Pilates Posture: Stand Tall Like a Goddess

10480178_777129688994478_4898179285751687696_nI’ve been 5’9″ for as long as I can remember. I was always in the back row of every class picture. My friends in the front row. My parents nagging me non-stop  to “throw” my shoulders back. Pull my shoulders back. Stand up! It wasn’t as if I was being rebellious. I just didn’t know how important it was to my health, future and life it would be to Stand Tall.

Truth is there is not one person who does not need to have proper posture.  But, it’s not that easy to have proper posture when you have spent so many years without it. Also, our lifestyles are not always conducive to proper posture. We sit too much, drive too much, have desks that are not properly measured to us. Our lifestyles constantly reinforce poor posture because we don’t enforce good posture.

I know poor posture is not intentional. In fact I can’t think of one person who is yearning to be the little old lady with the hump back.  But, guess what? Hump back didn’t just wake up like that. Nope, it happened ever so gradually over her entire lifetime.

As a Pilates instructor I work with clients of all ages, careers and fitness goals. I hear it all the time when I adjust their bodies into alignment how “strange” it feels or “crooked”. Because we don’t always realize how out of alignment we are, how slouched we are. Right now you’re probably reading this and thinking of someone you know who needs to work on their posture. Hold that thought, I am going to have you check your posture in a minute.While I am sure you know what “good” posture is let’s review.

Proper posture is having the ability to stand, lay or sit upright against the earth’s gravitational pull. Darn gravity! Training your body to stand, walk and lay without straining in one place more than the other is good Posture.Having good posture means using your muscles to support your body evenly. Yes, you have to use your muscles to hold your bones up.  Your posture is on point when your body is in a nice plumb line: Ears are over shoulders, shoulders are over hips, hips are over knees and even weight is spread throughout your feet.

What’s so important about Good Posture anyways?

Aside from looking correct, confident, strong and well, attractive. Posture is important to your body functioning at it’s best.  When you sit, stand or lay with correct posture you body is able to use it’s muscles in the correct alignment, decreasing wear and tear on the body. This posture also aides in reducing stress on your spine and overall spine health. The muscles in your body will not fatigue so quickly as they are able to work in the fashion they were designed. You’re less likely to overuse a particular muscle and therefore reduce the likelihood of pain and aches in the body especially the back. Oh and again, you just look better!

Still not convinced your should pay attention to your posture? No worries, let’s talk circulation. If you are slouching you’re affecting the blood flow to your spine and other major body parts. Your spinal column is the passage of information from your brain to your body. Picture a freeway, everyone is going in one direction. Their are on ramps and off ramps. What happens when a car stalls at ramp? It backs up traffic. Information isn’t getting to parts of the body the way it was designed. Overtime this can become chronic.  Poor posture will also lead to back pain and aches or even injuries, which then will lead to furthering the bad posture. Think about it. Last time you had an ache or pain did you stand taller or hunch more?

Now that I have your attention let’s check YOUR posture.

Stand against a wall. Your feet will be about shoulder distance apart and six inches from the wall. Your head, shoulders and hips will be against the wall. When you do this you neck and low back should have less that a two inch space from the wall. If it’s larger than you are looking at signs of poor posture. If you cannot get your head, shoulders and hips against the wall at the same time, that’s a sign of poor posture.

Check your body’s alignment regularly with this exercise.

The Wall 

Set up just as you did to check your posture. Double check that your head, shoulders, hips are against the wall to start. Then with soft knees curl your head off the wall, then one vertebra at a time articulate your spine off the wall until your hands are in front of your knees. Missed a vertebra? Stop! Start over. If you miss it again then that’s as far as you go. Continue to roll up and down focusing on one bone at a time. Using your core will help you get through the whole spine one day. Do this a few times and then roll all the way up and hold.

Again, double check your landmarks. Head, shoulders, hips against the wall. Lift your arms to shoulder height. Keeping your arms parallel to the floor and each other plug your shoulders on the wall. Reach your arms forward, the shoulders will leave the wall then plug them back on the wall. Do this again a few times. Reaching forward, plugging back in. You’ll feel the muscles of your upper back warm up and pull your collar bones wide to allow for your shoulders to touch the wall. These muscles are necessary for keeping your shoulders “on” your back and not rounding forward.

The last time you plug your shoulders on the wall hold. Draw small circles with your arms. Keep the circles controlled, only as big as your can maintain your shoulders on the wall. Do 5-10 then reverse.

photo-13-150x150Lesley Logan author of Profitable Pilates and Los Angeles Magazines Best of LA Pilates instructor has been teaching in LA since 2008.  She currently  teaches at Westwood Pilates and Equinox West Hollywood  where she also runs the Pilates studio.  As a goals coach for Fitness Instructors around the world she enjoys seeing her clients hit their personal and career goals!

