You are a structural masterpiece. Your body's ingenious design is truly awesome. It can repair itself, is a container for life, is totally unique, can morph into magnificence. Health affirming thoughts about your body and long life make longevity celebratory.
I believe aging beautifully is an art form. As a certified Pilates teacher, gerontologist and aging strategist, I've made it a personal mission to help preserve the beauty, vitality, physical strength and verticality of post-50 women and men as they undergo the alchemy of aging.
The thought that Father Time and the persistent pull of gravity can wreak havoc on strength, alignment and structural integrity should be challenged. Who needs the distraction of pain, debility and a diminished quality of life when we've been blessed with an extended life span that previous generations did not have?
So, what's your plan for life-long physical fitness? How do you envision your aging future? Will your 30 bonus years of longevity be a boon or bust?
What's needed to ensure that we remain physically fit for the future is a positive view of our bodies as we age, a systematic, sustainable, age-defying training regime that keeps us strong (You've found it!) and a mind that challenges the thought that aging equals decline.
I place great emphasis on mindfulness because mastery of the Pilates technique is achieved by union of the body, mind and spirit. No exercising by rote here! My warm-up facilitates self-attunement and neuromuscular re-patterning, whereby with breath work, visualization, intention setting and focus, you begin to recruit the correct muscle groups that establish movement patterns that prevent strain, tension and muscle imbalances as well as provide back support, enhance body symmetry and increase abdominal strength.
Because no two bodies are alike, my process features a logical progression of corrective exercises that address the structural flaws that may cause muscular and joint pain, postural strain, stiffness, loss of muscle tone. You'll practice posture improving movements that lift the torso, expand the ribcage, strengthen the back and abdomen, promote efficient breathing. Poise, graceful movement and greater spatial awareness are a natural outcome of the beginning stages of this work. You will grow in your understanding of what it means to work from the "inside out".
Working to strengthen the supportive musculature in the center of the body, lays the foundation for creating lasting structural change. The goal is to attain beauty of form through balanced proportions, to maintain a flexible spine and unveil elegant body lines.
You start with basic exercises, then progress to intermediate and advanced levels. At each stage, your body begins to gently unwind its kinks and free you from restriction. Suppleness is restored when short, contracted muscles lengthen and regain their flexibility by the elongating action of the Pilates method. Combining mat and apparatus exercises--the best approach--immerses you in the Pilates method and produces lasting results within a short period of time.
The novel exercises performed on the Pilates apparatuses offer you great variety. Each session has different choreography, so you're never bored. The routines are creative, challenging, always fresh, mind-engaging and fun. You will learn how to incorporate the six principles of the Pilates method: centering, control, concentration, precision, flow, and breath into your practice. Combining studio instruction and at- home, self-practice accelerates your progress.
Your Pilates instruction will be made practical when you take what you've practiced on the horizontal plane of your exercise mat and "go vertical" --stand upright-- to improve your posture, sitting, standing and walking. Activities of every day living like bending, twisting, reaching overhead, pulling luggage, carrying groceries, personal grooming and sports activities like golfing, running, swimming, tennis or skiing, dancing the Swing, Cha-Cha or Tango and everything in between is exponentially improved when you understand and practice the bio-mechanical techniques of core stability that you'll be taught.
Your body and being is your canvas. Keeping refining the masterpiece that is you.
In 1965, at age 59, Satchel Paige, the oldest player in Major League Baseball, pitched 3 innings for the Kansas City Athletics. Paige addressed issues about his age by asking this thought-provoking question: "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" Back then, he was an anomaly. Not today. Now we have 90-somethings running marathons and independent centenarians aging-in-place.
If asked this question, how would you calculate your age? What variables would you consider? Would you take into account the physical effects like loss of muscle tone, diminishing endurance, unwanted weight gain? Maybe your answer would be based on your ability to open jars, read fine print or how steady you are on your feet. Perhaps the health of your hair follicles might provide you with clues. Maybe, like counting the rings of a felled tree to determine its age, you would tally your fine facial lines. Or better yet, like Paige, you will purposely lose track of the years and plan to be fit, attractive and strong for a lifetime, nullifying the idea that signs of decline are supposed be evident at a particular stage of life.
Whatever calculator you choose, know that the mathematics of aging has changed. What Mr. Paige hinted at 49 years ago, is a reality today: that your actual age is irrelevant and that looking and feeling younger, longer is possible; it is, in fact, your birthright!
Sustainability is about upkeep and preparing your parts to maintain strength and suppleness as you age. The corrective exercises of the Pilates repertoire prime your bones, joints and muscles to handle the repetitive action of daily life. Since prevention is better than cure, taking proactive steps now to ensure physical wellbeing, life-long health and wellness for your future is the way to go. The body opening movements performed our classes lubricate your joints, ease stiffness and are a healing salve for your musculoskeletal system.
Living longer, stronger requires focusing on wellness; disbelieving in decline. Combining health-affirming thoughts with commitment to a daily, well-balanced routine will ensure that we continue to stay strong and vital and perform activities of every day living with vitality, strength and endurance. A solid program consists of the following training elements: cardiovascular, flexibility, strength, balance and core.
Circuitry, my signature Pilates circuit training class, designed with these categories in mind, promotes optimal performance in each of these areas.