Top Tips from our Teachers

Priya

Do some practice at home. Pilates is like learning a new language, the more you practice, the more you learn.

Now it is common sense that the more often you practice something the better you become at it. Therefore doing some Pilates practice between classes will help you massively. If you can practice lying in neutral and breathing, correcting your posture and a move that you enjoyed in class it will help. Check out our youtube channel for videos and sequences you can try.

Jo

Slow down and breathe, breathe, breathe. Pilates is a marathon and not a sprint.

Breathing is obviously something that we do all the time but we don’t always take the time to do properly. Focus on the breath going into your ribs, so they expand out to the side. The breath also expands your tummy and your back too.

Mandie

I always talk about rib cage placement. In all posts avoid the ribs flaring out, instead bury them down towards your hipbones so the abdominals engage.

If your ribs flare up when you lift your arms or legs, concentrate on there being a heaviness on your chest and your core engaging more. It may also be you need to reduce the range of movement in your shoulders and legs.

Faye

Check in with yourself from time to time through your day. How are you standing or sitting? Are you shallow breathing? When you can only attend one class a week, it’s these daily tweaks that really help to make a difference”

A focus on your posture is so key. What you do in class is a tiny fragment of your week, so finding the posture cues you need to work on is totally crucial. Whether it is adjusting your head position or bringing your pelvis into neutral more often. It all makes a difference.

Top Pilates Buys

Pilates is one of those exercises that can be done on a complete shoe string. You don’t need any fancy equipment or snazzy clothing. You don’t NEED it, but sometimes it helps.

Here are the top 5 Pilates bits and bobs that I wouldn’t be without.

Thick Mat.

Do you need a mat at home? Hmmmm, I would say yes you can do.  I sometimes try moves out when prepping for a class and don’t have a mat to hand and it is an altogether different experience. A mat offers a non slip surface and extra cushioning, it offers safety and gives you a set space to exercise on. That extra cushioned mat really makes all the difference for some of the rolling moves and the prone positions. So it is worth investing in a mat you love and a mat that brings you comfort. Personally I would steer away from anything less than an 8mm thick mat. Lots of the yoga mats are quite thin, which from my understanding is to keep you connected to the groud. Pilates is not yoga, you need that extra padding!

We have the Airex Coronella mats in the studio which are not cheap, but you can get a decent one on Amazon for a good price if you search for a thick pilates mat.

Toesox.

Now people who know me will know I’m always in my toesox for class. Why? They provide a great balance of grip for exercises like planks, yet let your feet slide along the mat for other moves. The toe separation thing looks weird and initially feels weird, but spreading those toes can help with your alignment and enables you to get better feedback through your foot. Normal socks constrict the toes so they cannot move normally. Foot issues can be linked to back pain and affect the rest of the body so it’s a great foundation to focus on. If you get weirded out by the toes then go for a lightly grippy soled sock. Either way socks are best for a lot of Pilates moves, it’s not just us being fussy in the studio with our sock rule 😉

If you are local to us then we stock these in our studio, or you can buy online from Pilates Mad and use the code PRIYATOESOX for 10% off.

Spikey ball.

These babies are amazing. Pop one in your bag and you can give yourself a massage wherever you are! Great on the feet, shoulders, neck and bum but can be used all over.

Good quality leggings.

Now I’m all for a bargain in life. But I’ve learnt now, pilates leggings need to be good leggings and it’s worth spending a bit more on them and checking them regularly. I see lots of leggings that are see through or have holes! One of my teaching friends uses the hashtag #leggingsarenottrousers which I agree with to an extent. If you have decent leggings then they can be passable on the school run too. Plus if you have fancy leggings life is just that bit better – or is that just me?!

I am an ambassador for Elle Sport and you can get 20% off using code 20PTAW16 (including sale items). I also particularly like the range over at  Tikiboo

Resistance Band.

So versatile and great for stretching as well as adding resistance to those pilates moves. This is one great piece of kit as a band folds up so small so you can take it away with you on trips. Really useful for stretching your hamstrings after travelling or a day of sitting. Also fabulous for toning the arms and for adding variety to a range of pilates exercises. You can pick these up online pretty easily or come to the studio and we have a stock of them.

Current Classes

I’d love to know what pieces of Pilates kit you love…

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Children’s Pilates is Starting!

Pilates with Priya: Children's Pilates Classes

 

After much nudging and poking from my own daughter and other mummies, I’ve finally taken the plunge to put on a children’s Pilates class. My own girl loves Pilates and often asks to come into a class. She actually really gets the concept of it and it helps her move more, stretch and slow her busy mind down too.

Theses classes will be focused on partner work, posture, stretching, functional movements and chilling out. Mindfulness is the buzz word right now, we will be using body movements in a calm, flowing way to relax the mind and hopefully the children will really benefit from this and sleep well!

Get in touch if your child would like to come along.

Pilates for Dancers – Dance Circle Day.

