T.O.R.S – Task Oriented Reactive Stability CLASSES starting in March at Studio3

 

tor /tôr/noun plural: tors: meaning hill or rocky peak.

We’re keeping that definition in mind as we emphasize Task Oriented Reactive Stability.

What’s that mean for you?
It means functional sequences to increase your strength in balance.

It means building on the movement tasks we do every day and challenging them so that your reaction in an unstable environment (stairs, curbs, street, hiking trails, bikes, ice) is driven by strength, proprioception and stability, not hesitation or lack or control.

It means developing transferable strength that goes from the studio to everyday life. It means confidence in moving forward and upward.

Classes will include: Pilates Reformers ,Cadillac, standing spring system, free weights, core, balance and coordination work.

Starting in March, join us. Every Monday & Friday from 10am-10:45am

Level:  Absolutely everyone and all levels.

To register: Please visit our schedule.

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Osteopathy: What it is and how it can help you.

What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy was founded by Andrew Taylor Still in the late 1800s in the United States of America, with the aim of using manual hands-on techniques to improve joint motion and circulation, correct altered biomechanics and restore body function without the use of drugs.

Dr Still claimed that human illness was rooted in problems with the musculoskeletal system and that hands-on manipulation could solve these problems and effect a cure by harnessing the body’s own healing potential.

Osteopathy is a form of manipulative medicine that focuses on the patient emphasizing the role of all of the body systems. This includes the musculoskeletal system; bones, muscles, ligaments, tendon, cartilages, and joints, that provides the movement, support, and stability for the human body to stay healthy.

When less than ideal tissue motion (mobility and motility) is found, osteopaths work to restore health by applying osteopathic principles in the practice of hands-on treatment to help restore normal motion.

Osteopathy is based on the principle that optimal health is rooted in all parts of the body functioning together in an integrated manner. If one part of the body is restricted then the rest of the body must adapt and compensate, eventually leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and repetitive strain injuries.

Based on this principle, osteopathy does not simply concentrate on treating the problematic area, but rather uses manual techniques to balance all the systems of the body to provide overall good health and well-being. Osteopathy is the only science and art healing method that works along the lines of natural cause and effect. Its practitioners are trained to handle causes and generate effects through a complete training of knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the body.

” A cure can always be effected if the cause can be removed”

What does Osteopathy treat?

All osteopathic treatment reverts back to nerves, the arterial, venous and lymphatic systems. These are the pathway of communication of health and wellness.

There are many common health problems that Manual Osteopathic Practitioners commonly treat such as: aches of the back, head, neck and feet
tennis or golfer elbow
shin splints
sciatica
repetitive strain injuries
Patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, whiplash, postural issues, respiratory tract problems, digestive problems and arthritis have found improvements in health by using osteopathy. Manual Osteopathic Practitioners regularly see patients that have been injured from work, home or as a result of sports.

For more information or to book your initial assessment please contact Jeff at:
jeff@studiopower3.ca or call 416.964.3939

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Leave Your Shoes at the Door (How to be an even better Pilates instructor)

Often, when we’ve worked with a regular client over an extended period of time, it’s easy to become complacent with the type of workout that you’re offering. Being physically and mentally tired or preoccupied with other things can lead to mediocre workouts that reflect your mood and energy levels.

While it isn’t realistic to drop everything that’s important and of concern to you for your clients, you need to have the self-expectation and discipline to be able to situate whatever is on your mind somewhere else for the hour. Trying to focus on your clients needs to guide the session will shift attention away from whatever it is you’re thinking about.

In order to do this, it’s imperative (metaphorically speaking – although literally as well at our studio!) that you  ‘leave your shoes at the door’.

There is no doubt, that I have walked into many a studio preoccupied with things that are truly of no concern to my client. By not leaving it at the door, it has inevitably come up somewhere in the hour – either in the way I teach or the mood and tone being conveyed. Regardless of who the client is, it is never fair to them. And I have always left feeling a little more frustrated and irritated by whatever was on my mind in the first place.

It’s important to remember why people are coming to you and this method.

By focusing on the ‘task at hand’ so to speak, it often becomes a great workout for my client and a positive experience for both of us. What’s more, I feel better because they’re leaving knowing it was worth their time and energy. They’re not dragged down or defeated because my own personal ‘stuff’ got in the way of what they’re expecting –  an awesome workout every time.

At the risk of sounding cliche, life does tend to throw more worries and concerns at us as we get older (or perhaps we just worry more and have more concerns by virtue of age). There is absolutely no way I would be able to do what I do if I continually let other parts of my life get in the way. I think that goes for most of us who interact with many different people  on a regular basis. And some days are harder than others.

But, I have found that by being more involved in the session, I am inevitably more focused on my client. By taking my shoes off at the door particularly on the days when other things in life can so easily take over, I always come out on the other side of the hour with a calmer perspective and clearer focus on whatever it was I went in thinking about. It makes me look forward to getting into the studio and it gives me a greater appreciation and gratitude for what I do and the clients that allow me to do it.

 

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Every Breath Your Client Takes: Programming For A Better Breath Pattern

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the average person takes between 17, 280 and 23, 040 breaths per day. Something to think about as Pilates instructors because not only is it a Pilates principle that we’re constantly cueing, it is perhaps the only one that clients will do (efficiently or otherwise!) without any cues at all. If they’re in the Pilates space, they’re breathing!

