in your lessons, the principles are the underpinning of everything we do. Precision is Mo’s personal favorite.
While private lessons are our signature service at Evolution Pilates, we are also fans of a great group class. Something about the collective energy breeds the right amount of competitive spirit! It is important to get several private lessons under your belt before joining a class as we need to teach the proper use of the apparatus and form. All our classes operate at a solid intermediate level.
We all know how important getting your greens is to your diet. Our latest obsession is AG1, formulated to combine the highest quality ingredients, and intentionally selected to work together to conveniently cover multiple areas of health. You can score yours here.
If you are a fan of Matthew McConaughey or his films, I highly recommend his memoir Greenlights which is as much a memoir as it is a manifesto for living life on your terms. I suggested it for a book club read and the reaction was mixed but the discussion was lively, and it had an impact on all who read it. I listened to the audio book which he narrates and was mesmerized by his voice telling his story. I would suggest this format.
In Pilates as in life, it is important to have a game plan. While our clients may be coming just to exercise and they happen to like Pilates, the instructor always has a game plan. Strengthen the core, stretch the hamstrings, lengthen the spine, or correct imbalances. From the minute you walk in the door the instructor is crafting your game plan for the day. It may begin with a question of how you are feeling that day. We are not just being polite. Your answer will shape your entire session. This game plan is the sibling of your goals and is equally important as these steps will bring you closer to the goal.
Generosity is a superpower and secret ingredient to your overall health and wellness. Being generous increases your feel-good hormones and decreases your stress hormones. Not to mention that generosity snowballs and is paid forward by those it touches. Check out this article on the Healing Power of Generosity.
We know it is important to respect our elders. But we often think because they came from a different time, that there is not much we can learn from them and that is our loss. We refer to generations in Pilates instructors. Elders are first-generation instructors who studied directly with Joe. If you studied directly with one of these elders, you are a second-generation instructor as is my friend and mentor Alycea Ungaro. If you study directly with them, you are a third-generation teacher in the lineage of the elder they studied with. I am a third-generation teacher in the lineage of Romana.
The importance of intergenerational work and sharing is detailed in the book Gentelligence, which was coauthored by my son’s girlfriend! And finally, we love when we have generations sharing their love of Pilates. We are often blessed to have 3 generations sharing a love of Pilates. Blue Zones a super interesting site, points to multigenerational living as one of the keys to longevity. So, take a beat the next time you feel impatient with your elders or youngsters. There is much to share and learn!
This list is less than complete, but a place to begin! Join us every few weeks or so, as we dive into Pilates and wellness topics to bring you a little closer to your best self in a way that might be sustainable. We are giving ourselves the “grace” (bonus G) to ease off the aggressive schedule set for these posts.
Each post will tackle another letter of the alphabet and 14 topics that begin with that letter. You can experiment with any or all the topics over the next 14 days and keep the ones that work best for you. Stick with it as we add the next letter. Before you know it, you will have a habit stacked your way to wellness one letter at a time.
The road to wellness is about the journey, not the destination. We often focus on the body, but true wellness is mind, body, and spirit. I’d like to be your wellness concierge in addition to you Pilates instructor.