Pilates is not Yoga

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So you have heard that Pilates and Yoga are similar in many ways. Yes, both disciplines help you create greater awareness of your body’s posture and its alignment. Yes, both disciplines improve and enhance flexibility and strength. Pilates and Yoga also emphasize coordinating breath with movement.

Both these disciplines of Pilates and Yoga have amazing benefits. They are both fitness regimes that are integrative; they are associated with stress reduction and increased well-being. They can both also be adjusted to a wide range of people and fitness levels, and both support the achievement of very high levels of body, mind and spiritual fitness.

Pilates aims to reach high levels of fitness goals for the mind and body, however, through a series of controlled movements. The Pilates technique not only has a full complement of matwork exercises, but it incorporates work on Pilates machines as well.

Pilates is a series of controlled movements; movements that are not performed rapidly and/or excessively. The focus is on the quality of the movement and not the quantity or the repetitions. There are additional exercise equipment like the magic circle, elastic band and foam roller one could use to add resistance to help make your workouts more challenging. Pilates has several machines designed to achieve its purpose such as the reformer, the wunda chair, the ladder barrel and the cadillac. Pilates exercises on these Pilates equipment machines are designed to cater to every individual’s needs.

The emphasis of Pilates exercises is to strengthen the abdominals, improve posture, stabilize and lengthen the spine, improve balance, flexibility and overall strength. Pilates gives you a long and lean, evenly-muscled look. Pilates works the whole body; emphasizing control, precision and concentration in both the mind and the body.

Whereas Pilates is scientific-based and its movements are always dynamic and in a flow; Yoga is spiritual-based involving meditation and reflection and its exercises are held in poses.

The abdominal muscles, lower back and butt muscles serve as the center of all movement. In Pilates, this is called the core or the powerhouse. This focus on core stabilization makes one stronger from the inside out and allows the rest of the body to move freely. The low-impact nature of Pilates makes it ideal also for injury prevention, rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

All Pilates exercises are formulated on the six principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow. These principles train the body to move efficiently and expertly with minimal stress on its joints and with maximum benefits on the entire physiology of the body. The Pilates method and using it regularly creates a healthy, vivacious and more symmetrical body which results in a lean, balanced, strong and supple body with very efficient and well-toned muscle groups.

A further listing of benefits that you can expect from the Pilates method include long and lean muscles, strong core and stability, injury prevention, better posture, improved balance and coordination, relief from stress and back pains, enhanced athletic performance, effective post-rehabilitation, and increased self-confidence.

Warm Regards,
Mrs Claudel Kuek

NB Click here to find out if Pilates is what you need to create the makeover in you!

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PowerMoves wins the Best Pilates Studio category in the EXPAT LIVING Reader Awards 2011.

For the last three months of 2011, Expat Living invited its readers to go online to vote for their favourite things in Singapore. Such categories as Best Dry Cleaner and Best Fitness Club to Favourite Airline and Favourite Medical Facility were included. Because readers use our services and know us well, they are in the best position to judge and vote.

Thank you for your votes! We are the favourite choice in the category of Best Pilates Studio in Singapore. It is an honour to win. We will continue to serve you and give you our best in the world of Pilates and in the name of fitness, friendship and fun.

Happy New Year to you and may all you wish for, dream of, work towards come true for you this fabulous 2012!

From all your friends at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park
xoxoxo

PowerMoves’ Pilates in the Park opens at Rochester Park

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The home-grown fitness brand, PowerMoves, recently opened its third Pilates studio in the leafy enclave of Rochester Park. The move meets the growing demand for low-impact therapeutic exercise, while filling the void for a clinical Pilates practice in the new total healthcare centre situated in the exclusive neighbourhood of Rochester Park.

