Pilates Class and Private Training: Form Function Flow

Pilates is a total body workout which focuses on the core; back, abdomen and pelvic floor muscles.  These are the key muscle groups which protect our spine and provide basic strength and power for everything that our bodies do.  Pilates done regularly and properly can restore the natural curves of the spine, improve strength, flexibility and overall fitness.

Pilates covers a broad range of exercises.  It can be gentle and restorative level and advance to complex exercises for the training competitive athletes.  Pilate Body Mechanics classes and private training follow a form, function and flow progression or Pilates 1, 2, 3.   It’s suppose to be simple!  To see current class schedule and to register click registration or click contact to make appointment for private training.

THERAPEUTIC Pilates 0.5:  Level 1 Pilates or Form can be stepped back, making it suitable for those participating in a physical rehabilitation program or those with chronic injury.  Therapeutic Pilates eliminates excessive forward bending.  It works on establishing: a) neutral posture of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines, b) core stability and strength, c) hip flexor and hamstring flexibility along with d) micro-movements of the neck, shoulders, hips and pelvis to gently restore mobility.  Most often, private training is recommended prior to joining this class. 

PRIVATE training: integrates the Pilates method with Yin yoga and TRX suspension training techniques to develop a safe and effective program customized to your needs.   Private training again follows Form, Function and Flow formatting.  Classic Pilates mat training is intensified with small props; toning bands and balls, Pilates ring, stability ball and foam roller.


FORM Pilates 1:This class enables you to develop proper form upon which the rest of the Pilates work is developed. Form introduces the five basic principles of Pilates (see September postings) including breath, alignment, and anatomy or landmarks. It helps you build a foundation of exercises and understanding to enable you to move on to the rest of the Pilates repertoire. You will develop longer, leaner muscles, establish core strength and stability, and heightened mind body awareness. This mat-based class is relaxing, yet effective done at a gentle pace. A lot of information is covered to ensure that participants understand how it feels to do the exercises properly and get results. Often participants new to Pilates say “I felt like I really didn’t do anything” or “some of the exercises hurt my neck”. This class steps you through a safe progression to strengthen weak muscles, release tight and over-used ones and improve spinal mobility. It is recommended to start here if you are new to Pilates, new to fitness or have been referred by your health care provider.  

FUNCTION Pilates 2Often participants find a restriction in their body which can hold them back from advancing through the Pilate’s exercises. Building on techniques learned in Form, the Function class steps you through the process of how to achieve fluid mobility of the spine along with proper core strength and flexibility to progress into the intermediate and advanced exercises. Function class stretches and tones all muscles groups while working at a faster pace for a more intense full-body workout. This class will vary from session to session to include foam rollers, fitness circles, resistance rings, toning balls and bands.  

FLOW Pilates 3: Flow classes fuses STOTT PILATES® technique with other Pilates styles to include intermediate to advanced exercise sequences, flowing from one exercise to the next. Classes use STOTT PILATES® as a strong technical base but are unique and personalized depending on the group’s needs. It is best suited for those with a Pilates background who are looking for more of a challenge. Props are used throughout for added interest and intensity. It is 30- 45 minutes in length as it is conducted at a faster pace with less explanation. Flow is a well balanced, total body, strength and flexibility work-out which develops better speed and agility, with a higher cardiovascular benefit. 

To see current class schedule, to register or to make an appointment for private training go to www.pilatebodymechanics.com .


The Top Six Reasons to do Pilates Mat for 20 More Years

The Top Six Reasons to do Pilates Mat for 20 More Years

    by Kara Wily on Tue, Oct 02, 2012

Of late I have been trying to spread the word of how important I think daily workouts are. They do not always need to be hard strenuous workouts—although I like a few of those a week. But to get a good sweat on for thirty minutes or to do a nice long stretch for 20-40 minutes sometimes hits the nail right on the head. So of course I want to be a person who practices what I preach. And I think I finally even sold the idea to myself because the benefits just sound so great.

And oh yeah, this year I celebrate twenty years of doing Pilates. I started at 19 years old after a ski accident. I officially have been doing Pilates longer than I haven’t and that will never change. Here’s why:

It’s All In There-

The Pilates mat work can be every workout to every person. If you are just starting out you can do a beginner workout and gain great abdominal strength, tighten your bottom and shape your legs and get it done in less than thirty minutes per day. Runners can stretch their backs and legs and get some rotation in their hips. A Pilates or Yoga practitioner can challenge their technique by working deeper, longer and with a goal of flowing from one exercise to the next with complete control. You get a chance to front bend, side bend, split up side down and even add some clapping to your push ups if you need it!

