Im very excited to announce that from mid January I will be offering my very own group classes at the Eric Liddell Centre in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. There is availability for another Class at 8:30pm if there is demand for it, as well as day time classes on another day. Please do let me know if you are interested in daytime classes or a Tuesday 8:30pm class! If you are wanting to join the first 6 week block starting 20th of January don't hesitate to get in touch as spaces are limited. Any questions just get in touch!
Starting 20th of January the first classes on the Timetable are:
Remedial Pilates, Tuesdays 6:30pm, 6 Week Block = £60, Drop in: £12
"Kristin draws from two Pilates methods as well as her knowledge as a Clinical Sports Massage Therapist & Specialist
Biomechanics Coach to offer you a remedial approach to Pilates. The pace is slow & methodical with lots of individual
attention to give you the focus & support you need to perform exercises correctly & with relevance to your body.
Pilates improves quality of movement, strength & motor skills. Beyond that Kristin promotes lung capacity, pelvic
alignment as well as nerve & spinal health. We consider the whole body & mind & aim for long term health over short
term fitness. This class is suitable for all levels of fitness & ability, however please discuss any health conditions or past/present injuries with Kristin before booking."*
Freestyle Fitness Yoga, Tuesdays at 7:30pm, 6 Week Block = £51, Drop in: £10
"Enjoy flowing Yoga inspired exercises set to music to centre the mind, challenge the body & have fun!
This class offers a fitness workout improving strength, flexibility, coordination & balance using yoga inspired exercises.
Freestyle Fitness Yoga is not a traditional Yoga Method and does not have any spiritual elements.
This class is suitable for all levels of fitness & ability, however it may not be suitable for you if you are recovering from recent injury or suffer from certain health conditions."*
*For hygiene reasons you will be required to bring your own mat. If you do not own one you can order one through Kristin for £8.
This principle could be interpreted as encompassing all of the above principles. Without concentration, control, centering
and flow there is no precision. Precision to me also means duplicability. As you perform the single leg stretch or the
side bend at advanced level it should be possible to be repeated in the same way. The second repetition might be better in quality than the first because your are better prepared after having had “a test run”, and your last repetition might
be worse than the one before because you realise you reached your limit. All this may happen as we practice and
strive to be as good as we can be but what we strive for is quality and precision of each move. That is why we stop
after the first repetition that starts to feel like a struggle. Precision means having the control, concentration, centering
and flow to perform the exercise perfectly and therefore identically each time we do it. Needless to say that no
movement we do is ever the same when you look close enough. But we may also find precision in deliberately
deciding to change something about the exercise next time we do it. So while we may perform a sidebend very well
and nothing speaks against doing it exactly the same way again we may decide to do it differently. Maybe we try out
a different visualisation, cue or the technique of a different method. Precision can, but does not have to refer to just
doing it one way. A movement is precise if we perform it exactly the way we attempt to and if we wanted to, we could
do it again.
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You know, when you go to the gym and you go onto one of the exercise machines and then watch the tv or fiddle with your phone? I have even seen people read books while on the treadmill or leg curl machine.
Personally I would always rather spend the time focusing on my physical and mental experience while I am asking my body to perform some demanding activity. But then I am a Pilates Teacher and concentration is one of our Pilates principles.
When we practice Pilates we are really quite busy sensing what ever we can about the experience of what ever the movement is, because sensing with our body and our mind means gathering information about how we are doing with the challenge. And knowledge is power. It means we can make deliberate, subtle changes to how we approach a movement challenge. We can try a slightly different strategy and it may make a huge difference to the effort that we have to apply to a push up for example. Without concentration we will miss everything our body is telling us about what it is doing and experiencing and we are no better than a couple that no longer listens to one another. We end up living past each other and then wonder why our body gets hurt.
Try this next time you do a push up, or a squat, or even when you are doing your next run: Feel the contact you make with the ground. Notice the balance going through your entire body. Is one leg or one arm carrying more weight than the other? Does the rhythm of your movements communicate with the rhythm of your breath in some way? How does each body part feel during the movement? Is there tension somewhere, where it is not useful?
If you have gathered information about all of the above you probably have been concentrating. What have you learned about yourself? And what are you going to do differently next time? Congratulations, ff you are finding answers to these questions you are on your journey to more efficient, healthy movement ability and a stronger connection between your body and your mind.
I often get asked how Pilates is different to gym based “Core Conditioning” classes. Some of the exercises can be very similar and both are advertised to “strengthen your core”. I find there is no quick and simple answer that does not invite misunderstanding.
Like Yoga, Pilates is considered a body & mind practice. In Yoga this may be more obvious, because it often involves relaxation and breathing exercises and some exercises are supposed to affect your organs and spirit as well as our muscles. Pilates however classically does not involve relaxation or meditation. However the way we execute the Pilates exercises should encompass body, mind and breathing all at once, so one could argue that Pilates practice itself has similar benefits to meditation practice too.
According to Brent Anderson (Founder of Polestar Pilates/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVQQMUKUmzE) Jospeh Pilates original goals were:
1.Total Body Health
For me this should be reflected in each exercise.
In Core Conditioning the emphasis is in pushing through a set number of repetitions and working as hard as possible, focusing on the pure muscle strength needed to perform the last few reps usually to fatigue. During Pilates, on the other hand, we are not in a rush to get things done and we only want to perform the exercise if we can be in control of them entirely, using all our body’s systems. The original exercise method modern Pilates is based on was called “Contrology”, a name that very much hits the nail on the head in regards to what we strive for when we practice Pilates. It is always about quality as supposed to quantity. People may find that they work at a lower level of intensity than they do during Core Conditioning. That does not mean though, that you will not get stronger just as quickly. We want to really own the exercise without allowing the body to go into habitual, compensatory movement or breathing patterns. One could say that Pilates really suits those of us who are perfectionists. Each exercise is an experience for the entire body and the mind and there is always room for improvement of efficiency, quality, control and ease. Pilates needs to be performed slowly in order to be able to be conscious of all this. The benefit we are hoping for is not just “core strength” but full body strength in a health balance with everything else. We want improved posture and motor skills, more control and awareness of how we move with quality in biomechanical terms, as well as more awareness of how we breath when we move and how breathing effects our movements. All this will help us to improve physical performance as well as reduce risk of injury and pain as we get older. This intense body or movement awareness practice also has psychological benefits as studies have shown that improved body awareness reduces risk of developing psychosomatic pain, depression and anxiety.
The Pilates teacher talks a lot during an exercise. We don’t have time to count repetitions because we are busy reminding the participant to focus on what is happening in their body while they perform an exercise. We are there to remind them of the positioning of their head and hands, the tension creeping into the shoulders, the alignment of their shoulders with their hips, the muscular connection between pelvis, ribcage and spine, the way they are holding their vertebral column, the expansion of their ribcage, the positioning of their knees and feet and where their breath goes and when.
Unfortunately you can not expect great things from Pilates if we are not willing to slow down a moment and to really focus on our self. If you are serious about seeking the Pilates benefits and committing your body and mind as well as your patience to the method you can get to the stage where we explore more advanced and complex body weight exercises that most guys in the gym would not be strong enough to perform. If you don’t believe me let me tell you of the course I attended where a forty six year old mum/Pilates teacher won all core strength challenges against a male, very well build young Personal Trainer. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.