This charming new studio remains true to the unique Pilates in the Park concept pioneered and owned by PowerMoves. From the opening of its first studio in Bishan Park, followed by a second at Dempsey Hill, this oneness with nature has always distinguished PowerMoves from its competitors. All three studios are tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, enveloped in lush rainforest, and housed in environmentally friendly buildings that feature an abundant use of natural materials.

In particular, the Rochester Park studio is set in a sprawling black and white bungalow that blends in seamlessly with its neighbours in this heritage-rich little pocket of old Singapore. Like its predecessors, it boasts floor-to-ceiling glass windows that invite the sunlight in while keeping the heat out.

At the new Rochester Park studio, the clinical focus is supported by two resident physiotherapists cum Pilates instructors. For clients with specific muscular or skeletal problems, they are able to customise therapeutic Pilates workouts that are informed by their medical training.

When asked to explain the growing popularity of Pilates, Founder and CEO of PowerMoves, Ms Claudel Kuek, said: “Pilates is growing more popular as our lifestyles become more sedentary, resulting in back problems and poor posture. This is compounded by the fact that our population has begun to age sharply.”

Physiotherapists, chiropractors, orthopaedists and all fitness professionals recommend strength-and-flexibility Pilates exercises on entering middle age, since it improves flexibility and staves off the stiffness commonly associated with an ageing body. Pilates specifically works on the core muscles to protect the spine, build bone density and add muscle mass – which in turn speeds up the metabolic rate. In short, it fulfils every woman’s fitness wish list as she enters her 40s and moves into her golden years. Of course that’s not to say that Pilates doesn’t benefit the male physique – it does. Indeed, PowerMoves boasts a number of high-profile celebrity couples among its clientele.

With the opening of the third PowerMoves studio at Rochester Park, fitness-conscious individuals residing in almost every part of Singapore are able to find a PowerMoves Pilates in the Park close to home. An hourly session is not just an investment in graceful ageing, it’s a therapeutic workout for the mind, body and soul, and a retreat to nature.

And here’s a final little sweetener. All three PowerMoves’ Pilates in the Park studios are surrounded by excellent watering holes and superb eateries. So when you’ve worked out and worked up an appetite, you can indulge in moderation knowing you’ve earned the right to do so guilt-free.

Enjoy PowerMoves’ Pilates in the Park, in every sense!

Written by Suzanne Lauridsen
for PowerMoves Pilates in the Park 🙂

Singapore Pilates Mat Exercises for Runners

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Runners usually exhibit great strength in their legs but may have issues with tightness in the hips, with lower back or knee pains, and/or problems with balance. Pilates exercises help runners improve on their core strength allowing them better posture while maintaining the balance in the muscles of the back and hips. Pilates also teaches runners proper breath control which help to increases their stamina and endurance.

The chosen exercises herein are beneficial to the runner because they challenge the core and emphasize the neutral positioning of the pelvis and hips. They also help correct postural imbalances, create flexibility and stretch the lower body.

For all exercises, remember to draw your shoulders down towards your hips and far from your ears, and keep your abdominal muscles engaged while long in the waist.

  • Side Lying Kick (stabilize hips, strengthen hip flexors, abdominals and back extensors)

Lie on one side leaning on the elbow of the lower arm with hands behind your head. Stabilise the bottom leg on the floor and hold the top leg at hip height. Minimise the rocking of your trunk by engaging your abdominal muscles. As you exhale, swing the top leg as far forward as possible with a flexed foot. On your inhale, swing the top leg as far back as possible while pointing your foot and elongating your leg. Keep your pelvis neutral and quiet throughout as you repeat the back-and-forth swing 12 times.

  • Leg circles (stabilize hips, stretch hamstrings, control hip flexors and lengthen hip abductors)

Lie on your back with arms out in a T-position. Legs are together, straight and slightly pointed. Exhale as you bend one leg in toward your chest and straighten it upward, perpendicular to the floor, foot flexed. Keep other leg and pelvis on the mat quiet and stable. Inhale as you circle the raised leg inward past the centre of your body, then down and around. Make your circle only as big as you can without moving your hips and pelvis. Exhale on the next circle, alternating the breathing on each circle. Repeat 10 times before switching to the other leg.

