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

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

Perfect that knee fold

This week in my classes I’ve been focusing on pelvis weight and neutral pelvis. It can be all so easy to forget the basics of Pilates and getting away from these makes the exercises easier so you get less benefits.

When lifting your legs (for example knee folds) you want to be using your lower abdominals to do the work. If not your lower back will end up compensating, leading to a weak core and over-worked lower back.

Set yourself up in neutral, focus on the hip bones being level and you being flat from hip bones to pubic bone. To check gently rock the pelvis up, then tuck it under and rest in the middle of these two movements.

Now feel the weight of the pelvis. As you focus on this, feel your feet getting lighter. You should find that as your pelvis gets heavier and your feet lighter your lower abdominals engage, so your core switches on. This is the position you should be starting your knee folds and all exercises that stem from these from.

Pilates with Priya: single knee fold

Always better to start slow and find a place where your abdominals are able to support your legs, and with some people their legs might be too heavy for their abs to hold. Start small and build up slowly. You will get stronger.

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.


Roller Addiction. Why Rollers are the Bees Knees.

It’s official. I have a roller addiction. There I’ve said it! Fortunately some of those in my classes seem to have a similar roller love.  So why do I love them so? Here’s a little run down on how a roller can make Pilates even better:

1. They make you work harder, place your body on an unstable surface and suddenly that core has to work extra hard.

2. Tension release – just lying on one of these babies can release in the shoulder blades and upper body.

3. Massage – it’s not my favourite thing to use a roller for but boy does it do you good.

4. They are so versatile, I use them for lying exerises, prone exercises, seated, stood and under the sacrum too.

5. Coming off the roller is amazing, that moment when you lie down on the floor and stretch out – its sheer bliss.

Here are my top 5 roller exercises:

1. Single Leg Stretch: lie on the roller in neutral, keep the shoulder blades open and touching it, come to a double knee fold then on an out breath stretch the leg away and on an in breath return it to the starting position. Repeat on the other side staying heavy through the pelvis and lumbar spine and pinned to the roller the whole time.

2. Shoulder Drops: great for tension release in the shoulders. Lying on the roller, breath and and lift both arms to the ceiling, hands over shoulders and hands shoulder distance apart. Breath out and reach towards the ceiling, breath in and drop the shoulder blades back down to touch the roller. Use the core to stabilise the pelvis and keep you as still as possible on the roller.

3. Shoulder Bridge: Lying down on the mat with the roller under your feet, knees bent, in neutral with the core engaged. Breath out and roller up to a shoulder bridge, breath in to hold and breath out to slowly roll down through the spine keeping the roller still and the legs in line. Really uses the hamstrings in the legs and the gluts in the bum!

4. CAT: Come to hands and knees, place the roller under your shins. As you breath out roll up to CAT (arched back) position, breath in to hold and then breath out as you gently release back to neutral.

5. Swimming: Lie on your tummy with the roller in front of you, holding around each end, arms outstretched. Engage the core and relax in the legs and bum. As you breathe out keep the shoulder blades pulled down in the back but lift your hand, elbow and 1 side of the roller off the floor. Breath in and let it come down to the floor. The whole time keep the pelvis still and try to think about lifting from your core and not your shoulder.

I hope that inspires you to get on a roller! If you need to buy one and are local I can order them in for you.

Priya x

Pilates with Priya: Rollers in Action
Pilates with Priya: Rollers in Action