New Ventures

This week it’s been all go in the studio. The redecoration of one wall has been completed (rest of the walls will be done in stages as my handyman has to work around classes!). It’s looking fresh and I’m itching to get something arty on it. Ideas welcome.

The filming of our first Pilates video has been completed too. It’s currently being edited and then I need to do a voice over on it, but so far the edited bits I’ve seen look good. This video is for all of you who come to classes and want to do some Pilates in the week and also for anyone who is interested in trying Pilates out at home. It’s not aimed at taking the Pilates world by storm but is more about catering for those who aren’t that into big fitness fads and just want a friendly voice to talk them through their exercise at home. Here’s a few photo’s of the film star in action….

Roll Back
Single Leg Stretch

Excitingly this week a new instructor has also started working with me – Faye is taking the Wed 7pm class. She is also an advanced Level 3 instructor with a caring, lovely nature who will talk you through Pilates and ensure you do it correctly. In fact I’d definitely say she is nicer than me! I’ve been quite mean in my classes this week with planks to side plank rotations and some nasty variations on press ups 😉

New ventures being planned include a makeover on my website and the studio is going to have some proper storage built in, so long wobbly bookcases!!

I’m excited….can you tell?

Pilates for Bumps.

It’s now been 16 months since my bump became a baby and just 2 months since I started teaching AnteNatal Pilates. Teaching this class has reminded me how much Pilates helped me when I was pregnant. All those aches and pains were so helped by some simple exercises such as standing in a neutral spine position, shoulder bridges, pelvic tilts and side lying exercises.

Pilates can also help strengthen the pelvic floor, strengthen the core muscles and help you prepare for birth. We practise strengthening and relaxing the core muscles. The exercises also help you focus on your breathing and build your body awareness. Bands and upper body strength are also worked on to prepare you for when baby arrives 🙂

Ante Natal Pilates

Currently I have 2 ladies who are both around the 37 week mark, those babies will be making an entrance to the world very shortly, and it’s exciting to work with these mummies to be. Last week we focused more on standing Pilates and then moved to the Birthing Balls. Most pregnant ladies seem to have these balls but few really know how to use them.

Here’s a photo of the beautiful ladies, bumps and balls. I’m hoping some of them will move into my post natal class later on so I can meet the beautiful babies too.

Ladies, Bumps and Balls

So if you you are pregnant or know anyone who is, why not suggest some Pilates to them?

Happy Birthday Post Natal Pilates!

I’ve just realised that February saw the Birthday of my post-natal Pilates class. I know it’s now March but it felt like this needed marking.

This class came about because I had a baby…. which highlighted to me how difficult (but not impossible) it can be to exercise with your little one in tow. I knew I needed to get back into Pilates for my health, fitness and peace of mind, so why not do it with other mummies. Also having received an extremely poor information sheet  in hospital about how to do pelvic floor exercises, I felt I could do better myself!

Our first few classes were held in a community centre with the babies at one end of the room with Daddy day-care rocking them in their car seats. All except my little one who tended to fall asleep in the sling before class started and I taught with her attached. (Health and Safety Note – do not do this yourself unless you know what you are doing, it’s a lot harder!!). I’ll admit it, these first few classes were hard, I was tired, my baby was 3 months old and a breast feeding milk monster so sleep was not forthcoming, but I was also determined and teaching classes kinda keeps me going 😉

Moving venue in April to our new home based studio was such a relief. Even though my studio is tiny, we suddenly we had more space as the babies hang out in the lounge with Daddy day-care. We have access to lots of toys, all manner of baby bits so if anyone forgets anything we can help out and there’s no pressure to rush away so the kettle goes on at the end of class. This has led to lovely moments of mummies supporting each other, sharing tips, books, sling demonstrations, many baby cuddles and even weaning talks from the dietitian who happens to be there every week (thats me – Dietitian UK). It literally becomes a community of it’s own and many mummies transition into evening classes when they go back to work.

I have absolutely LOVED this class over the past year and look forward to many more classes, baby cuddles and cups of tea.


Amazing improvements in people with Pilates.

