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To improve balance and stability, focus on keeping equal weight between your big toes, sit bone distance apart one foot forward, one foot back and repeat. Also, try doing it in tandem (one foot forward, one foot back) with a chair for support if needed. Transcript: "Can I share some specific exercises or movements that are particularly effective for improving balance and stability? Let's start with some concepts that you can apply to anything that you're doing, including standing, that should be able to help your overall balance and stability. Let's start from the ground up. When you're standing, think about keeping equal weight between your big toe, your baby toe, and your heel, really sharing that load. The next thing I want you to think about is think about pushing down through your feet as you pull up through the top of your head, but nothing too intensely. Visualize a rubber band, and you're just trying to pull that rubber band taut. Lastly, think about a light abdominal engagement. So I use a cue of holding a jewel in your belly button, a flat end of the abdominal wall. Make sure you can maintain that engagement while you're breathing both in and out, and that's going to help your overall balance and stability. I have one simple exercise that I do with a lot of my clients to help with balance, just to check in, and I can just go through it now. So starting with your feet sit bone distance apart, finding all of those, applying all of those concepts I just talked about. You just want to look over one shoulder and the other shoulder, and then come center. Bring it to the feet together, and then repeat. Then bring the feet sit bone distance apart, one foot forward, one foot back, and repeat. Make sure you do it on the other foot. The last one is tandem, one foot forward, one foot back. This is the most challenging. Now if you needed to, you could add a chair to help you and make sure that you're keeping your balance and that you don't fall. Start with those, maybe there will be an opportunity for me to give you a few more later on. Thanks."
Make sure to always be present in the moment, and listen to your instructor's cues. Ask questions if you don't understand something and let them help show you the muscles you should be feeling or the movement pattern to follow. This will increase your understanding of your body and get more out of each session. Transcript: "What tips would you give someone to get the most out of their Pilates practice? And it's really just about being present and in the moment. If you're listening to your instructors cues and they are asking you to do things or feel things that you don't, make sure you let them know that you are not understanding and then hopefully the Pilates instructor will be able to give you a prop or try the exercise on a different piece of equipment or try a different exercise and really help show you the muscles you're supposed to be feeling or the movement pattern that you're supposed to be performing. All of this is just going to increase your overall proprioception, really understanding where your body is at any given time. And hopefully that helps and you can get a little bit more out of your next session."
Pilates can be used to address specific muscle groups and address muscle imbalances within the body by doing exercises that strengthen the weakened muscles. This is best done in a private training situation with a well-trained Pilates instructor who can do a postural assessment or some movement assessments to help identify any muscle imbalances or any postural deviations. Once those have been identified, your Pilates instructor can design a program that will strengthen those weakened muscles and help restore balance, improve posture, improve biomechanics, and bring people into more balanced alignment. Transcript: "How can Pilates be used to address specific muscle groups and address muscle imbalances within the body? This is best done in a private training situation. A well-trained Pilates instructor will do a postural assessment or some movement assessments to help identify any muscle imbalances or any postural deviations. Once those have been identified, your Pilates instructor can help develop a program that will help to strengthen any of the weakened muscles, which will help restore balance, improve posture, improve biomechanics, and bring people into more balanced alignment. I'm going to show a few examples coming up next. Let's say I have a client who sits at a desk. They might have a very rounded upper back, some protraction of their shoulders. By doing some exercises that strengthen the posterior muscles of the shoulder girdle, that can help bring those shoulder blades into a more neutral alignment and help to bring that upper arm bone again into its neutral positioning. Also focusing on sitting up nice and tall will help strengthen those spinal erectors as well. If I had a client who had stiffness in their back, an exercise like this can really help mobilize that spine. The spring tension helps to guide that movement, so they really get that sense of going sort of one vertebra at a time. Also coming back up and stacking the spine on top of that pelvis can help strengthen the spinal erectors and help bring them into a more neutral alignment."
Pilates exercises can help athletes understand where movement, stability and force should come from, with exercises reminiscent of movements they experience in their sport. These exercises can help them gain a better understanding of dynamic stability while also working on flexibility, local and global stabilizing muscles, and balance. Transcript: "Can I speak to the benefits of Pilates for athletes and how it can enhance performance in specific sports or activities? In a program for an athlete, you'll experience exercises of flexibility, as well as exercises that target the local and global stabilizing muscles and balance. Pilates exercises can help an athlete understand where movement, stability, and force should all come from, isolating it and then integrating it. There will be exercises that are reminiscent of movements they experience in their sport, but that are not meant exactly to replicate. For example, learning how to do axial rotation and then placing someone in a golf stance. A swimmer might experience a large range of motion of the shoulder girdle with resistance while the core lifts the spine up. A runner can strengthen their glutes, experiencing that push-off sensation through the hip and the knee joint. A cyclist can work on maintaining a flexed position of their spine while having quick movement through the lower kinetic chain. Planks also play a large part of the programming, understanding how much work happens through the upper chain, the lower chain, and the core. Resistance can come from different directions, and experiencing moving planks can help the athlete better understand the concept of dynamic stability. I hope these exercises piqued your interest in adding Pilates to your athletic conditioning programming."
When selecting a Pilates instructor, look for someone who has completed their training from a reputable organization and has a good knowledge of anatomy movement patterns and biomechanics. Additionally, look for someone you like, understand, respect, and trust to ensure that you are comfortable and confident while exploring different levels of load and range of motion. Transcript: "What should someone look for when selecting a Pilates instructor? Your Pilates instructor should have completed their training from a reputable organization. They should have a decent knowledge of anatomy, movement patterns, and biomechanics. But it's what I tell my clients, it's a little bit like dating. You know, you want to find somebody who you like and understand and respect and trust. If you are working with your body and going into a situation where you are exploring and expanding your levels of load and range of motion and movement patterns, you want to make sure that you are as comfortable and as confident as possible in that situation."
Some of my most memorable moments in teaching and leading retreats include hearing from a student who's never done yoga before that they feel much better than when they came in, hearing from a long-time student that they appreciate how I lead and teach the poses so they can do them at home, a widow who had lost her husband to cancer finding healing at a retreat, and an individual finding a job they love after being inspired at a retreat. Transcript: "What have been some of my most memorable moments while teaching and leading retreats? I've been teaching for 40 years and so that question is both hard and easy to answer. I've been able to serve and help a lot of people over the years and what I enjoy hearing at the end of a yoga class from someone who's never done yoga before was, I feel so much better than when I came in. No one's been able to help me with my lower back discomfort or pain even. Or when a student who's been going to yoga for a long time comes to my class for the first time and says, wow, this has been great. I really appreciate how you actually lead us and teach us the poses so we can do them at home. Because I love that. I want you to do your yoga practice at home. More recently at a retreat, a woman, a widow, who had lost her husband to cancer about a year before the retreat, shared with me that this retreat helped her give herself permission to begin dating again and to be healing. I was moved to tears. As was I when another woman said that she left her job she'd hated and soon after found something that she really loved because we inspired her at the retreat. Here she comes."