Wednesday, December 14, 2011

barre burning it at equinox west hollywood

happy holidays all! i’ve been having the time of my life this last quarter, with fantastic new clients, new class programs and new schedule that includes a barre burn class at equinox west hollywood!

as described by the club, it’s a “total body workout that slims your hips, tightens your thighs, lifts your seats and mobilizes your metabolism. utilizing ballet movements, intelligent isometrics, challenges in rhythm, range of motion and progressive core training, your body heals, tightens, strengthens, so you look, feel and move better!”

the class definitely lives up to this description so i hope people who are looking for something new to do can come check it out and stick with it!

if you want to condition your body into straight up sexiness and learn how those dancers move with such strength and ease, then this class is for you! i share my background and lifelong love of commercial dance with everyone in class and will help you get there. we use the same foundational moves in pilates that are based in low resistance, precision, flow, control and long lines. we add some dynamic level changes (like high kicks and jumps) for more core destabilizing. it’s only 45 minutes so everyone gets in their cardio and their sculpting “burn” in at the same time.

friday morning workouts are meant to be fun. weekly attendance will get you strong, limber, poised and ready for that photo shoot or in shape for that long-overdue beach trip! come check us out at #equinoxfitness west hollywood 9am this friday, december 16th for the last class of the year. we get to start back up again January 6, 2012. see you soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Work the Kinks and Aches out with Yoga Tune Up Classes in Westwood!

Wednesdays November 30, December 7 and December 14

Time: 6:30p – 7:45p

Location: Wheel of Well-Being

1575 Westwood Blvd. #303

North of Santa Monica Bl.

2 hr meter parking on Westwood Blvd.

South of Massachusetts

Price: $20.00 per class, for info call 323.207.0197

(please bring a yoga blanket or beach towel; mats, blocks, straps are available but bring your own if you can!)

Yoga Tune Up is Fitness Therapy for Everyday Living.

LinkClick here for the intro video. It is an all-encompassing and challenging fitness method that safely restores, rejuvenates and resets bodies of all ages and activity levels. With a foundation in core strengthening, it highlights the healing benefitsof Yoga poses with corrective exercise to mobilize imbalanced areas in the body where pain and injury may occur.

This series of classes will include:

· Yoga Tune UpÒ Therapy Ball work – targeted myofascial release and trigger point therapy to massage deeply into tight areas to relieve aches and pains

· Shoulder Shape Up – eliminate shoulder tension through specific techniques for stability and mobility in the shoulder joint and upper back area

· Hip Heaven – relieve tight hips by increasing mobility, creating spaciousness and releasing tension in the hip joint and lower back area

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

getting to know your diaphragm as part of your core

the thoracic diaphragm (or simply “diaphragm”) is the primary and most unique umbrella-like shaped muscle for respiration that lies between the thoracic (chest) and abdominal cavities. while difficult to perceive in the body at times, it is also a very important muscle in with respect to exercise, posture and in daily existence. what does this ultimately mean for your workouts? it means that because of its distinctive positioning, this muscle also affects your core conditioning.

the diaphragm’s muscle fibers attach to bones at inner surface of our bottom six ribs, at the front of the body at the sternum and at the back of the body at lower vertebrae. these muscle fibers converge at the central tendon which is attached to the connective tissue that surrounds the lungs. during inhalation and exhalation, the diaphragm (along with the muscles of the ribs) contracts and expands to create a suction to draw fresh oxygenated air into the lungs and then returns to its original shape to expel used air.

with respect to core muscles, the diaphragm is also connected to the postural muscles such as the transverse abdominus (your body’s own built in corset/weight belt), quadratus lumborum (back stabilizers) and iliopsoas (the hip flexors), creating an “upper roof” for these core muscles. its contraction not only affects lung capacity, but also affects the pressure in the abdominal wall and the activity of the abdominal muscles! so, you see, your breathing is indeed affected by your posture and vice versa. when we are aware of the diaphragm and consciously integrate our breathing into our workouts, we are maximizing its function and collaboration with our entire core.

