Tag Archives: Feldenkrais

Taming the beast: intensely interesting+physically rewarding

In the background (behind me relaxing!) is a Reformer: the largest piece of Pilates equipment devised by Joseph Pilates himself and first patented in 1924. A slightly off-putting name! But please don’t let that put you off….. it is an amazing piece of kit.

I bought this beast in March 2014 during my training period. Having first used a Reformer two years before that, I found the experience intensely interesting and physically rewarding.

Some more perspective: I did my first Pilates class in 2004 and – at a career crossroads – decided to train with STOTT PILATES as an mat instructor in 2008 becoming certified in 2009. I became Reformer certified with STOTT PILATES in 2015.

So, I’ve been teaching group mat classes since late 2008 and teaching Reformer privately since for about 14 months.

I can honestly say that it has taken me a long time to assimilate all the training, knowledge and experience I have about bodies and movement in relation to the using the Reformer to teach Pilates sensitively on a one-to-one basis. I finally feel I have tamed the beast.  I have learnt how to be intuitive about how I use the Reformer with people who haven’t ever done pilates ever before.

Or whether to use it at all – often clients need to do nothing but lie in a supported position in neutral pelvis and neutral head and shoulder position for some time, completely relaxing all their muscles and ligaments, before they can move further. I have got wonderful tools to facilitate you in doing that (the Oov is my newest find….more later!)

Taming the beast that is the Reformer means really understanding the essence of each move….. not necessarily doing the moves as they appear in the training manual. It means moving according to each person’s innate needs. It means embodying not just my pilates training, but my knowledge of other wonderful movement patterns from the yoga and Feldenkrais worlds to really help people find their way to healthy movement patterns.

Come join me – connect to your body! One love.

Pilates, yoga, Feldenkrais or whatever – the name doesn’t really matter

pilates-yoga“The body doesn’t care whether we call it Pilates, yoga, Alexander, Feldenkrais, Nia, Continuum—or, for that matter, washing the dishes. What it does care about is if we’re moving with awareness.”

So says Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, in the current issue of Pilates Style magazine. I completely agree with her.

I started out doing yoga in my 20s with a wonderful teacher in the office blocks of Craig Gardner/Price Waterhouse in Dublin. I will never forget my first few classes – the joy I felt at discovering movement and connection to my body.

Ever since those early classes, I have included weekly yoga into my schedule where possible. When my kids were young and it wasn’t always possible to get out to classes, I used to earmark Sunday mornings for yoga practice.

Then about nine years ago, I discovered pilates and I loved it. It spoke to my body in a different way to yoga; I felt energised and could feel physical changes happening more strongly in my body than with yoga.

When I came to a career crossroads in 2008 and wanted to try something new, I decided to undergo professional training in pilates. I am now certified in STOTT PILATES. I still practice yoga, I go to classes whenever I can. I often include chest and hip opening yoga moves into my pilates repertoire and teaching.

What is more important for me is to keep learning, to keep an open mind and not to close myself to other possibilities from other movement disciplines.

So back to what Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle said above: your body doesn’t know care what name your particular movement routine has. The many different disciplines are all working with the human body to the same end: movement with awareness. Body movement is key for preventing pain or sometimes to help you get free from pain.

At different times, you may dip in and out of the different movement disciplines. Your body may need different things at different times of life. You can be enriched and empowered from many different sources.

What really matters is that you get to know the structure of your body to connect with your breathing and that you learn to nurture your own lifeforce.

Pilates certainly empowers you to do that – as too does yoga, Alexander technique and Feldenkrais; never had the chance to try Nia or Continuum!

And, yes, you can can carry that same body awareness and inner strength through to when you are doing chores or playing golf or whatever!