Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pilates Halfway House Work-out

Yesterday I gave a reformer class I called The Halfway House Work-out. The premise of the class was to take each exercise through its full range of motion, then explore the most distal then proximal parts of each exercise. This provided a challenge to my intermediate/advanced students allowing them to explore the opposite ends of each exercise and how they influence posture, strength, and mobility. Gotta love the possibilities of Pilates.

tags: pilates, reformer, exercise, posture

Monday, June 28, 2010

Scottsdale Community College

This is the last week of classes for the Summer Dance Conservatory at SCC. The students are doing very well learning the PCI Mat repertoire. My hope is that they will go onto becoming Pilates teachers to support their careers and lives.

tags: Scottsdale Community College, pilates

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pilates Inspired by Real Life

Let's build a better body together. The big day has arrived. Have you been thinking it's about time to start an exercise program? The transformation can be amazing. Real life, real people, and real situations inspired Joseph Pilates to develop his exercise program originally called Contrology. Pilates (as it's known now) is an excellent format for improving strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, and centering. The technique is friendly for all, from the weekend warrior to the soon not-to-be couch potato. What are you waiting for? Find a Pilates studio near you and get going.

tags: pilates, exercise, contrology, movingbreath, strong tower pilates, reddance pilates, pilatesnorthaz, leadmc, equilibrium pilates, pacific pilates

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Devorah Kastner and Radomir Pashev took first place at the Colorado Star Ball this past weekend. Participants from 22 states attended the event, with 10 professional couples competing for the title. Of course the Pilates and Gyrotonic has put them a cut above the rest!

tags: Devorah Kastner, Radomir Pashev, ballroom dance, pilates, gyrotonic

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Myofascial Release, Pilates, and Gyrotonic

For the last two days I attended a Healing Seminar in Sedona, Arizona with John Barnes, founder of Myofascial Release Technique. MFR (Myofascial Release), Pilates, and Gyrotonic blend well together. All three techniques unwind the body in ways that allow for energy flow to and through the body.

tags: Myofascial Release, Pilates, Gyrotonic, unwinding, health, movement, exercise, movement therapy

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pilates Conference Calls
Today's topic: Forward Rounded Shoulders

The shoulder is the most complex and unstable joint in the body. Upper Cross Syndrome (forward rounded shoulders) is a postural dysfunction that results in shortening of the front body muscles and lengthening of the back body muscles.

Muscles in the shortened and tight position include the pectoralis major and minor, levator scapulae, teres major, upper trapezius, latissimus dorsi, sternocleidomastoid, and scalenes.

Muscles in the lengthened and weak position include the rhomboids, lower trapezius, serratus anterior, posterior deltoids, teres minor, and infraspinatus.

This imbalance is caused by poor posture, poor sitting and standing ergonomics, slumping, forward head positioning, and rounding of the upper thoracic spine.

This posture manifests in hunching of the thoracic spine, internal rotation of the shoulder, and anterior (forward) placed head. It can result in headache, thoracic outlet syndrome, upper thoracic pain, muscular imbalance, shoulder pain, improper biomechanics, and improper respiration.

In this conference call we will discuss forward rounded shoulders as it relates to pre-Pilates and Pilates exercises to assist in improving this condition.

Moving Breath Pilates and Pilates Core Integration hosts monthly conference calls on various topics related to Pilates, health, fitness, nutrition, and exercise. For more information visit and look under the teacher training tab. Click here to go to our website.

tags: Pilates, health, fitness, nutrition, exercise, posture, biomechanics

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Week at Moving Breath Pilates

Virginia was recently contacted by the folks at YouTube to become a YouTube partner. Her Beginner/Intermediate Chair video has over 13,000 hits on the site. This is quite an honor.
To view the video click here. We love YouTube.

Virginia Nicholas, M.A., R.N.

Pilates Core Integration/Moving Breath Pilates

1801 S. Jen Tilly Lane, Suite C-20

Tempe, Arizona 85281


Bringing the Carriage Home, by Virginia Nicholas, M.A., R.N.

When the Universal Reformer carriage is closest to the foot bar it is called being “home”. The “home” position allows for a complete range of motion of the muscles, bones, and joints when executing the Pilates exercises. When doing exercises such as footwork, it is important to press the carriage away from the foot bar until the client’s legs are fully lengthened, and to bring the carriage completely “home” on the bending of the legs. This allows for a full range of motion of the hips, legs, knees, ankles, and feet when completing the exercise.

Frequently clients attempt to work an exercise without returning the carriage to the “home” position. Kneeling Chest Expansion is an example of this problem. In order to feel as though they are “working hard” clients hold the ropes or leather straps higher than is appropriate. This tends to move the carriage away from the foot bar, out of the “home” position. In order to fulfill the complete range of motion of the shoulder joint, the carriage must begin and return home after each repetition of the exercise. If clients feel as though they are not working hard enough when the carriage returns “home”, add resistance for the exercise. This will maintain the integrity of the exercise, move the joints through their full range of motion, and produce more organized movement patterns.

Exercises such as Long Spine require use of strap extenders and ensuring the carriage is “home” before beginning the exercise. In order to find the Jackknife position required by the exercise, the carriage must begin “home” for the client to successfully find the Jackknife position.

The Pilates equipment functions as an extension of the body, and must be viewed as a partner in each exercise. Movements on the Universal Reformer must demonstrate fluidity, control of the carriage, equal rhythm and appropriate tempo of springs and straps without jerking, pulling, and uneven use of the carriage and straps. Imagine the machines as dance partners. Any overuse or underuse of the connection between the client and the machine are akin to unnecessary, disorganized pulling and pushing on the dance partner.

Remember to bring the carriage “home” between each repetition of exercises to fully complete and properly execute the Pilates exercises.