Website: www.lesleyloganpilates.com

Facebook: Lesley Logan Pilates 

So you want to be a Pilates Instructor? Core Moves to Reach Your Goal

306678_415889805116183_397922527_nIt seems like just yesterday I dropped into a Pilates Studio Mat Class and experienced my first 100.  If you have done Pilates before you  know that feeling. The deep connection that seems to draw inward and yet move outward.  I was hooked! I  changed my work schedule around to go to as many classes as I could.  Pilates became a large part of my fitness life.

Like many Instructors out there becoming a Pilates teacher was a career change.  Pilates Instructor wasn’t on my “When I grow up” list. Luckily my previous jobs and life experiences prepared me for success.  In fact I believe most of you have many of the traits needed to  teach. You just need the right Pilates training and a few of my favorite tips.

So, you want to be a Pilates Instructor?

What’s your Why? Why do you want to teach Pilates? This will help you when the learning gets tough, tiring and daunting. Like all new things there is a lot to learn. There will be days when you just feel like you need a break.  Knowing WHY you wanted to start teaching in the first place will keep you on track to your goals and dreams.

 Getting to the Core of Success:

1)Picking a program! This is the biggest leap.  Go to Pilates Method Alliance website. They have a list of approved programs in the world.  No two programs are alike but this list will help guide you I’m the right direction.

2) The Price is not always right…When researching programs make sure you are finding out all that is covered. Programs come in a WIDE range of prices and in the education world you really can end up getting what you pay for. Often times lower cost programs mean less apprentice hours, one on one attention, less equipment learning or less levels of training. Make sure the program you pick gives you training on equipment but also anatomy, business and Pilates history.

3) Who trained them? Pilates is young enough you can trace the lineage back to Joe Pilates himself. Can the person training you do that?

4) Who do you want to teach?  If you want to teach in a physical therapy office pick a program that can gear you up for that. Also, you want the studio to have clients to observe that are most like whom you would want to teach. If your goal was to teach pre natal pilates then you probably wouldn’t want to pick a program that was mostly elderly clients.

5) Policy’s make them and stick to them. It’s hard to charge a client a late cancel but your time is just as valuable as theirs. Your teaching is your business and you need to run your schedule that way by making and following policies.

6) Days off. Everyone has to have a day off and so do you. Make one and keep it sacred. Being unavailable can make clients want you even more!

7) Continue taking Pilates sessions! Having Pilates in your body is just as important as your clients. Find a mentor, schedule a standing session and make sure it happens regularly… No excuses

8) Take other fitness classes to see what it is your clients and future clients are in to. You can get cues that you can use to help make an exercise make sense. Taking other classes is great for networking with other fitness professionals that can refer their clients to Pilates sessions with you.

9) Exposure! You need to be Google-able. A website, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Yelp etc is necessary for allowing potential clients to find you! Then enjoy your clients becoming your walking billboard. Help them hit their fitness goals faster and they’ll tell all their friends about you!

10) Do what you LOVE and LOVE what you do! Seriously, there is no such thing as burnout if you keep yourself inspired by learning, taking, teaching and resting!

Training takes 6 months to a year and then you’re on your way to teaching your Why! It’s an  incredible journey to a career that constantly inspires you, challenges you and teaches you. Working with people and helping them become their best selves is incredible. So, you  want to  be a Pilates Instructor? Amazing, Go and Do!

photo (13)Lesley Logan author of Profitable Pilates and Los Angeles Magazines Best of LA Pilates instructor has been teaching in LA since 2008.  She currently  teaches at Westwood Pilates and Equinox West Hollywood  where she also runs the Pilates studio.  As a goals coach for Fitness Instructors around the world she enjoys seeing her clients hit their personal and career goals!

Website: www.lesleyloganpilates.com

Facebook: Lesley Logan Pilates 

Top 5 Sacred Stones for a Mermaid

For thousands of years gemstones have been used in physical, emotional and spiritual healing. We chatted with Tamara Lee, owner of Mermaid Sun Yoga + Pilates in beautiful British Columbia about what gemstones are near and dear to her heart and why… 

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.52.52 PMAmazonite: Amazonite’s healing energy is as powerful as the river for which it is named. It is known as the stone of courage and truth. This captivating turquoise green stone soothes the spirit and calms the soul.  Amazonite promotes kindness, alleviates fear and anxiety, and provides balance and harmony. It also soothes the chakras and is particularly rejuvenating to the heart and throat chakras.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.52.18 PMSmokey Quartz: Primarily associated with the root chakra this stone is known for its protective and grounding qualities. Smokey quartz is considered a stone of serenity because of its positivity and ability to overcome negative emotions. It aids in the process of letting go and brings wisdom and luck to everyday life!

Black Onyx: Black Onyx provides a strong stable energy representing self-control, intuition, and protection. This glamorous gemstone absorbs whatever energy you need from the Universe. Black Onyx is associated with the planet Saturn, the element fire, and the Leo zodiac sign. Determination, focus, and direction are traits that can be enhanced with this precious gem.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.56.33 PM White Jade: Reach your highest potential with the purest jade stone. White Jade brings focus and concentration back to what truly matters. This stone assists in decision making by filtering distractions to achieve optimum results. White Jade guides energy to the most advantageous outlet. What a gem!

