Q) What is the difference between Pilates and Yoga?
A) There's definitely a mind-body connection and a very similar fluidity in both. But one difference is that there's a whole line of equipment in Pilates that doesn't exist in yoga, so it provides a different angle: In Pilates you're doing exercises with the assistance and resistance of springs and pulleys. The springs may assist you or they may make an exercise more difficult, depending on the exercise. Another difference is that while Yoga requires moving from one static posture to the next, Pilates flows through a series of movements that are more dynamic, systematic and anatomically-based. The goal with STOTT PILATES exercise is to strengthen the postural muscles while achieving optimal functional fitness. Pilates and yoga both increase flexibility of the muscles, and mobility of the joints...each method takes a different approach to the body to achieve those physical changes. We believe that any movement and form of exercise is fantastic and diversity is best for the body and mind!
Q) Pilates machines look like torture devices! Why would I want to get on that?
A) Some Pilates equipment can look like some kind of medieval torture device, which is ironic because it makes you feel so good. The most commonly used pieces are the reformer, the cadillac and the stability chair, but there are several other small pieces of equipment, too. The traditional mat workout can be intensified with equipment such as the fitness circle, flex-band, toning balls, arc barrel and more!
The reformer is a rectangular frame with four legs and a cushioned mat, or carriage, that slides back and forth on wheels with the resistance of springs and pulleys.
The cadillac is a trapeze-like table that's 26 inches off the floor and has a canopy from which a trapeze, springs and pulleys hang. Because it's elevated, it's nice for older people if they have trouble getting down on the floor. The stability chair has two pedals that are on spring tension and challenges the body by providing instability as the body applies force to the pedals. A unique workout!
Q) I've heard there are 'principles' for the Pilates method... can you explain these
A) Joseph Pilates had 6 ‘principles’ that are to be considered when doing each exercise. At our studio we teach the Stott Pilate's method which is a contemporary approach to the works of Joseph Pilate's Below we’ll list the original 6 principles, as well as the Stott Pilates basic bio mechanical principles. Joseph’s.
Concentration. This is the most important principle in Pilates You must be very mentally present as you do the exercises, aware of every aspect of your body's movement, alignment, sensations, muscle flexes ....
Control. Every movement is to be done with control, so you aren't just throwing your body around.
Centering. so that you are evenly using your body. Think of a plumb line down the middle of the body working both sides evenly.
Fluidity. A smooth transition from one exercise to the next important because once you've learned the routine, it should look something like a dance, where every movement flows into the next.
Precision. You try to make each movement as precise as possible; alignment, placement of your limbs, position of each part of your body is paramount and a central aspect of how and why Joseph Pilate's designed this system of exercise.
Breath. How you breathe is very important in Pilates exercises. You don't want to hold your breath at all. Deep, steady breaths will help you maintain concentration and precision, too.
STOTT PILATES Breathing.
Proper breathing ensures that enough oxygen is flowing to the muscles you are using, and helps prevent unnecessary tension. A relaxed and full breath pattern encourages focus and concentration
The STOTT PILATES breath pattern involves an expansion of the rib cage out to the sides and back without allowing the shoulders to lift. It is also important to breathe into the lower part of your lungs, because there is more efficient gas exchange.
The breath pattern used in STOTT PILATES will help engage your deep abdominal muscles and stabilize your torso.
STOTT PILATES emphasizes stabilization of the pelvis and lumbar spine (lower back) in either a neutral or an imprinted position:
1, Neutral Placement:
Maintains the normal curve of the lower back. When lying on your back, front of hip bones and pubic bone should lie parallel to the mat, and your lower back should not be pressed into the mat. This is the most stable and optimal shock-absorbing position for your back.
Make sure you're not arching your back to achieve neutral alignment. While breathing and engaging abdominal's in this position no strain should be felt through the lower back. If you feel muscle tension, shift the pelvis to a more comfortable position.
When to use: This is the ideal position when one or two feet are secure on the mat or other equipment.
2. Imprinted Position:
The lower back is moving toward the mat. Avoid pressing your lower back all the way into the mat or tilting the pelvis too far by overusing the abs or glutes. Note that the amount of contact between the lower back and the mat is different for everyone.
When to use: An imprinted position should be used to ensure stability of the lower back when both feet are lifted off the mat.
