My back hurts…. what shall I do?

Many people come to us for help with their back pains and find that Pilates really helps. The act of strengthening their core, working on their posture, learning about neutral pelvis and stretching does wonders. 

So here is the question. “My back hurts should I come to class this week?”

Pilates with Priya: My back hurts...

It’s a tough one.  Sometimes the answer will be to rest it, sometime you will be better mobilising it in a safe environment. Here are my thoughts:

Why does it hurt? What led to it hurting in the first place? Knowing that can be very helpful to firstly preventing it happening again, helping us work out how to help you strengthen it and it will give us an idea what has happened. If you were bending down to pick up something and it twinged, then we need to work on your technique of picking things up, include some squats and core work in your repertoire.

Is this a new issue or a recurrent one. Your previous history is a great indicator of whether you should rest or keep mobile. For example if you have had disc issues in the past and the pain feels similar then you don’t want to be coming to class.

How much does it hurt? If it is a more of a dull back ache then you should probably come and let the teacher know so they can give you exercises to help. If it is a throbbing pain that you are needing painkillers for then you should be going to the GP and resting.

When you are in a class our advice is always – If it hurts then tell the teacher and stop. Pilates should not cause proper, full on pain. Yes your core will ache, your back may feel stretched, your shoulder blades may pinch…. but it is not a “No pain, no gain” type of exercise.

We are always here to give extra tips or to chat through things. For more specific exercises you can use at home  remember you can always use our DVD or book a one to one.

 

 

 

My Pilates admission… springs, furry handles, straps and beds.

Here comes a bit of an admission…. until recently I had never been on any type of Pilates equipment. Those scary looking frames, beds and chairs with straps, furry handles and springs looked rather intimidating to me… but also intriguing and I had been dying to give them a go. I completed my level 3 training when heavily pregnant and since then have been in a cycle of being pregnant, breastfeeding, pregnant again and breastfeeding again. So it has taken me some time to feel strong enough and ready enough to attempt a new challenge.

I am currently having some one to one sessions on the Pilates equipment with Marie-Claire Prettyman, who took me through my training and has taught me regularly since. Having someone who knows my body and capabilities well is helpful and reassuring.

Pilates with Priya: Teaser on the Cadillac

So after my first session – I was already in love. Working on the equipment adds another dimension to Pilates. The added resistance makes you think harder and work harder. For me it has been good to have an extra challenge, a fresh approach and another pair of eyes correcting my technique. With a slightly wonky body from carrying and chasing small children we’ve been focusing on my shoulders and upper back. The most frequently uttered words being “right shoulder down”. I always leave feeling alot better than when I started.

I will be completing my reformer training in April, so if you fancy giving it a go let me know!

Pre/Posnatal Chat on Abdominal Separation: #PPNChat

If you work with pre/postnatal women then this is for you. come network, learn and hangout with us. The second Pre/Postnatal Twitter chat hosting by myself and @ClaireMockridge

  • Tuesday 9 September 2014
  • 2:30pm GMT (click here to calculate your timezone if you’re not in the UK/Europe)

 

Postnatal DVD film shoot

 Our topic this time will be ABDOMINAL SEPARATION.

An important topic to be up to date on and a key issue for our pre/postnatal population.  

Come along to share your expertise, learn from others and ask questions. It’s a great way to get some top tips, update your knowledge and meet other likeminded people.

This Twitter chat is for ANYONE who works with pregnant or postnatal women, eg Reflexologists, Fertility Experts, Massage Therapists, Baby Yoga Teachers, Physios, Chiropractors, Osteopaths – you name it! So please spread the word and invite people you know who may be interested.

We will be encouraging people to introduce themselves, answer a few community-themed questions to get the conversation flowing and hopefully enable you to connect with others around you in similar fields of study or locality.

If you have never taken part in a twitter chat before DO NOT PANIC. Make sure you are following us and search for the has tag #ppnchat. Signing into tweet chat or using a separation column in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck can make it easier to read all the tweets.