when your fitness instructors remind you about your posture in cycling class or suggest ways in which you can manipulate your breath in yoga or pilates classes, it is more than just what it might seem. they are asking you to condition your core muscles by mobilizing one of the most influential muscles in respiration, posture and core abdominal conditioning. so listen carefully to what they say and key in to what your body is doing on the inside and out. with this focus, you will be able to find this important muscle and get it to work for you!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

let it flow, let yourself go

i know, it's been EONS since i've posted...been hard at work and concurrently immersed in training for yoga tune up a wellness modality developed by my teacher, jill miller. i've also been part of the launch of a new rockin' workout called pound . while the two are on extreme ends of the spectrum, both are amazing methods that integrate major core and pilates work. they are also incredible stress relievers.

anyhow, so, i've been busy, a little more anxious than usual, but the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow was that i've learned a lot of life lessons in and out of my training over the past two months, some exhilarating from the start, and some quite humbling before the relief in clarity. the underlying message throughout, was to "let it go". for people who are perfectionists and high achievers, "letting go" might take a little more work - or a little less, actually!

so here's a nice little reminder that i will share - a quote from lao tzu, "by letting it go, it all gets done. the world is won by those who let it go. but when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning."

for the musical take on the concept, of "letting go", click here for the original writers of the famous beastie boys song !

Sunday, July 31, 2011

community in fitness

when you're around people who are active and have a healthy attitude about physical fitness, you are part of a very special community. you will find inspiration, many laughs and long-standing camaraderie amongst these people.

i’ve always loved the tagline “it’s not fitness, it’s life” for equinox fitness clubs. this declaration is quite accurate for me and the many of the dedicated friends and colleagues i've met through the fitness community. we often say how people approach their workout in the gym/studio is a direct reflection of how they live their lives outside of it.

people who consistently make time for their workouts are adaptable, sexy, vivacious, hopeful, driven and success-oriented. they deal with stress a little better. they aim to eat well and consider what they put in their bodies. generally speaking, their serotonin is at a good level and they know how great endorphins can be. they not only look good, but they smell good too!

consistent activity results in improved blood and oxygen circulation as well as digestive function which, in turn, effectively flushes out toxins that cause disease. with the management and prevention of disease, one naturally has a healthy state of mind. needless to say, this existence is quite attractive and pleases all of the senses - vision, smell, touch, etc...

i am so thankful for my spirited friends and colleagues in this community. our lifestyles have resulted in a great way to live. we inspire and motivate each other. we maintain a healthy sense of discipline and competition. from this, we all respect one another for our commitment to ourselves as individuals, knowing that we each are a direct reflection of our collective selves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

rehab and muscle conditioning

there is a reason why injured or recovering people incorporate pilates in their rehabilitative and exercise programs. not only does the method reinforce fundamental core stability with every exercise, it also conditions the complex network of muscles in the joints with controlled, precise and low-impact movements.

an unstable core will put more pressure on the muscles of the appendages (the arms and legs) to work more than they have to. so many injuries and ailments are actually caused by instability and imbalance in these key areas.

for example, painful shoulder impingement (or even an aching neck!) might be caused by an over-contraction of muscles that elevate the shoulders towards the ears and rotate them in towards the chest. deliberate and low-impact exercises like “side arm push downs”, "long back stretch", “pulling straps” and “T” encourage proper alignment in joint mobility by strengthening muscles that rotate the shoulders outward and depress them securely toward the ribcage.

rehabilitation and muscle conditioning with pilates guarantees unnecessary stress on the body that is often found in high-impact, ballistic or heavy weight-bearing exercise. even the most advanced and challenging moves shift the body position in the most subtle ways! many of the controlled, low-impact movements could be deceivingly subtle. this is because the work is very deep and precise, calling for the student to keenly prioritize core integration with safe ranges of motion and balance of movement.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

pilates at the core of diversity in movement

one of my teachers commented on the importance of diversifying the movement of our muscles to keep them healthy and balanced. this resonated so much with me from a pilates perspective!! as someone who needs both variety and consistency in my own workouts, pilates strengthens and prepares me for the things that I love to do, like practicing yoga and spinning.