3. Rib Cage Placement.
The rib cage position affects the alignment of the thoracic (upper) spine. When lying on your back in a neutral position, maintain the sense of the weight of the ribs resting gently on the mat (i.e. maintain the normal curve of the upper back). Don't lift off or push your rib cage into the mat. Pay particular attention to the placement of your rib cage when inhaling or while performing arm movements overhead.
Using the breath pattern described below and engaging your abs will help stabilize the rib cage. Emphasize breathing into the back and sides of your rib cage during inhalation. When you exhale, allow you ribs to soften, with the two sides gently closing in toward each other.
4. Shoulder Stability.
Stabilizing your scapulae [shoulder blades] on the back of the rib cage is as important as contracting your abs during the initiation of every exercise. This will help you avoid strain through your neck and upper shoulders.
To achieve proper placement, a sense of width should be maintained across the front and back of the shoulders. Make sure you neither allow your shoulders to round forward too much nor squeeze together toward the spine. Shoulders should not be lifted too far,or over-depressed. Placement should be somewhere between these two positions.
The shoulder blades have a large range of motion, so remember to maintain stability (but not rigidity) at all times:
when the spine is neutral and the arms are resting;
when the spine is moving, and;
when the arms are moving in any direction
5. Head & Neck Placement.
Your cervical spine [neck] should hold its natural curve with your head balanced directly above your shoulders when sitting, lying and standing. In some cases, a small pillow should be used when lying on your back to put your head and neck in a comfortable position.
Whenever you lift your head and upper body from the mat, lengthen the back of your neck and nod your head forward without jamming the chin into the chest. There should be enough room to fit your fist between your chin and chest. Once your head is in proper position and your shoulder blades are stabilized (Principle 4), the upper torso can be lifted by contracting the abs and sliding your rib cage toward your pelvis.
When lying on your stomach and lifting the upper torso, pay particular attention to maintaining an even line from the upper back to the neck. Avoid lifting the head too high and crunching up the back of the neck.
Q) Are classes only once per week?
A) Yes, you are welcome to register for one or more classes per week. Each class is an individual registration.
Q) I'm a beginner. How do I get the most out of Pilates and when will I notice a difference in my body?
Be consistent, especially in the beginning. Don't just try it once. Give it a few shots and do it in succession. Make it your reward, your break from a hectic day. Also, listen to your body and really concentrate — it makes for a better workout.
Someone once told me that you need to "arrive" for Pilates, meaning you have to be there mentally as well as physically. To get the most out of Pilates, you have to be very present. Your body and mind will thank you.
Q) Can I do Pilates while pregnant?
A) Speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise program when you are pregnant. If you have previous Pilate's experience and it is appropriate for you to continue you will need to make modifications to your practice as you progress and there may come a time where group classes are longer appropriate for the individual. We recommend taking private sessions to create a program of safe and appropriate exercises and to have open communication with your instructor as your pregnancy progresses. We have had many Mama’s continue their pilate's workouts through their pregnancies and feel great before and after giving birth. It is really important to listen to your body and be good to it! Please read the following info taken from the Stott Pilate's website... Note: The following information should NOT be substituted for medical advice from your doctor. Please consult your physician for information on what will be appropriate for you during your pregnancy.
The available information on pregnancy and exercise can be very confusing – even conflicting. STOTT PILATES follows the current standards practiced in the fitness industry regarding safety during pregnancy and the guidelines set out by professional organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. We cover this topic in depth in our Injuries & Special Populations course as well as workshops. What follows is some general information that should not be substituted for the advice of a physician and the guidance of a qualified fitness professional.
No two women's bodies are the same, and this is especially true during pregnancy. There are workouts that are quite appropriate for some people during pregnancy and not for others. During a normal, healthy pregnancy, moderate exercise is safe for the fetus. Exercise is also said to prevent varicose veins, hemorrhoids and low back pain and helps to boost self esteem, maintain fitness levels and prepare the body for the physical demands of motherhood.
A woman's body goes through many changes during pregnancy and exercise must be adapted and modified as the pregnancy progresses. The beauty of Pilate's is that it can be individualized for anyone's ability. Workouts and schedules during the first trimester may have to be adjusted around fatigue levels. Over the course of the pregnancy the demand on the abdominal muscles should be decreased. During the second trimester, these muscles become stretched out, and some women experience diastases recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). With reduced abdominal support, there is a greater risk of injuring the lower back. Further, due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, the ligaments surrounding the joints become lax, leaving them loose and vulnerable. For this reason, you should be careful not to overstretch. It is important to continue strengthening and re balancing the muscles around the joints – supporting the body as it goes through postural changes related to pregnancy.