It’s Personal-

I feel like drawing my stomach in-and-up to the extent that I can, is at times intimate and sometimes a little confrontational. Is that a strange remark? Do you shudder when people touch your stomach? What about squeeze you around the waist? Or grab it for a dance? There have been times when I did not like this feeling . There are still times of the month that, — no matter what I do, it is just harder to support my center. Sometimes I have little conversations with myself on Spine Stretch—“Why won’t you go in more?” “Are you holding out on me?” Sometimes I get replies, “Can you just be happy with that today?” Hum.

Tis a Gift to Be Simple-

At times when I am training people I will stop and demonstrate what I see them doing and explain that if I needed to put that sequence of movements into words, I would never be able to actually teach people what I want them to do. It’s complicated. It is far more challenging to be simple in one’s motions. It was one of the most eye-opening and refreshing things I learned when I went to New York to learn Pilates. For Single Leg Stretch, the directions were “pull your knee to your nose”. That’s it. I add “ then push your calf into your hands”. And only when my abdomen is pulling in and up from the very top to the very bottom, my neck is stretches, and my shoulders relax, can I do it—but all of that did not have to be announced. This clarity of purpose is a challenge in movement.

The Long Haul-

I teach a 91-year-old man who can do the Hundred (better than a lot of forty- somethings I teach). He does Rolling. He can do five Roll Ups and he calls me on it when we don’t do all five. And that is not all. Over the past two years, he has improved! He could not do Saw when we started and now he can. He could not push up from the floor for Swan when we started, and now he can. This is a great example of what Pilates can be at any age. Age and fitness cannot be excuses, they are just variables that Pilates can work with very well. And as Diahann Carroll says, The legs are the last to go!

A Moving Experience-

I like to be on the go. That means I am a constantly moving mom at home, doing laundry, dishes, helping with bath time, homework, going to the YMCA. It also means I love to travel and if you suggest we go somewhere– my only answer is, when? I still have aspirations. I suspect that I will be this way forever. The mat work moves with you too. If I don’t get a workout in during the day at the studio, I can slip it in at night or in the wee morning hours. On Saturdays I can do a great workout of a short run, some jump rope and a full mat. It leaves me dripping with sweat and feeling strong and free.

Survival of the Fittest-

Adaptability = Ability to Survive. This all relies on our ability to adapt to the set of circumstances that we are dealt each day. We use this ability physically in Pilates training. When my left shoulder is feeling weak, I need to stabilize my right side more. When my left knee is tight I need to stretch that heel more. I absolutely know that when I workout consistently I am more efficient with my body and my mind.

Pilate Body Mechanics offers a Pilates mat class at Tone Fitness and Temple Fitness in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  To reserve your spot complete the sign up sheet at one of these  locations or visit.  Private and duet classical Pilates training using equipment is offered at Openspace Pilates click the link to book your appointment.  For more information visit www.pilatebodymechanics.com.

Alan Herdman – Pilates elder

I was taught Pilates from an instructor who had instruction from Stott and Alan Herdman of London England.  Alan is a Pilates elder and is part of the Pilates mentor-ship program called “Passing the Torch” sponsored by Balanced Body.  They have brought together the “best of the best” Pilates instructors to help shape the generation of leaders in the Pilates community.   A program for experienced Pilates teachers who would like to deepen their work through in-depth study with a Master Teacher.  To share our Pilates knowledge, grow and develop our community.

Alan will also be presenting on Pilates anytime website in the spring of 2013.  If you haven’t visited this amazing Pilates instruction site – please do!  You can take a class with some of the best instructors from around the world –  see the various Pilates instruction styles covering mat, chair, reformer and cadillac.   If you question your Pilates class at the local recreation center check this site out and see how the pros do it!

Alan Herdman – Master Pilates Apprenticeship Program

An alkaline body is a healthy body.

Keeping your blood pH alkaline creates a healthy environment in which to live.