What an honour to be asked to teach at the first Southampton Dance Circle Day on May 30th 2017. This was an event run by local dance teachers, all working together to put on a great event for any children in their dance schools and in the local area. I love the collaborative nature of this, the non-competitiveness and the sheer passion the teachers all have.

Pilates is well known to have amazing benefits for dancers. Joseph Pilates himself worked dancers and in fact for a while Pilates was taken over by the dance world. So without a doubt Pilates can help children in dance too. I was excited and slightly nervous to see how a Pilates class would go down in a day of other exciting dance classes. I was part of an amazing line up including: Ballet/Contemporary with Louis McMiller (Royal Ballet Grad), Contemporary with Amy J Ireland, Musical Theatre with Sarah Evans (recommended by West End Star Ricky Rojas), Tap with Viki (trained with Tap Attack), Hip Hop with Cesa Hijo de Lalan.

The children there were a pleasure to be with. The older ones really worked hard and I could see them taking what I was saying on  board. I was able to push them quite hard and they even posed nicely for the local paper!

Pilates with Priya: Dance Day Pilates

The middle group of children had the definite mid afternoon slump session and so Pilates was great for them as they got a little lie down and some super stretching was done.

The tiny ones were super cute to teach, I could have cuddled them all! At the end of a very busy and active day a few were almost asleep but they gave such concentration to the class, I was super impressed.

Dance day pilates 2

Thankyou so much for asking me to come along and teach, I hope the children enjoyed it. Some of the feedback that I have heard so far is it made some of them feel all calm and relaxed, which is a good thing in my book! Maybe we should add in some mindfulness next time too.

Next Dance Circle Day is October half term. I know I will be booking my girl on it.

If you are interested in a Children’s Pilates class then do get in touch, we are launching one soon!

Reformer Pilates March Madness

Reformer March Offer

 

OH MY DAYS. We are SO SO lucky. We now have a reformer and a half Cadillac in our 1-2-1 studio. A friend reminded me yesterday how I have been talking about having one of these for around 4 years, finally the day has come.

The reformer is pretty much like a bed with pulleys and springs, which means you work against resistance. This makes you focus on your technique a lot more, makes you work harder and gives a greater depth to a lot of the exercises and amazing stretches.

The cadillac is a frame that goes over the bed, with bars and springs you can pull on that give beautiful length and enable you to go further in movements.

Both of these pieces of equipment were designed and used by Joseph Pilates himself and are just awesome for focusing on your body, working your weak areas, stretching the tight areas and getting stronger session by session. You really will see and feel a difference with it.

I’d highly recommend you give it a go hence we are offering it at a special rate in March. Personally I find doing some sessions now and again on the reformer makes a huge difference to how I then do Pilates on the mat. It also help me work on the imbalances in my body – shoulder tighness, leg length, tight hip flexors, tight back etc…

If you even just want to have a peek and a 5 min lie down on it after class let us know.

You can guess where I am spending all my spare time at the moment!

 

The story of a man taking up Pilates

We have run our home business for over 5 years now, and for several years, I have been badgered to take up Pilates regularly. This has come from both Priya and some of our lovely class members…I have always found reasons and excuses not to regularly take up a class.

But to be completely honest, I have needed it for years.
Before, I used to work, in a semi-active job and was on my feet regularly, and walking around campus.
Since 2010 I have predominantly been working from home, and helping bring up my two amazing children.
Lots of sitting, crawling, playing on the floor (and that’s just the children…)

About 3 months ago, I decided to stop procrastinating…

It’s tough. There you go. I admitted it…
I have chosen a class with Jo on a Wednesday evening.
I know where my core is, and in the past it has been in tip top shape, but over the years, I have become lazy, and taken short-cuts which has had negative effects on posture, core, and muscles.
I have found out (though I was not surprised) that I have tight hamstring muscles. Embarrassingly tight. My straight leg, is more 125 degrees than 180 degrees…

Though on the bright side of life, my best exercise (as quoted by Jo) is the Mermaid (or a theme of it)…
Yes, I said it, I am good at being a MERMAID!!!

My favourite exercise is…. I have not idea… I just do as I am told!

 

Pilates with Priya: James does Pilates
On a serious note, I love it. After a busy few days, I love my Wednesday evenings…
Time to wind down, chill out, and improve my Core…
If I could, I’d probably try to do it 2-3 times a week.
This has been on my doorstep for over 5 years, and I had previously only attended 3 classes. Ever.Why didn’t I start earlier….!?

Pimp Your Pelvic Floor Was a Success!

This week we ran our first Pimp Your Pelvic Floor workshop. In fact it was our first every Pilates workshop!

We had 5 ladies, 4 of whom were already mums and 1 of who was 36 weeks pregnant with twins! Plus we had the company of a beautiful 11 week old baby 🙂

I so so so enjoyed this workshop. It was amazing to share knowledge, pass on tips, get feedback from the ladies and then run a practical side to the session.

