The New Normal?

Whilst lockdown has been a tough, it has also been a time of innovation and learning to work in new ways.

Online classes have been popping up everywhere with versions where you can see all the particpants and versions where you cannot. It’s been a time to try new things or go old-school back to things you used to enjoy. A time to slow down the pace and a time to reflect on what is important.

I’ve felt so very lucky to be able to run classes online, it has brought me a lot of joy to be able to see my class members online each week and to chat to them. It has also been pretty exhausting to adapt to new ways of doing things, so I’m super proud and thankful to everyone in our studio for doing this and for sticking with us whilst we worked it out.

To be honest I wasn’t convinced online classes would work, how can you correct people over the internet? It turns out that if you are creative it can work well and for some of our classes such as the postnatal ones I think it works better for some people. Whilst I will always be a lover of being hands on with people and seeing people face to face I can see that online classes have their benefits too.

Benefits of online classes:
– Able to join from wherever you are, you don’t have to be local, it is lovely to welcome back people who had moved away and welcome new people.
– Safety in terms of physical health.
– You can do it in your PJs!
– No travel.
– You don’t have to be in a certain room, you could be in the garden, the park or anywhere as long as you have your phone with you!
– No need for childcare.

 

Problems with online classes:
– Lack of space and equipment. It has lead to some creative solutions with baked bean cans, pairs of tights and using childrens bedrooms. Where there is a will, there’s a way!
– Not wanting people to see you in your homes. I totally understand this, but also I promise once you have done it you will realise people really are only watching the teacher.
– Internet access and technology glitches!
– Having “helpers” so you don’t get the peaceful class you would like.
– Harder to follow over a screen.

Whilst group classes online are not for everyone, I totally understand that being able to see each other in your own homes is not always ideal, it has opened the doors for those with children or those who have moved way who want to join in. For me, it has been lovely to see all the pets and children joining in! I like to be able to see people whilst they do pilates so I can offer correction and teaching tips.

The future for us right now will continue to involve some online classes, I imagine these are there to stay. This time is a time for you to decide what works best for you. So if you are enjoying the online classes and do not feel the need to come back to the studio as soon as it is possible, we will be supporting that. If you know you need to be in the studio to get away from the house, then we hope to support that with limited numbers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you have found online classes and what that sweet spot is with online and in person?

We have moved ONLINE

It’s been a whirlwind turnaround but I’m super proud and pleased to say that although sadly the studio is physically closed we are not actually closed! Our classes are running online in a variety of ways. Pilates is a fabulous way to destress, clear your mind and keep moving during this tricky time. I know from the kind messages I get that it is keeping a lot of people going right now.

After a week of testing the technology from the studio and almost getting on top of it, lockdown hit and now all teachers are teaching from their homes. Which means you still get to see your favourite teacher but it may look and feel a little different. What we are finding is teaching online is quite intimate. We get to see you in your home, you get to see us in ours and its kinda nice. You can come to class in your PJs, with your children, pets or your favourite drink.

Plus, if you miss your actual class, not to worry as right now to help us all through this time, you get full access to all the classes that are taught in the studio, on a catch up basis. So you can log into our studio facebook group and view them there, or most classes are also being added to the membership portal. All for the usual monthly price of one class.

If you have any friends who have wanted to try Pilates then this is a great time to do so and they can be based anywhere! We will have some induction sessions running online and then they can join the normal classes for £35 a month or have access to just the membership portal for £10 a month.

Pilates: you’re worth it.

I’m noticing more people are now being told to do Pilates by health professionals. Which is fantastic as quite frankly I think everyone should be practising Pilates. In an age where self care is all the rage, Pilates is the epitome of this. It is a way to look after your body in a loving way. Yes you will work and maybe even “glow” but the emphasis is on quality of movement and connecting with how your body works.

Now you don’t need an anatomy degree to come to a class but having an awareness about your movement will be beneficial. If you don’t have one yet then after a few classes you certainly will be starting to.

Taking time out of your week to lie down, breath, focus on your muscles and then move is the perfect antidote to a hectic lifestyle. It can calm your nervous system whilst working the whole body. People come into a class stressed out and leave in the opposite mood.

