Finding balance between the upper and lower body.

One of the hardest things to achieve in Pilates and most body work, is balance between the upper and lower body or the torso and the legs. Tight hamstrings and hips can pull the pelvis and spine out of alignment making symptoms worse.  To achieve free movement of the leg while the torso remains in neutral spine, without undue stress and tension try the stretches below, photos courtesy of the Yoga Journal, March 2012.  These stretches can be challenging, thus why working with an instructor is important.  A good instructor can help you re-adjust to maximize results.  Relax and breath your way through these stretches – they will change the relationship you have with your body. 

Hamstring stretch: with a resistance band or yoga strap.  Relax the front of the thigh especially right where the thigh begins at the front of the hip. Exhale press through your foot like it is flat on the ceiling. Inhale bend knee and come out of the stretch slightly, exhale repeat. Keep lengthening sitz bones away from head and maintain neutral lumbar spine. Additions: move straight leg across mid-line of body, move outside mid-line of body staying within a range comfortable for you. Eventually complete straight leg circles, with the assistance of the band then without – keep hips stable!


Deep Rotator Stretch: There are 6 deep hip rotators most of them rotate the leg externally. Place both feet on the wall with legs at 90 degrees, cross right ankle over left. If you are unable to do this without twisting or hiking the hips (ie you cannot keep your hips level) push away from the wall until you can. Exhale push bent knee and lengthen sitz bones away from head, maintain neutral lumbar spine, inhale release stretch, exhale repeat for several breaths. If tight try this for 5-10 minutes on each side.


Hip Flexor Stretch: Freeing up the front of the hip to come.


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 .

Constructive use of the Body

Destructive use of the self versus constructive use of the self.  Neutral alignment affects not only the lumbar vertebrae but the entire spine.  Reformer exercises help us create equal balance between the head, neck and back so we can unlock the centre of power in the movement of the body.  This adds efficiency and grace in our motion, while maintaining minimal muscular tension.   This is how Alexander & Pilates techniques improves overall body strength.

Yoga at Sunset

        Yoga at Sunset  

   End of Summer Salutation      Classes 8:15 am & 6:30 pm Tuesdays

        Starts Sept 25 in Erin                                8:00 pm Yin Yoga Wednesdays

. Private Pilates sessions . Yin Yoga . Aerial Yoga

. Therapeutic & Post Rehab Training . Pilates and Yoga for Athletes

Sometimes you have to unlearn the wrong way of doing something in order to learn the way it should have been done all along.  Try Pilates!

If exercise leaves you sore but you don’t see results it’s not working – Try Pilates – soreness is not necessary and results guaranteed.            also check out