  • Swimming (thoracic extension, stabilize hips and strengthen back extensors)

Lie face down on mat with legs and arms. Inhale as you slowly lift right arm and left leg off mat as high as you can (extending fully your arms and legs away from each other in opposite directions). Hold for one count and then lower to start as you exhale. Repeat on opposite side and work up to 12 reps on each side.

  • Saw (strengthen back extensors, lengthen hamstrings and develop flexibility in rotation and flexion)

Sit upright with straight legs opened slightly beyond shoulder-width, feet flexed. Arms are in T-position reaching far out to the opposite sides. Inhale as you rotate your torso to face the side of room. Keep pelvis anchored as you move the arms and head with the trunk. On the exhale, reach forward long over the leg, left hand extending past small toe of right leg. Inhale to extend farther deepening the stretch of hanstrings and lower back. Exhale to pull yourself back up to sitting tall, rotate back to centre starting position and repeat to the other side. Work up to 6 reps on each side.

  • The Roll-Up (lengthen lower back muscles, articulate vertebrae and strengthen the core muscles)

Lie back with legs straight and arms extended overhead (but not touching the floor). Pull belly button in toward your spine. Exhale as you bring arms overhead and lift shoulder blades off the mat, curling all the way up until arms are parallel to legs. Exhale again as you slowly uncurl back to start. Do this 8 times.

  • Single Leg Kick (stabilize hips, strengthen back extensors and stretch hamstrings)

Lie prone engaging abdominal muscles, lift the chest and extend the back. Your legs are in a straight line behind you, lifted off the mat. Place your elbows directly under the shoulders, your lower arms parallel to each other. On the exhale, bend the right leg and pulse it twice. As you straighten the right leg, bend the left leg to pulse twice on the next exhale. Repeat the pulses while alternating legs working up to 10 sets of pulses each leg.

PowerMoves Pilates-in-the-Park

10 Tips to Looking and Feeling your Best

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1. Maintain Good Posture

Keep your neck long, your shoulders squarely down and back, your waist long, and your buttock muscles engaged. Having good posture throughout the day is important in maintaining your body’s equilibrium. Good posture gives you proper joint and muscle alignment and also improves your mobility and stability. It increases your breathing capacity and your body’s overall balance and symmetry.

2. Exercise

Commit yourself to small amounts of exercise at least thrice a week. Throw in a cardio workout that you consider fun. Turn up the music indoors and dance while doing your chores. Try brisk-walking in your favourite park or swimming a few laps before the mid-afternoon crash. Step up to moving more no matter what your choice.

3. Build up your abdominal muscles

Contract your abdominal muscles, lifting them in and up your spine. This creates a strong foundation built to withstand the weight of your body and the tasks of everyday living.

4. Strengthen your core

This is vital to achieve ideal alignment of your back and spine that results in a stronger, pain-free back, a more perfect posture and a more elongated you. It makes you appear younger, taller and lighter!

5. Do Pilates

Pilates exercises are great for strengthening and tightening your abdominal muscles. After 3 weeks of working on your abs with the following moves (tips 6, 7, 8), you will be pleased to find that your clothes fit you better around the waist, your stomach is more taut, you become more conscious of the way you hold yourself, and you look and feel wonderful.

6. The Hundred

Lie back with arms by your sides, legs extended in a table-top position. Pull belly button in toward the spine as you lift your shoulder blades off the mat bringing your chin to chest. While in this position, pulse your arms up and down for 100 counts (inhaling for 5 counts, exhaling for 5 counts).

7. Criss Cross

Lie back with your knees bent, fingers laced behind your head. Lift your shoulder blades off the mat and exhale to twist your right shoulder toward your left knee as you extend right leg out. Pause at the inhale and then exhale to twist to the other side. Work up to 15 reps on each side.

