Dec 6, 2013 / 5:00 am
Please take a moment to think about the ways you move … sitting, standing up, standing and bending forward, walking or running motion, driving and twisting to look over your shoulder, carrying something over your shoulder or on your hip, lifting and moving something. And then consider, how many times do we repeat those same motions or activities throughout the day or week? To maintain a healthy, mobile body, you want to move your body in many different directions, engaging many different muscles with a variety of movements. As we move into the holidays whereby your usual exercise routine may be interrupted, I would urge you to continue to take the time to move your body using the principles of Movement & Meditation.
Movement & Meditation is a way of thinking and then moving your body joint by joint starting from your toes and working up to the neck. There is no wrong way to do this. By simply considering the whole body and all possibilities of moving, you will happily and joyfully be performing Movement & Meditation. There is no specific time requirement or measurement to be reached. The only requirement is for the mind to be focussed on the body, and as much of the body moving as possible. This is for men, women, young people and older people, people with disabilities and limitations, for athletic people, and for busy people. If you are a calm, healthy, kind, reflective, empathetic and passionate person, you are probably already doing Movement & Meditation.
The Meditation is the focus on your body, and not 10 other things at once (what happened to you in your day, what you will do later, who you should call, the discussion you had with your son/daughter, the discussion you need to have with your spouse or business partner, etc.). This will allow the mind to slow down, get clear, be calm, think rationally, become productive instead of chaotic and overwhelmed, be responsive instead of reactive, focussed and directed. The body is a beautiful meditation because it is in the moment, not the past or the future, and it is objective in that “it just is what it is.” The more you do Movement & Meditation, the more natural a state of calmness and clarity will become for you. You will be able to feel the effects of negative stress more quickly and therefore, be able to respond to the stimuli efficiently and effectively so that you can return to a place of calmness and clarity.
- Take 5 very large breaths – you can choose to be lying down, seated in a chair or standing, or all three at various points in the process.
- Become aware of your body from your toes to the top of your head.
- Choose a joint – toes, ankles, knees, hips, spine, elbows, wrists, fingers, shoulders, muscles of the face (not a joint but worth your consideration).
- Bend forward and back, bend side to side, rotate/twist, tighten the muscles around the area then relax those same muscles, then breathe into that area.
When you are finished moving, take the last minute to just feel what you feel.
If you do not feel motivated to lead yourself through this process, then I would suggest heading out to a yoga, Pilates, NIA, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, or some other organized class where you are led to mindfully move your body. It will be the best gift the holidays can give you.
For more information, please go to www.sculptpilates.ca
Aug 4, 2013 / 5:00 am
Are you injured? Do you have chronic pain in a particular area? Does the pain come and go depending on what activities you do? Does the discomfort keep you from doing what you want to do? If you answered yes to any one or more of these questions, are you ready to fix it? Are you ready to get yourself back to the place you were before you started living with your physical limitation? Well, a combination of good physiotherapy (diagnosis) and Pilates movement therapy (exercise) can help.
When you get physiotherapy, the therapist will do an assessment of the area creating pain for you. Unless the pain is due to some specific accident, the pain is usually caused by wrong movement patterns. Once the physio diagnoses the wrong movement pattern and the weaknesses that have caused it, then exercises are used to re-create the right movement pattern for that area of function.
Physiotherapy & Pilates
When your physiotherapist works with your Pilates instructor, the results are fantastic. The physio tells your Pilates teacher which muscles are weak and not turning on, and which ones are overused and in desperate need of relaxation and stretching, and finally, which movements aggravate the pain. Then the Pilates instructor coaches you with the exercises given to you by the physio so that you execute the exercises with proper alignment, as well as, chooses other Pilates movements based on the info from your physio.
Pilates exercises are excellent for rehabilitation because Pilates exercises combine a balance of strength and flexibility. Because wrong movement patterns create weak muscles and overworked (usually tight) muscles, exercises that strengthen the weak muscles and relax the overworked muscles will bring about rehabilitation. An exercise that does the opposite, will exasperate the pain and prolong rehabilitation.
All Pilates movements emphasize proper alignment, breathing, proper muscle sequencing, and a balance between strength and flexibility. There are about 500 Pilates exercises to choose from so there will always be an abundance of movements that are right for your body.
The final result is your recovery of health
When our bodies are in pain, our bodies experience more stress than they need and our brains are less free to fully experience joy and confidence. Our bodies and minds experience undue stress when we are out of balance. Proper physiotherapy diagnosis followed by rehabilitative Pilates exercises restore body-mind balance which is expressed as joy, confidence, mobility and freedom.