Moonstone: The moonstone is characterized by its enchanting shimmer of light.Its connection to the power of the moon surrounds it with magic and mystique. This gemstone is an amulet of protection for travelers, a gift of love, a channel for prophecy, and a path to inner wisdom. Being a perfect expression of yin energy, the soothing and mysterious energy of the moon, moonstone is the bringer of calm, peace and balance. This stone enhances intuition, promotes inspiration and benefits meditation. The peace and calm that moonstone generates has an other-worldly quality to it; it is infused with an enchanting, soft glow of optimism and creative energy.

mm2.jpgTamara Lee is a yogi, writer & fan of leggings dedicated to inspiring an active lifestyle. Her studio, Mermaid Sun Yoga and Pilates, is based off the beautiful coast of British Columbia and offers modern fitness and flexibility training with a playful lighthearted charm. 

Facebook: Mermaid Sun Yoga & Pilates 

 

The Power of Pilates, Barre and Fitness: My Top 8 Reasons to get sweating and get smiling.

0479b183bcd612b2e8356c8ca1526764Okay sure, we would all love to hear the secret workouts that have shaped, sculpted and stopped the clocks of aging for celebrity bodies like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and the Kardashians’, and I hate to break it to you, but there is not a “secret workout” that will solve all problems. There are, however, hints and tips available to help enhance your workouts so you can get the most out of them…consistency, variety and challenging yourself are KEY!

IMG_4572As a fitness fanatic, I LOVE changing up my workouts; whether it’s getting my om on in a hot yoga class, enjoying the fresh air with my pup on a light jog, building my booty-strength deadlifting, or participating in one of the Pilates classes at my studio, I love the way working out makes me feel. Most importantly, I have FUN doing it! At my new studio, Breath of Fresh Air Training Facility, I have been able to offer all of my favourite types of workouts: athletic conditioning, yoga, Barre, Learn to Run and my absolute favourite Reformer Pilates. Pilates is SUCH a great way to gain lean, toned muscles, get stronger and improve flexibility at the same time.

 

Check out my Top 8 Reasons why I choose to get sweaty and have fun!

1. Progress – I workout to get stronger, faster, hold longer, improve form, etc. There are always ways to intensify your workout, even intensifying the same exercise (especially in Pilates, as many of my clients will know).

2. Be Present – I love being able to turn my mind off, to focus on just one thing. When I am deadlifting a new person best, holding snake on the reformer or pushing through to finish off that 10km, I can’t think about the million other things, you have to be present and stay with the moment.

3. Muscle – We all enjoy the aesthetic benefits that come with working out and while I love what squats have done for my glutes, I also love the FUNCTIONAL aspect even more. Strong glutes help to rehabilitate and prevent injury for your low back, hips, knees, ankles – you name it; they are important! I love educating my clients on why it is important to work the muscles that we often target in Pilates: glutes, abdominals, deltoids (shoulders), etc. Sure, they look GREAT in tank tops, but more importantly they keep your body safe from injury.

4. Health – After two kidney transplants and back surgery to correct a scoliosis curve, I am extremely health conscious and do everything I can to ensure my body is getting the proper nourishment, training and care it needs to function optimally.

5. The Cycle of Wellness – Everything is connected. When you have a great workout, you don’t want to go home and grab a bag of chips for snack, you WANT to fuel your body properly. In addition wanting to eat better, you typically drink more water (especially when you have your instructor telling you to DRINK UP), you sleep better, you are happier and less stressed, and as a result, you want to do it AGAIN! Consistency is key to getting the most out of your lifestyle and the more you do things, the more they become an enjoyable habit!

6. Talk the Talk & Walk the Walk. – As a fitness instructor my clients inspire me every day with their progress and hard work and I enjoy attempting to return the favour by continuing to keep myself in shape and challenge myself to do new things. Otherwise, who am I to advise my clients on how to live a healthier, fit lifestyle?

7. Socialization – I love the atmosphere of group classes in my studio, they are fun, friendly and totally kick ass. I love when I have the opportunity to hop into a class and get my workout in at the same time as passing around a couple of jokes here and there. It’s nice to feel like you are a PART of something and that is exactly the type of clients I am lucky enough to attract at the studio.

8. Chocolate, Sunshine, Tea, Warm Socks & Mala Love – Things that just make everything better! It warms my heart to have clients come a few minutes early to class and enjoy a cup of tea to help them unwind before their session or to meet up early and chat up with a friend they are meeting for the class. I love the simple, little things that make life so special!

IMG_4455Stay Connected:

Website: www.breathoffreshairtrainigfacility.com
Email: morser@outlook.com
Facebook: Breathe of Fresh Air Training Facility
Instagram: http://instagram.com/megan_orser