We only have one body and it’s key to keep it functioning as well as possible. Pilates can help lubricate stiff joints, stretch the body out after a days work or a bad nights sleep and works muscle groups to keep them healthy. With parts of our body it is certainly “use it or lose it”. Some of the best Pilates moments I have with people is when they can do movements they had not been able to do for some time, such as touch their toes or get down to the mat and up again unaided.

Then as you delve deeper Pilates just keeps giving. 10 years on and I still feel like I’m learning and re-learning the exercises and technique. Now that either means I was awful to start with (quite possibly) or my body has changed over the years (3 babies and 10 years of ageing) so I have to keep adapting and learning. I’ll let you decide which!

So I see Pilates as part of the way I keep taking care of my body. What are you doing for your body this week?

The silent epidemic.

I don’t normally watch terestial TV, but whilst away I flicked it on to be greeted by an advert about incontinence pants. There wasn’t much of this advert I agreed with, it was normalising incontinence, specifically after having a baby.

Incontinence affects 1 in 3 women at some time. Childbirth, menopause, impact sports and getting older all affect our pelvic floor but that doesn’t mean we have to put up with it or pretend incontinence pads are glamorous. Let’s face it, it should not be normal to wee in your pants unless you are unwell or in a nursing home! Yet so often on social media it is made to seem normal.

At points in life your pelvic floor will be weaker. Hormones play a large role as does the affect of carrying a baby and pushing it out. If you had an assisted delivery using forceps that will also cause further damage. As you get older muscle mass can decline so it becomes even more important to keep those muscles working properly. We can of course adapt by drinking less, going for a wee before you leave a safe environment (the “just in case” wee), avoiding certain moves like star jumps and wearing pants/a pad. However that is pretty restrictive and isn’t living as full a life as you could.

Urinary Stress Incontinence = poor function of the pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that need to relax for us to toilet, so they also need to contract to stop leaks. They can be too weak, too tight, poorly co-ordinated and working more one side than the other. So it isn’t as simple as a squeeze and release.

Now think about it, if other muscles are not doing their job what do we do? You may see a physiotherapist, take time to work on working the muscles correctly, resting them when needed, having some sports massage and work with the muscles around the injured area. It is no different with the pelvic floor! We need to focus on a whole pile of muscles around that area, plus the contraction and relaxation. You may need to downtrain the pelvic floor and you may need to change some of your day to day habits to help.

Ladies, let’s not think incontinence is normal. If you need help then seen a womans health physiotherapist and find your local Holistic Core Restore ® Coach (I’m the one for Southampton) for 1-1 work or the EVERYWOMAN course.

Pilates and the nervous system.

You know those days you are buzzing with adrenaline, you are whizzing around like a busy bee, getting physical stuff done but your mind is in an anxious state? When you constantly feel tense, you can’t fully breathe and your heart rate feels pumping?

These are examples of your nervous system being on overdrive and I know is a place I tend to live my life in. However Pilates brings me an answer to this. Read on for more. We have 2 nervous systems:

Sympathetic – this is the fight or flight nervous system. When your body is faced with a sudden threat it tenses up, certain functions slow down (digestion) and others speed up:

  • pupil dilation
  • sweating
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure

Parasympathetic – the “regist and digest” nervous system. This system we need to be working to enable the body to recover, relax and heal itself. When this nervous system is fired up we get more:

  • constriction of pupils
  • decreased heart rate
  • increased digestion
  • more saliva and mucus
  • more urine production

Pilates for me brings me out of the craziness of daily life, away from the “to-do” list, the work deadlines, the family dynamics, the household jobs and into a place where I have to slow down, I have to think about my body and I have to concentrate on me. That is why it is more than exercise. It is a way to switch on the parasympathetic nervous system and calm your whole system so that your body can restore itself.

Personally I think most of us need time daily to destress, to calm our bodies and mind, to breath deeply and to let the body slow down. Mindfulness and meditation have been recommended for years for many mental health conditions and now this is coming into physical health too. Why? When our bodies are under stress one way this can be shown is through sickness. Our gut and brain are linked closely by the gut-brain axis via the nervous system. So if our brain is on overdrive and highly stressed it can definitely affect gut conditions.

If you are struggling with your physical or mental health then why not try Pilates as a way to help. Here is a beginners video that may be helpful: