Pilates and Sea Kayak Adventures

  Pilates and Sea Kayak Adventures. What fun!  I recently had the opportunity to participate as a instructor on a 10 day whale watching, kayaking and camping combination trip in Baja Sur, Mexico for adventure tour company, Sea Kayak Adventures. To experience one of the most amazing whale encounters in the world, kayak the beautiful Sea of Cortez, camp the stunning beaches of Espirtu Santos Island and teach Pilates and yoga to people from all parts of the world, lets just say, what a great way to start out a new year, fulfilling a dream! Two classes per day were taught on the beaches, watching either the amazing sunrises or sunsets, not a bad view! The guests enjoyed the sessions, as each time of day brought about specific needs- we were either stiff from sleeping on the ground or sore from kayaking or hiking, backs were sore, hamstrings tight, shoulders achy. The option of a guided workout was well received! Sometimes I thought, maybe the guests would want a break and relax, but they looked forward to each our sessions. The range of experience varied, from seasoned yogis to the occasional mat pilates student to the “maybe I can touch my knees if I am lucky” guy, from 25 to 75 years old, shoulder issues, lower back discomfort to neck issues.  Everyone participated.   As the days went by and we hiked, kayaked, swam, almost everyone commented about how they thought about their activities differently, drawing their abs in more, thinking about using their core while sitting, how balance plays a part in hiking up big rocks and the twisting involved in kayaking. Each exercise resonated with some type of movement and what was needed to accomplish it  Each guest spoke to me privately about how much they needed that work, the core strength, the stretch, the breathing, the concentration on muscles and moving.   Besides the take away of a trip of a lifetime in the natural beauty of Baja Sur, Mexico, everyone took a little more mind/body awareness of movement and the important role of maintaing a healthy, happy body.  As I instructor, this was music to my ears and the opportunity, a incredible success!...

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Savor the Senses On the Mat & Around the World

Besides Pilates, travel and adventure has always been a important part of life.  Starting with the summer vacations to the beach as a kid and the family subscription to National Geographic, by my teens I was venturing to unknown locations, each feeding my interest for more. Some how, some way, I managed to maneuver myself all over the world, all I needed was a plane ticket!  My dad once told me, when I was trying to make a decision after college of where I should move, he said, ” all you need to do is put the key in the ignition and go! “. Those words, I hang on to and will never forget. My dad has always been a advocate of my adventure, enjoying every story and photo.  When I went to India, the agreement was to call home every week. He had a map up on the wall and would pin where I was each time I called, he followed the trip as if he was on the journey. Naturally he and my mom, have been a huge support in my journey transitioning into a Pilates instructor, enjoying another adventure with me. When I decided to embark on a new career as a instructor, a flexible schedule and incorporating travel into the new life was a dream idea. Last year, this idea started to blossom as I had the opportunity to participate in two trips.  The owner of my studio put together a sea kayaking, camping and whale watching trip to Baja, Mexico, which included Pilates. After a busy year completing my BASI certification program, this trip was my reward and indication that I could get back to the things I enjoy. The other a yoga retreat outside of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, lead by a good friend, who offered to let me lead Pilates classes, showed me I could combine teaching with travel.  Both had a huge impact on creating a vision for combining the things I love, Pilates, travel and adventure. I got busy and moved on some opportunities that presented themselves, first locking in a position to instruct Pilates and yoga with the company, Sea Kayak Adventures in Baja, Mexico. In November of last year, my yoga friend and...

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Why Do We Need a Strong Core?

“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.”   The term, core strength, has become quite common in recommendations from health and fitness professionals. What does this mean? I think most of us understand the word core- core of a apple, core of the matter, we understand it is the center. But what exactly is the center of our body and why does it matter? Why do we need a strong core? The core relates to the musculature of the trunk. The core muscles of the body are the deep muscles of the back, abdomen, and pelvic floor. These are the muscles we rely on for support of the back to keep it healthy, to develop good posture and create efficient, balanced movement patterns. When we are equipped with a strong core, the rest of muscles and joints are free to do their jobs and not take the extra load which could leave the body vulnerable to injury. See how a strong core is needed for most everything we do: Every Day Acts: bending down, picking things up, walking up stairs, turning and twisting. All of these rely on a strong core and may not be noticeable until they become difficult or painful On the Job Tasks: Jobs that rely on physical movements, lifting, turning, standing- but also sitting. Sitting at a desk all day uses your core to maintain good posture and alignment. Computer work can create bad posture habits and creating a sore and stiff back. A Healthy Back: Low back pain affects four out of five Americans at some point in their lives. It may be prevented by exercises that promote well balanced, resilient core muscles. Sports and other Pleasurable activities: Golfing, tennis or other racquet sports, biking, running, swimming, baseball, volleyball, kayaking, rowing and many other athletic activities are powered by a strong core. Housework, Fix-it work, and Gardening: Bending, lifting twisting, carrying, hammering, reaching overhead- simple chores like vacuuming, mopping and dusting are all acts that spring from or rely on the core. Balance and Stability: Your core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction, even on unstable surfaces or even standing still....

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The Benefits of Pilates

We hear and see celebrities, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, claim that the benefits of Pilates is a large part of their fitness routine, giving them long lean toned muscles, balance, a strong core and amazing posture. Many professional athletes, basketball, football to golf,tennis, running and swimming, claim the benefits of Pilates has created more power, a stronger core, increased mental awareness and improved performance. What is Pilates? A system of mind and body exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness. Exercises are performed either on a apparatus or on the mat. The system allows for different exercises to be modified in a range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercise. What are the benefits? Enhanced body awareness and mental focus Increase flexibility Develop muscle strength Stronger core Improved balance, coordination and alignment Development of good postural habits Relaxation and stress relief Healthy breathing habits and increase lung capacity “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” – Joseph...

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Pilates Could Do More than Strengthen Tone and Stretch

Your Pilates practice could do a little more than just strengthen, tone and stretch your body. The timing of the new year and launching my web site is a great way to start off 2014. The fact I am writing this post signifies the progress made in 2013 and the impact Pilates has had on my life. I still sit back, take deep breaths and cannot believe that this is my ‘job’. The motivation and inspiration I receive from my clients, the changes in their bodies and the improvement in their over all well being is amazing. The impact Pilates has had on my physical and emotional health as well as the relationships developed, have created a dream lifestyle. I am in madly in love with my role as a instructor. I love what I do. In this blog, I want to share my Pilates lifestyle- great food, traveling, nature, creativity and yes, all things Pilates. New years resolutions. Is Pilates on the list of to do’s, along with other goals and resolutions? Besides exterior benefits of the work, there is much much more to the method. Much more that can go beyond your studio session and into your life. Pilates is based on several principles. Key principles: Awareness Balance Control Efficiency Precision Breath Concentration Center Flow Harmony These principles offer a good road map through the process, leading one through the internal process of transformation that manifests on every level- thus leading us to well being. First, awareness. Within a session you use awareness of your muscles and your body as you move through exercises, we use this same idea throughout our day and life. With awareness, change can start, ideas developed. Balance- balance between the left and the right, top and the bottom, balance between work, sleep, family, friends, spending. Control, we all need a little sometimes, whether it is in our habits, our attitude, sometimes we need a little control to set us up for good things ahead. Efficiency and precision, easy to get sidetracked- or easy for me. Learning to move in Pilates with these two ideas had helped me think a little more efficient. As a self confessed, “drag it out to the last minute” kind of gal, this...

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