Here’s some feedback from one of my Pilates ladies…. Pilates has been pretty amazing for her, not only has her pain reduced and her mobility improved but she has lost toned up and her pelvic floor muscles have strengthened.

“With regards my back, I have been suffering with problems since July 2003.  I initially hurt it bending over to lift up a laptop at work, and on other occasions, just simply getting up from a sofa, sneezing, getting washing out of the washing machine or just turning have been enough to start an episode.  In the past, I have also suffered with a trapped nerve, leading to sciatica down my left leg and have often found myself laid up for a week, unable to go to work as the pain was so intense. The chiropractor diagnosed it as sacroiliac joint injury and I have attended whenever problems have flared up ever since 2003.

The most recent episode was last February, when I hurt my back loading A3 photocopier paper into the lowest drawer on the machine.  I was unable to move without assistance, was taken home and had to have 3 days off work on painkillers.  After this, I was seeing the chiropractor every week fortnightly, the chiropractor felt that there was a need for further action.  She suggested I start Pilates classes and that if this didn’t help after a few weeks, she would book me in for an x-ray to see if there was any obvious damage to my lower spine. At this point, although I was not experiencing acute pain, I had low-level pain on a daily basis, coupled with regular painful muscle spasms in my back which seemed to occur for no reason and was unable to perform routine tasks, such as dressing, unaided.

I then started Pilates with Priya.  Within two weeks, I was noticing an effect and was able to bend / lift my legs more easily.  I am now able to dress myself and can (with care) do tasks such as loading and unloading the washing machine / dishwasher.  I am no longer seeing the Chiropractor at all. I have also noticed a big improvement in my pelvic floor muscles and no longer have ’embarrassments’ when I cough or sneeze!  My husband has commented on the reduction in size of my stomach and I have begun to notice a line of muscle running down my abdomen that I have never seen before!”

Pilates helps Back Pain

As my Pilates classes have grown and my networking has increases I’ve had more and more people being referred by Chiropractors or Physio’s. A lot of these people are coming because of back pain. What’s so exciting is to then hear and see the improvements in people after just a few sessions.  So what is it about Pilates that works so well for back pain relief?

Pilates addresses the underlying structural imbalances in the body that lead to back pain. Issues like lack of core support, pelvic instability, muscular imbalances, poor posture, and lack of body awareness all affect back health.

Pilates Helps Correct Posture

In Pilates, we pay a lot of attention to how our body parts are lined up in relation to each other, which is our alignment.  When alignment is off, uneven stresses on the skeleton, especially the spine, are the result. Pilates exercises, done with attention to alignment, allow movement to flow through the body in a natural way.

For example, one of the most common postural imbalances that people have is the tendency to either tuck or tilt the pelvis. Both positions create weaknesses on one side of the body and overly tight areas on the other. The spine can’t form its natural curve and you get aches and pains all up the spine and neck.  Doing Pilates helps you focus on holding a “neutral spine” which means the proper placement of the spine and pelvis. Strengthening your core creates the inner strength to support the natural curves of the spine.

Pilates Develops Core Strength

Having core strength means that all of the muscles of the trunk of your body are strong, flexible, and working together to support and stabilize the spine. This goes deeper than the big surface muscles, it’s not about building  “6 pack” I’m afraid! The core muscles include the muscles that are below the surface musculature.  Some of these less obvious but very important core muscles are the muscles of the pelvic floor;  and the psoas, which play a huge role in keeping us upright and in hip bending; which are small muscles that weave along the spine; and the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles.  All of these muscles play crucial roles in the support and stability of the spine.

Pilates Promotes Flexibility

A healthy spine can curve forward and backward, twist, and move side to side, and do so in a way that reveals all the subtle articulations that our many vertebrae allow us to have. Pilates exercises are easy to modify so that we can develop spinal flexibility at our own pace. This is one of the things about Pilates that makes it easy for people with back pain to work with. In my classes there are different options for exercises so you work at your level.
Pilates Increases Body Awareness
Back pain is a messenger letting us know that we have to pay more attention to our bodies. The Pilates method is full attention exercise. You can’t do Pilates without becoming extremely aware of your alignment and how your body works. This is extremely important for people with back pain because Pilates not only improve physical functioning, but makes you more aware of what you are doing in day to day life. So as you are walking, bending and sitting you start to think about your alignment and core.
Do you have back pain? Try out Pilates! It really does work.