i love the isolated contractions found in yoga and the cardio from spinning; both are incredible outlets for me mentally as well. when my yoga teachers tell me to lengthen my spine and both sides of my waist, I use my core muscles to accomplish this. when my spin coach tells us to lift up out of the saddle, i make sure that my posture is lined up (from front, back and sides) so that i can stand in runs upright without depending on my arms to support me. even with the occasional circuit and dance class, i prioritize breathing and core integration.

the pilates method teaches the practitioner how to initiate any movement from the core. it also teaches us how to coordinate our muscles to simultaneously exploit both their stretch and strength functions. we also learn to strengthen the small accessory muscles in the joints. this way of body control keeps us strong from the center and teaches us to respect the natural lines that the body creates. all of this helps us avoid excessive injury and prevents stress on our bodies.

a regular practice of pilates prepares us to execute the above examples of two radically different forms of exercise by keeping our bodies flexible and strong. for many, it is tempting to use the arms and shoulders to lengthen the spine and waist in yoga, i see this all the time – people shrugging their shoulders up to pull their spine long, yipes! pilates conditions the body to use the core muscles to accomplish this length. some people suffer from lower back weakness or pain by over flexion (hunching over with a very rounded back) in spinning; pilates encourages proper core strengthening and correct posture, synchronizing the muscles that not only connect the ribs to the hips, but all of the supportive muscles that, for instance, connect the vertebrae together.

workouts should be fun, challenging and consistent. diversity in workouts keeps one mentally engaged and physically well-conditioned. learning about your body functions, how to move from your core and support your spine is invaluable; not only will you be able to execute any exercise safely, you will excel in all of your activities by keeping your body strong and adaptable!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Massaging Your Internal Organs

The Holidays, while filled with fun, family and love, can cause some havoc on our bodies with the various food and drink that is served. Practicing Pilates helps flush out some of the merriment (or even stress) by conditioning a strong and properly functioning core. Core abdominal muscles like the transverse abdominus are integral in aiding the digestive function as well as the optimal flushing of toxins.

Digestion is aided when internal organs like the intestines are stimulated by core muscles to move contents through the digestive system. Proper digestion leads to great nutrient absorption and prevents painful digestive diseases like diverticulitis.

Twisting exercises like the stomach massage on the reformer and pull ups to the side on the wunda chair strengthen the core muscles, which in turn serve to promote optimal functions of the intestines as well as other organs like the liver. When the liver functions well, it directs blood and lymphatic fluid into the larger vessels of the cardiovascular system which eliminates toxins from the body!

Another bonus to a properly functioning core through practicing the Pilates method is that it can reduce stress and anxiety, which also has been proven to cause digestive problems. The bottom line is,proper core conditioning is crucial to a long and disease-free life so that we can continue to enjoy our families and celebrate for many years to come!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

deep abdominal work

hi everyone! here's a brilliant article on deep core work by one of my favorite teachers jill miller. she discusses how to get really strong abdominals by identifying a key powerhouse muscle - the diagphragm.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

why apparatus work?

joe pilates created apparatuses like the cadillac, the reformer and wunda chair to help people find their core muscles and better understand how the body works. his intentions were for students to use parts of this equipment as extensions of their limbs (through the straps and springs). he found that some people really needed the closed chain to identify and engage their core.

for example, doing leg circles on the reformer will encourage the student to stabilize their hips with core muscles as they experience the light resistance from the straps. or, those who use their legs with roll ups might benefit from doing roll downs on the cadillac and front rowing on the reformer help isolate the deep muscles in the torso that articulate the spine in a rolling motion.

in my own teaching practice, i prefer using the gratz equipment (shown in this photo of a gratz reformer) for many reasons including their stability, industrial feel and the fact that they represent what is a classic method of pilates for me.

we work within what is called the box of the body - the natural lines that our shoulders and hips form. the work is initiated within this box and then is sent out towards the limbs to complete the movement. strength from the limbs alone doesn't encourage a balanced body, strength from the core to support movement in the limbs does.