Today many guidelines for pregnancy indicate that after approximately the 16th week of gestation, the supine position (lying on your back) should be avoided as the maternal blood supply and subsequently the fetal blood supply may be affected. In the second trimester, positioning must be adjusted and light equipment (particularly the Spine Supporter) combined with the Matwork exercises becomes very useful. As well, the possibilities offered by the Reformer, Cadillac and Stability Chair are helpful. Of course, drinking lots of water, avoiding overexertion and overheating are always important.
Q) I have a bad back (or joint replacements) ... can I do Pilates?
A) Although you should always consult your physician before starting any fitness routine, a Pilates workout is gentle and controlled with no sudden jarring actions. It is therefore more important that you work with a qualified instructor to ensure that you are doing the movements correctly. An experienced instructor will be able to modify the exercises to accommodate your limitations, continually challenge you within your range and monitor your improvements. If you commit yourself to a consistent workout schedule you will certainly feel results.
Q) Should Pilates replace my other workouts? How is it different from resistance training with weights?
A)STOTT PILATES exercise is a musculo-skeletal conditioning program. It’s ideal in combination with some kind of cardiovascular exercise (walking, running, aerobics, aqua fitness etc.), and a great complement to your weight training program. Pilates is different from other forms of resistance training for the following reasons:
Pilates is three-dimensional (exercises can be performed using all movement planes)
spring resistance more closely resembles muscular contraction
emphasis on concentric/eccentric contraction for injury prevention
STOTT PILATES exercise is customizable for your special needs
in Pilate's exercise, emphasis is placed on re-balancing muscles around the joints
Pilates corrects over-training and muscle imbalance that leads to injury
Pilates emphasizes balancing strength with flexibility (for injury prevention and more efficient movement)
STOTT PILATES exercise leads to an improvement in posture and body awareness
Weight training and STOTT PILATES can be combined in your fitness program and are a great compliment to each other.
Q) What do I wear to Pilates?
A) We ask that you keep scents and jewelry to a minimum. You don’t want to risk getting any jewelry caught in the equipment or digging into your skin during exercises. It’s a courtesy to other students to refrain from wearing strong scents. Baggy clothes are a problem in Pilates...an instructor must be able to see your alignment and muscle use. Comfortable exercise clothing that let you have a full range of motion is best. It is typical to see different styles of exercise pants in a Pilates class and a tank top that allows your instructor to see your pelvis, rib cage, and shoulder blade positions. Whether or not to wear shorts to a Pilates class is really your own call. If you feel comfortable revealing those legs - then let them shine! Just be cautious when choosing your length of shorts that you won’t be enlisting yourself in a tug-of-war game with your shorts and be more distracted with keeping your butt cheeks covered than focusing on the exercise.
Q) Can Pilates help me lose weight?
A) Pilates can be a positive addition to your overall weight loss program. The most successful and healthy way to achieve weight loss is an exercise plan that includes an aerobic component coupled with a strength training component, such as STOTT PILATES exercise, and following a balanced diet. Combining Pilates with aerobic exercise also offers additional benefits: greater mind-body connection, improved posture, flexibility and an elevated mood!
Q) Do Athletes do Pilates?
A) Yes, they do. Athletic organizations are also incorporating Pilates training into the training regimens for their athletes because of the unique benefits that Pilates training includes. Strengthening the core of the body helps athletes better their game of choice as well as help them to lessen their risk of injury by teaching them how to stabilize around all of the joints in the body. Many athletes also use Pilates as part of their rehabilitation process. Just ask Tiger Woods or Kobe Bryant! They both incorporate Pilates into their training. If you would like to see how Pilates training can help you and your game or performance please contact us to set up a training session. We also do small group sport specific training classes. You get together a group of fellow athletes (any sport or recreation) and we can program for you.
Q) I've heard that Pilates is slow and boring... is that true?
A) Our answer to that is that the movements are controlled and the mind must be involved! Pilates isn’t for everyone, but neither is sushi. You never know until you try! And guess what...we like to laugh and have fun too!