Jun 23, 2013 / 5:00 am
Getting moving after an injury is a problem many people face; whatever interests and activities they pursue. You are not alone! Whether you are a weekend warrior, intent on returning to peak fitness so you can run, ski, kayak, hike, waterski or cycle; or someone who finds it hard to play a full round of golf, kick a football with the kids, or manage an hour gardening without pain, the frustrations and discomfort can be equally challenging.
If a common problem such as knee pain, extra tight hamstrings, lower back pain, a kink in your neck, or a shooting pain from your shoulder into your elbow or wrist means that you can no longer enjoy the sports and activities you love, then it is wise to seek help before the issue worsens to the point that you may find you are completely immobile, or need surgery.
At Complete Core Pilates in Kettle Valley, Kyla Ramirez, Arlene Wilkins and I work with clients who face these struggles every day. To create a program which addresses your individual health issues, we start with an in depth health questionnaire. Once we understand where the problem comes from, (and it may not be as straightforward as it first appears), we form a strategy to decrease your discomfort, and increase your mobility.
Active bodies respond well to Pilates, but because each individual is different, a more targeted approach is taken to rehabilitate specific muscle functions. This is where we bring Neurokinetic Therapy into play.
Neurokinetic Therapy recognizes that the brain (primarily the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex), is responsible for the body’s motor control. Research shows that when muscles become injured or weak, the brain will find compensatory muscles to create movement. If this compensatory pattern is allowed to continue, then dysfunction and pain follows. The good news is that the brain can be retrained.
To re-program the brain, and train it to function correctly again, we first identify the muscle which is compensating for the weak, injured muscle. In layman’s terms we turn the compensatory muscle off. This means that the problem muscle can be turned back on, and strengthened with prescribed repetitive exercises. Over time the muscle returns to full strength; the pain and discomfort decrease, and you can return to the activities you love!
In some cases, we work closely with other health professionals, particularly physiotherapists, including Greg Redman at Wave Physiotherapy, Marcia Bullock and Joel Kryczka at Pinnacle Physiotherapy to ensure we get the speedy and lasting change for the client.
You don’t need to live with pain or discomfort – whatever your age. There are programs which can help, whether the discomfort is due to injury – or years of incorrect postural habits. Neurokinetic Therapy and Pilates can get you back to health and fitness!
For more information contact www.completecorepilates.com
Apr 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
Movement is fundamental to human life. In fact, movement is life. Contemporary physics tells us that the universe and everything in it is in constant motion. A living body is a moving body. The poet and philosopher Alan Watts eloquently states a similar view, "A living body is not a fixed thing but a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool." Or it should be anyway.
A TED talk from neuroscientist, Daniel Wolpert, a self-professed movement chauvinist, typifies this idea with his theory that says “the only reason we have a brain is to create movement.” He uses the computer chip then robotics to forward his argument. He uses the game of chess as an example. Both can play chess equally well, but both cannot move the pieces equally well. This then moves his investigation to robotics – a computer placed within a manipulative form - manipulation robotics. We have seen robotics move; they are not very smooth, or fast, or move at all when an external disruption impacts them. Nothing can compare to the human brain and its ability to move our bodies.
Therefore, if we want our brains to be healthy, we have to create movement. The whole brain, the fore-brain, the mid-brain and the hind-brain, are all involved in motor control. It is not a surprise that children move so much. Because their brains are growing, their bodies have to move. Scientists now know that to achieve the precision of the mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences during the early developing years is necessary (Greenough & Black, 1992; Shatz, 1992). Movement and sensory stimulation strengthens bonding synapses, which are the connections that are made between neurons. Connections that are not made by activity, or are weak, are “pruned away,” much like the pruning of dead or weak branches of a tree. If the neurons are used, they become integrated into the circuitry of the brain (Chugani, 1998). The less movement kids have, the less their brains have the chance to develop. We could move this argument to the other end of the age scale to say that the less an elderly person moves, the faster the brain deteriorates.
So let us not take movement for granted. Our brain health depends on movement. Instead, let us celebrate our ability to move. Move in as many different directions as you can. Take a dance class, move around a swimming pool, take a pottery class, play with your dog, try yoga, wrestle with your kids, just get up and move.
For comments, please visit www.sculptpilates.ca
Read more Moving in the Right Direction articles
- Accountability and exercise Feb 20
- Health & fitness tips for the holidays Dec 29
- Exercise for the brain Dec 2
- Improve immune & detox systems Nov 18
- Posture Nov 4
- Detoxify Oct 21
- Pilates vs. yoga Sep 23
- Naked yoga Sep 9
- Joseph Pilates Principles: Part 3 Aug 12
- Joseph Pilates' Contrology: Part 2 Jul 29
- Joseph Pilates memoirs: Part 1 Jul 15
- Mind, body, soul and spirit Jun 3
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