Recently, in order to take the cueing and use of this principle a little deeper for both my clients and myself, I’ve tried to adapt it based on how connected each client is to their breath pattern. Unsurprisingly, and yet something we perhaps don’t pay enough attention to, I’ve found that;

A) Everyone uses their breath differently from everyone else,

B) Every workout brings a different breath connection

and perhaps, most crucial for us as Pilates instructors,

C) Nobody recruits the same breathing technique for their entire Pilates workout. Nor should they.

As Pilates instructors, it’s important that we are able to explain and cue the breathing pattern in an effective way. But programming and exercise selection can also provide clients with a greater connection to the breathing principle.

When your client begins a session, take a bit of time in the position you’re starting them in, whether it is standing, lying supine, lying prone, kneeling or sitting, and observe where their breath is being distributed. What we’re looking for is an easy, natural non-exaggerated manner that expands the ribcage to the sides and back. But often, what we get is a shallower breath or one that I often describe as ‘breathing that starts in the throat”. In this instance, it’s often best to get them moving through easy, supported movement patterns that emphasize mobilization of the spine (think: Spine Stretch Forward from the wall or  Side Lying Spinal Rotation with Arm Circles) to begin with a more effective, relaxing and breath awareness approach.

If your client has a consistently solid connection into their breath during their Pilates workout, how can an even greater connection be made? Conversely, if a new client is obsessing on their breath to a point where nothing else is given attention, how do you keep it simple yet effective?

In my experience, both types of clients can often find a better breath connection by the types of exercises that are added in rather than cues and corrections that can often lose their meaning and value.

For a client that can connect well into their breath and has no other issues that need to be considered, their workout may alternate between segments that emphasize stability and segments that highlight mobility. By challenging clients with endurance and load vs. proprioception and coordination, we’re demanding that they connect with a breath that can be effectively transferred from one demanding component to another. (think: Short Spine and/or Up Stretch on the Reformer followed by Leg Pull on the Mat and/or Elephant Flat Back on the Stability Chair).

However for a newer client, the Pilates breathing principle can often be an overwhelming or frustrating part of their workout. They may over focus on their breath and lose sight of the other components in the workout. By starting clients’ workouts in safe and simple yet challenging positions, instead of lying passively, you may find a more rewarding way to help them connect into a stronger breath pattern.

For example, lying supine to begin a workout is often not the easiest way to connect into the breath and core muscles. Why not try them standing (think: Lat Pull Standing with Push Thru Bar on the Cadillac)? Or perhaps 4 point kneeling (think: Leg Pull Front Prep or Swimming Prep Kneeling on the Mat)? For a client with a few more sessions under their belt, try Bend & Stretch on the Reformer and get them to imagine using their exhale to press the carriage away from their feet (rather than the more traditional cue of straightening the legs away from the body on the exhale).

Thinking about the breath as it pertains to the exercise is a great way to deepen a client’s connection into it and help them to understand that the breath can, and should, change based on the purpose of the exercise. But flip this around so that you’re making exercise choices as they pertain to the type of breath pattern you’re trying to encourage and you have another great and substantial approach to programming for clients. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

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What are you thinking about?

2014 is well underway and so are many resolutions to get into shape. But for those who long ago committed to making fitness part of their regular routine, you may find yourselves entering the year with the same weekly schedule that ended 2013. For lots of us, making sense and creating order out of very hectic schedules takes a lot of time and coordination. So if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

But while the logistics of getting your once, twice or three weekly workouts are set and have been for quite some time, what should you do if you find your mind drifting once you’re in that specific class on that specific day, at that specific time?  In other words, what can you do to help recharge and refocus the workout so that it’s worthwhile and indicative of the time you allot to it in your busy week? Here are a couple of suggestions inspired from the cueing, correcting and client retention of the instructors at Studio3.

Asking Why, What and When will shape How you’ll reach your goal.

Whether or not you are training privately with an instructor or working in a small group class, setting a specific goal is a good way to remain focused.

For example, one client at Studio3 enrolled in a weekly Pilates class in order to ‘strengthen my core’. With a few questions her instructor was able to help her better define that goal into ‘wanting to strengthen my core in order to alleviate the back pain that has limited the distance of my daily walking routine’. And because a long winter that meant unstable walking surfaces, was around the corner, a time frame of when she wanted to see an increase in her strength was set.

By defining her goal clearly, her Pilates program became more effective. It helped her stay committed and focused during her workouts at the studio, which translated into a focus when she walked. Ultimately, her stride became stronger, her back pain was minimized and her daily walking distance was increased.

So by asking 3 questions “Why am I working out?”,, “What am I trying to accomplish? and “When do I want to see results”, both you and your instructor will be able to figure out a structured and effective “how”.

Think about your posture and your movement

A primary goal of Pilates is improved posture – every exercise, both original and contemporary, is working towards strengthening the body so that the spine is longer, stronger and your quality of life is better. As Joseph Pilates famously said “you’re only as old as your spine”.

In a Pilates class, chances are you’ll be cued towards a better posture – and cued constantly! But sometimes the focus may be towards something different; a new exercise, breathing techniques or a pace that moves the exercises from one right into the other. So if you find your mind drifting, thinking about your posture will bring your focus back to you and how you’re moving through the class.

At Studio3, we have many clients who partake in Pilates classes, but also do yoga, spinning, running, biking, martial arts and weight training sessions throughout their weekly schedule. The most consistent comment we’ve heard from those who participate in several exercise modalities is that they find themselves thinking about what Pilates has taught them their posture, breath and movement.

This not only engages them in the exercise routine they’re participating in, but also teaches them how to link and engage their awareness of a better posture and movement pattern into all different types of workouts.

Remember, if you work out with several different instructors during your week, the common denominator is you. Therefore, it’s important that you keep your goals clear and defined.

Have fun!

 

 

 

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