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Get your Foundations Right – on the Mat

Reformer, Trapeze Table, Wunda Chair, Ladder Barrel…. Space-age machines? The latest craze in interior design? Are you really ready for Clinical/Studio Pilates? These are some of the pieces of ‘Equipment’ you would generally find in a typical Pilates Studio and they all enhance and support clients in achieving their strengthening, rehabilitation or health and wellbeing goals.

But this is only one aspect of the world of Pilates.

Mat Pilates can be a very powerful way of getting your technique and foundations right. It is an ideal way to prepare for work on equipment in a studio (or attending group Reformer classes such as ‘KX Pilates’ or ‘Barre’ classes) , especially if you are a beginner, recovering from injury or starting a new exercise programme. Mat Pilates will provide you with a good understanding of technique, while at the same time give you a challenging workout and provide you with the right body awareness and foundations to progress to equipment.

I have often seen clients who have come to a Pilates studio for the first time and been given a programme that included almost exclusively working on equipment. This approach can sometimes be detrimental to a client who is a complete beginner or who is trying to regain strength after injury. This is due to the fact that often not enough time has been spent learning the correct techniques of ‘core activation’, breathing, neutral spine and postural awareness. Sometimes getting on Pilates equipment without learning and ’embodying’ these techniques can actually make them worse and clients are likely not to get the benefits of working on equipment as quickly as they could, if they had mastered their bodies through matwork.

I have also seen too many clients who have spent many years and money working on programmes that are almost fully centred around equipment and are still unaware of the basics of Pilates technique! They are surprised when I ask them to work in ‘neutral spine’ or work with the ‘Pilates breath’… naturally these clients end up feeling like they are not progressing and feel frustrated. What a waste!

Pilates work on the mat, with simple props such as the magic circle, a theraband, free weights, a foam roller, fitball and various size and weights of soft balls can provide an immense variety of exercises for all levels of Pilates expertise. Mat Pilates will give you a strong foundation for your Pilates journey as well provide you with great body awareness, strength and flexibility! Yes, a good mat pilates class can do all of this and more for you!

My first love is Mat Pilates and I have witnessed amazing transformation of clients just through doing Mat Pilates. Book a Mat Pilates session with me now and start to make friends with your new body!

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Professional credentials

The more I learn about the body and about how human beings move and exist in the world, the more I realise how utterly amazing our whole body system is. It’s this never ending curiosity about the body that has led me to many different inspiring teachers, sent me almost broke and well and truly confirms my ‘education junkie’ status! Over the years, I am proud to say I have learnt from some of the best in the industry.

Diploma in Pilates Movement Therapy
Australian Pilates Method Association
Level 2 Teacher, APMA
http://www.australianpilates.asn.au/

Certificate IV in Massage Therapy
Southern School of Natural Therapies
Member AAMT
http://www.ssnt.edu.au/

Meditation Teacher
Melbourne Meditation Centre
http://www.melbournemeditationcentre.com.au/

Some highlights of my ongoing professional development:

2015

  • Tensegrity in the Body, by Tom Myers,  Anatomy Trains
  • Slings & Fascia, by Sarah Grimshaw, APMA
  • Sitting is the New Smoking & Pilates as the Pill for Chronic Pain, by Brent Anderson, CEO of Polestar
  • Springboard Repertoire, Neil Nabbefeld, APMA

2014

  • Diploma in Pilates Movement Therapy (69802), APMA
  • Contemporary Pilates & Slings in Motion,  by Karin Sharp-Gurtner of Art in Motion, Perth
  • Chakra Foam Roller, by James d’Silva of The Garuda Studio, London

2013 

  • Body Maestro – Barre Attack Instructor Training, Body Maestro
  • Thoracic Repertoire and Cueing, APMA

2012

  • Pre /Post Natal Pilates, APMa
  • Most Successful Rehabilitation Concepts, InSync/Active Anatomy
  • Pilates Props – Foam Roller Repertoire Workshop (Art of Motion, Perth)
  • Meditation Teacher Training (Melbourne Meditation Centre, Northcote)
  • Shoulder Rehabilitation, APMA

2008 APMA – 2nd Biannual Conference

2008 – Balance & Control Pilates (Teacher Training Workshops)
Franklin Method Teacher Training

2006-2010: APMA Level 2 Pilates Teacher Training

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Pregnancy and Pilates

The science and accepted guidelines relating to exercise and pregnancy have changed over the years – especially since the days of my first fitness qualifications with VicFit in 2002!! As Pilates teachers we have to remain well informed and up to date on the latest developments.

Working across a number of Pilates studios, I have experienced varying degrees of understanding and acceptance of the pregnant client. Pregnant clients may be requested to provide a doctor’s clearance to exercise and/or encouraged to attend ‘pregnancy’ only classes. I have also seen pregnant clients turned away from studios.