Do you find yourself feeling tired and getting sick way too much, and it’s confusing to you because you eat healthy foods?  The culprit could be that you are consuming too many acidic foods and beverages.  Many healthy foods can cause a pH imbalance.

Our bodies are meant to be alkaline environments, but we have changed their bodies from this natural state to one that is acidic. This is evidenced by the increase in illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more. Basically, if your body is acidic, it will attract sickness.

There are many reasons why we have increased our acidity:

  • We consume mostly acidic foods – such as meat, carbohydrates and alcohol
  • Our stress levels have skyrocketed
  • We are on toxic overload – much of what we eat has toxins like junk and fast foods
  • We overuse pharmaceutical drugs

The pH scale ranges from 1.0 to 14.0, with 7.0 being neutral, 1.0 to 6.0 being acidic and 7.1 to 14.0 being alkaline. The ideal pH for humans is 7.365.  When your body is too acidic, it will move into overdrive trying to do anything it can to raise its pH level, but in doing so, it puts unneeded stress your body. This means it will neglect other vital functions in order to try to balance the pH.

A pH Imbalance Can Cause:

  • Obesity and weight gain
  • Numerous diseases since an acidic environment is one that is prime for diseases to grow and survive
  • Osteoporosis because it takes calcium from your bones
  • High cholesterol because the body creates cholesterol to aid in neutralizing the acids
  • Anemia because it pulls iron from your red blood cells
  • Muscle spasms because it pulls potassium from your muscle tissues

You Body’s pH Can Affect Your Risk of Cancer

There are theories floating around that an alkaline diet has not only the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, but that it also has the ability to cure it!   Michael Murray, author of Acid Alkaline Diet Simplified says, “At a pH of 8.5, cancer cells can no longer survive. Therefore, a high alkaline diet can potentially decrease one’s risk of cancer or even help fight the disease.”

Clues That Your Body May Be Too Acidic:

  • You are frequently lethargic, anxious or irritable
  • You catch several colds a year
  • You are constantly congested
  • You have gained weight
  • You have chronic pain and/or inflammation
  • You have consistent joint pain
  • You suffer from heartburn
  • You have poor digestion
  • You have had bone loss
  • You experience muscle weakness
  • You have urinary tract issues
  • You get kidney stones
  • You have receding gums
  • You suffer from acne and other skin problems
  • You have chronic yeast infections
  • You have experienced premature aging

How Alkaline Are You?

Even if you have some of these symptoms, you may still want to know your exact pH level, and fortunately it is easy  to test your pH level in your own home. You can buy testing strips from many pharmacies and health food stores or even online. The ones that test with saliva are often considered easier to use than the ones that test with urine. Be sure to test your pH either one hour before eating or two hours after eating.

Other pH Balancing Methods

In addition to food, there are other ways to balance your body’s acidity and alkalinity. Here are some tips as outlined in Michael Murray’s book, Acid Alkaline Diet Simplified:

  • Choose water as your usual beverage – To put this in perspective, Michael points out that pure water is neutral, non-herbal tea is 600-800 times more acidic, coffee is 700-1000 times more acidic and soda is 50,000 times more acidic! Now maybe you can see how much our diet affects our pH. Hopefully you understand why it is important to avoid coffee, tea and soda.
  • Breathe properly – Most people breathe from their chest instead of from their lower lungs, which is the wrong way to breathe because it doesn’t provide the body with the full amount of oxygen it needs. The body has an easier time ridding itself of acids when it gets a lot of oxygen, so breathing properly is important.
  • Be careful what foods you combine – Acid reflux comes from combining the wrong foods. Proteins can be combined with vegetables and sparingly with fats. Carbs can be combined with vegetables and sparingly with fats. Proteins and carbs should not be combined and fruits should not be combined with anything (with the exception of lemons, limes, tomatoes and avocados).
  • Manage your stress – Feelings like fear, anxiety and anger cause your body to create extra acids and at the same time, they make your digestive system shut down. That means your body is creating more toxins at the same time that it has stopped eliminating toxins. This is a big reason why stress causes so many health issues.

Now that you understand the important points relating to alkalizing your body, it’ll be much easier to make good decisions when it comes to your health. Most of us don’t realize how much one simple aspect of our health, like our pH level, can drastically affect us inside and out. But now that you know, what are you going to do with that knowledge?

Adapted from Faith M. Davis of Carpe Vita Inc. Oct 18 2012.