It’s not all about strength. Tightness can be a Weakness.

 Pilates for me is constantly a challenge. I teach it, but I am also still learning it and I think I always will be. That is one of the reasons I love it so much. If something is too easy, it loses it appeal to me. I’m certainly not uber flexible, ultra strong or a Pilates Pro. I am however consistent, always looking to learn, able to listen more and more to my body and Pilates is an exercise I enjoy. Finding exercise you enjoy is always important, if you don’t like it you will not stick to it.

One thing highlighted to me this week is how Pilates is not all about how strong you are. Yes you need core strength to do a teaser and upper body strength to complete a good front leg pull back… but you also need hamstrings that are released so you can straighten your legs for a teaser and if your pecs are tight you will struggle to get the full range for the front leg pull back. So I’m introducing new release stretches into our classes. A tight muscle can be a weakness.

Carpel Tunnel Stretch

Think about it, what is different those weeks when you suddenly cannot do certain exercises. The roll up is one of those that often gets affected. Tiredness, tight muscles, overworked muscles, the breathing and lack of concentration all play a role – not just core strength.

So this week when going around your daily activities work out where you feel restricted movement, what areas feel tight. If you sit alot at work this may be your hamstrings, if you are on the floor playing with small children it may be tight pectorals from having a rounded upper body posture. Lifting, leaning, driving, looking at a screen, wearing shoes – unless we do these everyday activities with proper alignment we will get tight muscles somewhere.

touch toes

My challenge to you – go and release them. Find a roller, a spiky ball, a tennis ball and get into those tight places. Stretch out with a band, a rolled towel or just on the floor. Think about what you are feeling and then see if you notice the difference. If you can, release some of these areas before your Pilates class. Then see what happens.

Pilates with Priya: Release, Stretch and Strengthen


Fascinating Fascia, why moving is good.

So I’ve back at the study at present. As part of a course I am studying I’m delving into Fascia. Quite simply fascinating.

Fascia is the web of fibres and proteins that form a layer that connects the whole body. It can be seen if you dissect the body. Sometimes known as connective tissue, it connects one muscle to another.  Described as “the fuzz” in this famous video to those fascia geeks or as cotton candy or cling film. When you are tight the fascia builds up and you need to release and “melt the fuzz” or over time you will end up with an inhibition to your movement.
The theory is that tension, injury or a postural issue will affect the fascia and this then ripples out across the rest of the body along myofascial meridians. Imagine 6 people holding a sheet taut between them, a pull at one place will be felt by all of them. So that injury in your ankle will cause a build up of fascia (think thicker strands, more of them) that can have an affect higher up the body, in your opposite rib cage for example. Now it’s not new to know an injury in one part of the body can affect another. The difference here is thinking about the muscles not working in isolation but the fascia are the connections between the muscles and transmit tensions and movement through to other muscles.
So movement is good and staying static is not. Stretching and using our full range of motion is important. This is where massage and release stretches come into play. Using rollers, balls and hands to massage the fascia can that has built up in an area can be broken down. Hence why that not so comfortable roller massage is important!