A FEW GUIDELINES…twitter

  1. Every tweet you send must contain the hashtag #ppnchat (otherwise you’ll be just talking to yourself)
  2. There will be 5 questions on the #ppnchat which will be numbered Q1, Q2, Q3 and so on, as follows:
    • Q1 – Do you test for abdominal separation and if so how often do you test?
    • Q2 – What are your top tips for women suffering from this condition?
    • Q3 – How long do you find it takes for the abdominals to come back together again?
    • Q4 – When would you say a woman is recovered?
    • Q5 – Do you have any good resources/websites you can recommend?
  3. When answering a question, please include ‘A1′ at the beginning, followed by your answer eg A1 Yes, I test all of my postnatal clients for abdominal separation when they come along to my fitness and Pilates classes#ppnchat
  4. Tweets must be fewer than 140 characters.
  5. Twitter’s tagline is ‘Join the Conversation’, so please don’t be shy!

If you can’t make the #ppnchat on Tuesday 9 September 2014, don’t worry – just search the hashtag when you’re next online and connect with those who took part afterwards. I will also upload a blog with a link to the archived chat afterwards.

Please help spread the word about #ppnchat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via your mailing list.

 Regards

Claire Mockridge and Priya Tew

The FIRST Pre/Postnatal Twitter Chat – Tues 12 Aug 2014 #ppnchat

How exciting is this? I’m working with Claire Mockridge (another fab pre/postnatal instructor) to bring you the first pre/postnatal twitter chat. A great chance for instructors to network, information share and learn from each other.
Twitter is a great place to meet others and pick up top tips. I’m regularly found taking part in twitter chats.
So… if, like me, you work with pregnant or postnatal women, pop this date/time in your diary:Beautiful pregnant woman.

 

  • Tuesday 12 August 2014
  • 2:30pm GMT (click here to calculate your timezone if you’re not in the UK/Europe)

 

 

Make sure you’re following me on Twitter here:

@pilateswpriya

Save this hashtag now: #ppnchat

The  will be centred around the word ‘community’.

It can be pretty lonely out there if you’re one of the only Pre/Postnatal Experts in your area. This is where social media can be a Godsend. I often ask advice and seek out others who I can learn from in this way. Community is important so come and build it with us.

 Don’t worry if you’re a complete novice when it comes to Twitter.

Follow us, send a Tweet beforehand and we will hold your hand through the process.

This Twitter chat is for ANYONE who works with pregnant or postnatal women, eg Reflexologists, Fertility Experts, Massage Therapists, Baby Yoga Teachers, Physios, Chiropractors, Osteopaths – you name it!

We will be encouraging people to introduce themselves, answer a few community-themed questions to get the conversation flowing and hopefully enable you to connect with others around you in similar fields of study or locality.

 

A FEW GUIDELINES…twitter

  1. Every tweet you send must contain the hashtag #ppnchat (otherwise you’ll be just talking to yourself)
  2. There will be 5 questions on the #ppnchat which will be numbered Q1, Q2, Q3 and so on, as follows:
    • Q1 – What products/services do you provide for pre/postnatal women and which city/area are you based? #ppnchat
    • Q2 – How important is it for pre/postnatal women to be introduced to other mums-to-be and new mums nowadays? #ppnchat
    • Q3 – How do you help your pre/postnatal clients find other women just like them? #ppnchat
    • Q4 – Do you find it lonely sometimes working in this specialist field? How do you combat that? #ppnchat
    • Q5 – What local businesses do you network with to help promote your products/services? #ppnchat
  3. When answering a question, please include ‘Q1′ at the beginning, followed by your answer eg Q1 I’m Claire, an Ante/Postnatal Fitness Expert running fitness and Pilates classes for pre/postnatal women in Nottingham#ppnchat
  4. Tweets must be fewer than 140 characters, so keep things short where
  5. Twitter’s tagline is ‘Join the Conversation’, so please don’t be shy!

 

And, there you have it!Claire-6

If you can’t make the FIRST #ppnchat on Tuesday 12 August 2014, don’t worry – just search the hashtag when you’re next online and connect with those who took part afterwards.  It won’t be a waste, I’m sure.

Please help spread the word about #ppnchat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via your mailing list.

 

See you ‘virtually’ on Tuesday at 2:30pm!priya

 

Regards

 

Claire Mockridge and Priya Tew

How to deal with cramps

Quite often in class people tell me that they have got cramp, usually in their feet or legs. It’s a common Pilates issue but one that can be avoided or worked on.

Cramps in your feet can be due to:

1. Dehydration. I find myself that if I have not drunk enough water before class I can get cramp. Make sure you stay well dehydrated and see if it makes a difference.

2. Your foot muscles are out of shape and are fatiguing. If you are not used to Pilates style exercises they can be hard work for your legs and feet. These exercises often work eccentrically, they focus on lengthening the muscles which cna lead to more cramping than concentric exercises that focus on shortening muscles.

3. Overly pointing and flexing the feet or pointing too much through your toes. When you point try not to fous on the toes but move through the ankle instead. Sound odd? Give it a go. Practise pointing and flexing in this way when sat at home.

4. Weak arches or fallen arches. Wearing high heels and standing for long periods of time can exacerbate this issue. Walking barefoot is great for strengthening your feet. Also you can do some simple foot strengthening exercises, these are described below.

Foot Strengthening Exercises:

Tennis Ball exercise: Stand with your foot over a tennis ball or spikey ball. Drape your toes over towards the floor and push your weight down through your foot. Repeat with the ball further back towards your heel.

Pilates with Priya: Foot on Spikey ball-1

Cherry Picking: Lie on your back in neutral with one leg up in the air, foot flexed towards the ceiling. Point the foot, now scrunch up the toes as if picking up a pen with them. Keep them scrunched for as long as possible whilst you draw the foot back to flexed. If you are pregnant try this one seated on the floor or on a chair/ball.

Pilates with Priya: Cherry Picking

Fit Pro Awards 2014: A night of glamour.

Excitingly I was recently named as a finalist for the National Fitness Professionals Awards. What a complete shock and honour to be recognised in this way by the fitness industry! So on 18th July I went up to London for Fit Pro Live 2014. This was my first time at Fit Pro Live and it was buzzing! Loads of great seminars to attend and masterclasses to watch. I enjoyed watching the Tabata team work themselves extremely hard as well as seeing the latest Insanity class being done by a lot of crazy Fit Pro’s 😉

Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of Pilates related content but I did get to meet with Claire Mockridge another pre/postnatal Pilates instructor and we had a good catch up. Networking and meeting others in the same field is so important for me.

I had a 10 minute interview in front of a panel of 5 judges, rather nerve-wracking and I certainly didn’t say quite what I probably should have said, but they were lovely and I survived!

The evening event itself was full of glamour. The initial challenge for me was to get both children settled and the baby to sleep. Once that mountain was crossed it was time for dressing up and some Prosecco. I didn’t win the award but another pre/postnatal instructor won an award on the night so that was fabulous!

Pilates with Priya: Fit Pro Awards

A great night of networking, top music and food.  It’s inspired me to keep going and keep doing what I’m doing but also opened my mind to think about the next stages for Pilates with Priya. Watch out…

Fit Pro Award of Excellence

Priya-Tew large FB banner

Somehow, and I really am not sure how, but Somehow I’ve made it through to the semi-finals of the Fit Pro Awards. Now I’m just little me, running my little Pilates business around my family. We have over 100 people through our door every week and now have 3 other instructors teaching for us, taking us up to 19 classes, 3 antenatal, 2 postnatal, 1 step, 1 ballet and 12 normal Pilates classes with 1-2-1 session too. Life is busy!

I love my job, in fact I love it so much I taught throughout my pregnancy, literally up to the end and then was back teaching my postnatal class 3 weeks after having baby. Pilates helps my body and I love imparting the knowledge and showing others how it can help them. We have a lot of laughter in our studio and a lot of hard work too. Behind the scenes there are many late nights, a lot of admin, reading and practice!

I’m delighted to have made it through to the semi-finals, PLEASE help me get to the finals by voting for me and writing a review about us.

VOTE HERE

Priya-Tew email

Back to the Studio…What has Pilates taught you?

It’s been 4 months since baby Judah arrived and the time has literally flown by. Our team of instructors have been amazing at covering classes and I’ve enjoyed every minute of spending time being a mummy. However I’ve also been itching to get back to the studio. What has amazed me has been the journey of working on my own body postnatally and seeing how much it needed strengthening. I’m not fully back to my usual strength yet but I’m certainly well on my way.

Weight wise I’m almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m back in my usual jeans, which are a little tight but are getting looser by the week and I’ve just got a bit of a muffin top left to shift 😉 however I see that as my breastfeeding stores.

I’m now back teaching 11 classes a week plus some one to one sessions and my dietitian work. So it’s go go go. However I’m extremely lucky to have amazing clients who know I have to work around my gorgeous baby. So he is sometimes in the studio with me and has even come in for a sneaky feed during a class.

Pilates for me has been amazing. It’s taught me body awareness which means throughout preganancy and now postnatally I am really trying hard to listen to it, work out what muscles are tights, which need stretching, which need working and when to stop.  For example I know I had a slight gap between by tummy muscles after birth which I’ve been ultra aware of, I’ve also got a clicky hip and shoulders from the relaxin that is kicking around my system still. It’s also the ideal exercise for me to do in between feeds as it it can be done in small chunks of time, it corrects my posture and it relaxes me. What has Pilates taught you?

 

5 mistakes you could be making in Pilates

1. Not using your breathing:

The breathing is often the tricky part for people as it feels back to front! However it really is crucial to breath correctly to get your core really activated. When you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts downward drawing in air. When you exhale, the diaphragm returns pushing air out. The core muscles act as a brace around your spine to support and protect your back. Practise breathing with your core engaged, with every out breath feeling the strength of your core. Generally in Pilates you exhale on the hardest part of the exercise when you need the most core strength.

2. Neutral Pelvis.

Neutral pelvis is when the pubic bone and hipbones are  level and in the same plane. This means that the pelvis is not tucked under (bum under, back into the mat) or tilted back (bum stuck out, larger arch in back). If your pelvis is tilted back pressing you lower back right into the mat for exercises such as the hundred, your spine is not being supported securely, your abs will engage but you will not get the same benefits for your back.

Pilates with Priya: Neutral Spine

3. Neck Strain:

Your upper abdominals should be used when you are doing anything in a curled up position in Pilates. To help you use these properly and not strain your neck you need to get the correct neck alignment. Start with a small chin nod, and then use your upper abs to curl up, never lead with your head or neck when curling up. Always keep enough space for a small orange between your chin and your chest. You shouldn’t  feel too much stress in your neck. You can always modify those exercises by keeping your head resting on the mat.
4. Lower abs support your legs.

When lifting your legs (for example knee folds) you need to make sure that the majority of the weight of your legs is supported by your lower abdominals. Your legs should almost feel light as feathers, with your neutral pelvis in place. Practice lying on your back and feeling your pelvis getting heavy and your feet getting light, then bring your knees (one at a time) above your hips, keeping neutral pelvis.
5.  No Momentum.

In Pilates moving slowly and connecting every movement to your breath is key. Using momentum skips over muscles fibers and doesn’t allow you to build strength throughout the entire range of the muscle group needed to eventually accomplish the exercises correctly.  One example is the roll up. If done incorrectly, overtime you can actually put more tension in your back and hip flexors.  Many people do not have a flexible enough spine to execute the roll up without using momentum.  To help build strength and flexibility try bringing the mat to your body, by adding a small pillow or folded towel where your spine is less flexible. Many people think quick moves equals more burn, but slow, steady movements work the deep core muscles to their fullest ability.

 

Top 3 Pilates Errors and how to correct them.