Integrating a pregnant client into a mixed studio or mat setting may be challenging if the teacher doesn’t have the knowledge, the skills and the appropriate repertoire available to accommodate any special needs, particularly if the client if suffering from any complications such as SIJ instability, a history of miscarriages, lax joints or a separating linea alba. In many cases, a pregnant client may decide to start a brand new exercise program as soon as they become pregnant, without any history of Pilates or exercise at all.

Working with pregnant clients can be very rewarding and making time for my ongoing inspiration and development in this area is very important. In my most recent pregnancy related workshop  we were able to review some important reasons why Pilates is so good for the pre and post natal phases of a woman’s life.

In the pre-natal phase it is all about programming by trimester, focusing on the pelvic floor, the breathing, strengthening the whole body and working towards correcting the lordotic spine that often results as the pregnancy progresses. Knowing the ‘golden rules’ and the skills and the knowledge to be able to provide a challenging but safe Pilates workout can be rewarding for both the client and the instructor.  In this phase pelvic floor cueing turns out to be one of the most important elements, ensuring the client engages and releases correctly, strengthening the muscles both in the concentric phase, as well as the eccentric phase. In the post natal part of the workshop  our skills were refreshed in areas such as measuring the width and depth of the linea alba, if it was present and making decisions on programming accordingly.

In summary, women who keep up consistent, gentle to medium level exercise, before, during and after birth, have a better delivery and recovery. Pilates will help with rebuilding those pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy, condition muscles to protect from backache and strengthen the upper body for all the heavy lifting! The most important thing is to listen to the body and not rush it, particularly following birth, to force it to regain its pre-pregnancy shape – after all, it took nine months to get there! For more information on ‘Pelvic Floor Muscle Training’ go to www.bladderbowel.gov.au.

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Feel Inspired…

Inspirational quotes resonate with us and help us make sense of life, our thoughts and our state of mind. As we build our consciousness and our awareness, let’s be inspired by these…

‘Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel’… – Kevin Trudeau

‘It is the mind itself which builds the body’… – Joseph Pilates

‘Attention or conscious concentration on almost any part of the body produces some direct physical effect on it’… – Charles Darwin

‘The body is your friend; it is not your enemy. Listen to its language, and by and by, as you enter into the book of the body and you turn its pages, you will become aware of the whole mystery of life’… – Osho

‘All of man’s difficulties are caused by his inability to sit quietly in a room by himself’… Blaise Pascal, Les Pensees

‘Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else.
We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. If we can …do that, we create moments in which real healing is available. Whatever life we have experienced, if we can tell our story to someone who listens, we find it easier to deal with our circumstances.’
~Margaret J. Wheatley

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Quality rather than Quantity?

My clients often ask me, ‘so, how often should I be doing Pilates?’ Well, how long is a piece of string? It depends…

Many factors will influence how often one should do Pilates and what format, for that matter. For example, should you be doing group Mat classes, privates, clinical/studio, group reformer or Pilates bootcamp? The latter being the latest version of Pilates to hit town.

Some of us may do Pilates for rehabilitation, general overall fitness and strength or because we are addressing a special need such as to support a pregnancy.

My usual answer is a ‘compromise’ of say, two times a week to start with and then see how you go if you are doing mat classes, for example. However, if you are looking for a specific rehab program in a clinical setting then maybe more sessions per week is your current immediate need, if you are recovering from something such as a knee reconstruction or shoulder surgery.

It may be fun and interesting for you to vary it with one group Reformer and one mat class per week, if your studio offers this. My strong preference is for clients to work their way up to Reformer sessions by getting the fundamentals right in Mat classes or having a  few private sessions. Doing Group Reformer classes can be a fun way to challenge yourself and get a more intense workout, however can sometimes do more harm than good if you don’t have the technique right. This is especially relevant if you are recovering from injury or need to work around a specific condition such as scoliosis. Ideally, if you are attending a specialized studio, they will offer a couple of different levels of group Reformer for you to work yourself up to, if that is what you are after.

With some wise advice from your teacher, you should decide what is right for you, your body and your level of fitness. Learn to listen to your body and never do anything that feels unsafe.

Mr. Pilates had wise words for us with regards to the number of classes we should be attending… ‘In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, In 20 sessions you will see the difference and in 30 sessions you will have a whole new body’. Something to mull over…

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Welcome to Time & Space – where the goal is a more Conscious Mind-Body!

Living more consciously is key to all of our health and wellbeing, both as individuals and within our communities. The word conscious embodies much of what I believe, teach and share and I do this through my work as a Pilates Specialist, Meditation Teacher and Massage Therapist. The wholistic approach to mind-body connection and integration is enhanced by borrowing froma few different movement modalities, including somatic movement and an application of the knowledge of fascial meridiens.

Our bodies have an innate power to heal that is often left untapped, whether in our subconscious or ‘unlearnt’ due to social conditioning or our rushed every day lives and habits.

Let me take you on the journey that will access body intelligence and greater Mind-Body consciousness, to bring about positive change, healing, balance and a greater awareness of ourselves in the world.

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