We spent time on the anatomy of the pelvic floor and then looking how it functions as a part of the whole body. This part especially I find important. The pelvic floor doesn’t work in isolation does it, it works under loads and under pressure as we walk, lift, cough, jump and move everyday. Looking at the models of the pelvis showed us all how the pelvic floor really is affected by movements we do and is connected to the body.

The feedback has been really good with participants ranking the workshops as excellent. We hope to run these regularly – so don’t worry if you haven’t been able to book on yet.

Pilates with Priya: Keep Calm and Do Kegels

Looking forward to running the next one in October 🙂

Southampton’s Newest Pilates and Wellness Studio is LAUNCHED.

It’s been a flipping exciting week. Opening our new BARN studio has been so much fun. Now the studio is actually our garage but for a few hours a week we have now tranformed it into a tranquil space that is already being loved by many. It was a fantastic excuse to have a party and throughout this week we will be having a giveaway each day!

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It may surprise you to know that we didn’t actually set out to have a Pilates business. This business came and snuck up on us and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Priya started doing her Pilates training in 2009 and began 2 community classes. After having her daughter, James came up with the brilliant idea of using a room in the house for classes to help with looking after the baby. Word of mouth led to there soon being a waiting list and more and more classes were added to the timetable. So it came to the point where there are 2 children and an awful lot of classes. We knew we had outgrown the room in our house!

Pilates with Priya: first class in the new studio

THANKYOU to everyone who has given us encouragement with this project, those who have given us feedback and all who came to the party. We feel truly blessed to have such wonderful clients, may of whom are friends too.

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This studio will be used for many things including Pilates, ballet, step aerobics, pregnancy classes, nutrition and dietetics, massage therapy and possible counselling. But most of all it is a space for you all to enjoy.

Pilates with Priya: the BARN studio

New Pilates in Southampton! The BARN studio is OPEN.

The studio is OPEN! WHOOOOOOOP!

Oh my goodness it’s been an exciting week – and it’s only Tuesday! Yesterday we opened the studio doors for the first time. Cue squeals, jumping for joy and a victory dance from Priya. James was a little more reserved, thank goodness as that evens us out 😉

The feedback so far has been excellent. Comments include finding the new studio very peaceful, relaxing, how nice the floor feels, liking the beams and loving the fairy lights! The new mirrors may seem a little daunting at first but you really will get used to them and they will help you. Already in one class Lucy commented on how she could whether she was sitting up straight enough or not.

Pilates with Priya: first class in the new studio
The first class in full swing.

Personally I felt that I was teaching in someone else’s studio, it is all so amazing that I can’t believe this space is ours.

Pilates with Priya: the BARN studio
Love, love, love the fairy lights.

We will now be holding the majority of classes in the Barn Studio. A few will continue to be in the home studio – these include Post-natal and the Wed 6.15pm. All classes in the Barn Studio will accommodate 8 people and we are putting on new classes:

Thurs 11am Pilates

Sun 9.15am Pilates

Wed 10am Toddler ballet (from 18 months to preschool)

Wed 3.45pm Pre- Primary Ballet (reception and year 1)

Please bear with us as we put on the finishing touches and do give us your feedback. This space is for YOU. So WELCOME!

Pilates with Priya - 1/2 roll back with rotation
WELCOME TO THE BARN STUDIO

MASSIVE THANKS to ANDY who did all the hard work on this project and was amazing throughout.

Turning those January blues to purples.

Anyone else got that January feeling? The kind of post-Christmas hangover, feeling slightly jaded, cold, fed up and a bit blue? I certainly do. Probably not helped by my delightful children not letting me have much sleep since Christmas Day – seriously just 4 hours sleep in a row would be amazing right now.

I thought I would share my secret tips on how to get through these blue weeks and change them to a more positive purple as people often ask me how I manage all I do. Purple is apparently all about creativity, seeing things in a positive manner, slighly unconventional and inspiring. Sounds good to me!

Pilates with Priya: Keep calm and do Pilates

1. Top of my list. Aim to see the positive in all that happens. Even when it’s a bit rubbish: your child poos in the bath (as happened tonight) there is a positive – it made me clean the bath toys thoroughly!

2. Eat well. I know, everyone says it is important. Have you tested it out? Eating fresh food, plenty of fruit and veg, wholegrains and cutting down the sugar and processed rubbish really does make you feel so much better.

3. Get outside. Even though it is cold. I work from home and I really suffer with the cold. My fingers and toes go white. However getting fresh air and exercise outside boost my mood, my brain power and my energy levels.

4. Be more active. Activity release endorphins that make you feel good. So come to an extra drop in Pilates class, get our DVD or just run around the house!

5. Write a list of the things that make you feel happy and are relaxing Simple things that you can build into your life. Like having a bath, singing to music, laughing on the phone with friends. Then do them. For me, dancing in the kitchen with the kids, doing my own Pilates class and being creative in my kitchen helps keep me sane. Well as sane as I can be!

What are your top tips for surviving those blue months?