Ante-Natal Pilates is starting soon!

I’m so exciting to say this….. ANTE-NATAL PILATES STARTS 15th Jan, woohoo! I’ve been really wanting to run this class for a while but it’s taken me a while to build up my confidence and take the plunge. These classes are going to focus on strengthening core muscles, keeping backs, hips and bodies healthy throughout pregnancy as well as help prepare for birth with breathing, relaxation and strength. Mums can then move into post-natal classes when they are ready 🙂

I’m purposely keeping these classes small so get in contact quickly if you would like one of the few remaining spaces, £25 for 4 weeks.

Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Pilates supporting the NCT.

A new exciting development for Pilates with Priya in 2012…. we will be running not just Post -Natal Pilates classes but also Ante-Natal classes. Pilates was a complete saviour to me not only during pregnancy but also during labour and very much so post-birth. All those pregnancy aches and pains were minimised through Pilates. So I am so looking forward to being able to work with some mummies to be and help them with their pregnancy and prepare with labour and beyond. We will be doing exercises that are safe for your stage of pregnancy, using relaxation and breathing techniques that can help you in labour, and preparing your body for post-birth too. Pilates is safe to do all through pregnancy.

These classes will be supporting the Southampton branch of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). This branch has done so much for me….we attended an NCT ante-natal course and then in the past year have been so well supported by the NCT groups and community. I have made some great new friends, been helped so much with my journey into mummyhood and am amazed at how much work my local branch does….so this is one way I can help give something back to help them do even more.

You do not have to be a member of the NCT to attend these classes or in fact any of the NCT groups that run across the city.

Classes will be Sundays 9.30am starting in January, please let me know if you would like to come along, £25 for 4 weeks.


Pilates is for Physio’s too ;)

Recently I’ve had 2 physiotherapists join one of my Pilates classes. Oddly they both work together, in fact sit opposite each other and have both found and joined the same class without chatting to each other about it.

I myst admit I did feel rather apprehensive when I found out I had a physiotherapist in my class, surely they already know what to do, how to do it and are more qualified than me? If I get anything wrong they are going know and pick up on it? Cue a moment of low confidence in me and my Pilates ability.

What I have found instead, is that these 2 ladies are lovely. Yes they do know more than me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also need to practise what they preach and doing that with someone else to prompt you and challenge you can be the best way. Both ladies needed to strengthen their core and chose Pilates as they know the benefits of it from their profession. They have actually been an encouragement to me commenting on how good my teaching skills are, a real compliment. Plus I get to pick their brains and ask them Pilates and alignment questions 😉

So if Physiotherapists feel they need to attend Pilates surely that shows just how much we all need to be doing it? Come along and try out a class, taster sessions are £5.50.

Point, Plie and Pirouette

Last night saw the launch of a new class for Pilates with Priya, something a little different but so, so great… Adult ballet 🙂 A great compliment to Pilates.

Now before you squirm there were no tutus, no sequins and ballet shoes optional. I’m not qualified to teach ballet, but luckily Chrissy is and she certainly put us through our paces! Focused around a barre this is a class that is focused on strength, toning and core stability. Inner thighs, outer thighs, quads and gluts are worked hard, the element of balance means your core gets activated and the positions used increase flexibility. Sounds hard, well yes it was, but in such a good way, plus it was a lot of fun. Cue much laughter and a room full of smiling ladies. No photos to show you I’m afraid, think I’ll have to wait a few weeks before a photo is allowed. None of us are going to cut it as prima ballerina’s but we are going to have fun working out and toning up. Plus in my opinion it’s a great chance to break out the legwarmers 🙂

Here’s a few comments from last night’s class:

“LOVED ballet, my thighs! I could barely drive home. They felt wibbly. “

“I hope my muscles forgive me. Ballet hilarious. Hard work but fun.