8. Plank

Lie face down with your legs extended, forearms resting on the mat shoulder-width apart, hands in fists. Tighten your abs, tuck toes under and lift your hips off the mat so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing normally and then lower to start. Rest before repeating 3 more times.

9. Maintain proper form

When doing your Pilates exercises, focus on doing the moves slowly and with a lot of control. Keep your shoulders away from your ears, your neck and chest relaxed. It is always more effective to do a few good moves than many haphazard ones.

10. You Are What You Eat

You are what you eat – cut back on sweets, fast food and anything deep-fried! Splurge on vegetables and fruits instead. Whole grains and lean protein are great too. Remember that proportion is key; take everything in moderation.

Hollywood celebrities are falling head over heels for Pilates — with a strong following from the likes of Madonna, Julia Roberts, Sharon Stone, Sandra Bullock, Gwenyth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Uma Thurman, Kate Hudson, Joan Collins, Jamie Lee Curtis, Elizabeth Hurley, Hugh Grant, Reese Witherspoon, Pippa Middleton — because Pilates works as your only anti-aging exercise form!

Sharing our best with you,
PowerMoves Pilates Singapore 🙂

Gym vs Pilates in Singapore

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Question:
I am already working out in a gym. Should I also be incorporating Pilates into my regular workout? Does it help me lose weight and how does it complement my regular gym regime?

Answer:
Pilates is important to do because it strengthens your ‘core’ muscles, the stabilizing muscles. The very muscles that hold you up.. giving you better posture to do your daily routine in, creating a strong centre in you so that you perform all tasks with ease and balance, ensuring that you live a pain-free existence because you are moving your body correctly. Pilates creates long, lean muscles in you while regular weight-training exercises builds short, bulky muscles. Pilates teaches you to connect your brain with your body, making all exercises you do more efficient and more effective.

Gym work can cause injuries while you are busy performing the reps and the routines without paying attention to good form, without being armed with the principles of correct movement and correct breathing. Investing in a series of Pilates fundamental classes will ensure that you learn the principles underlying how the body should be moving for optimal function and proper execution.. ruling out all eventuality of pain, injury or mishap.

Pilates can be challenging so that your heart is pumping in the target zone and you burn more calories in less time. This is however usually in the Intermediate classes of Pilates, for by then you would have developed strong awareness in moving rapidly through the exercises without losing proper form and you would have built a strong core that will take you from one exercise to the next with precision and control. No haphazard movements are allowed in Pilates.

The Pilates workout engages you both mentally and physically. Using Pilates principles learnt into your regular workout routine also enhances your regular gym regime because Pilates combines form with function, adds depth and proficiency, makes the difference between good and great! 🙂

Excitedly making the world a better place through Pilates,
PowerMoves Pilates in the Park

3 Weeks to Trim & Slim ~ Pilates Singapore

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Yes, it’s true that you can too! 3 weeks to trim and slim! We show you how:

Muscle cells are many times more metabolically demanding than fat cells. This means that the larger the percentage of muscle you have in your body, the faster your metabolic rate becomes. Even while you are at rest, your body will burn about 8 times more calories than normal.

Pilates weight-bearing exercises builds muscle mass and density helping you to burn more fat and calories; thus achieving your weight-loss and shape-up goals in half the time.

The workout: Do these moves as a group or incorporate them selectively into your current fitness routine, 3 to 4 times a week. Combine your workout programme with 15 to 30 minutes of your favourite cardio exercise at least 3 times a week. Eat healthy and reduce your regular portions by some and you will expect to see a tighter, slimmer you in 3 weeks!

Long Arm Crunch
(abdominals)

Lie face-up with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Interlace your fingers, extend arms above your head and pull your abs in. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, lift your arms, head and shoulder blades off the ground at the same time in a slow and controlled manner. Inhale to lower in 2 slow counts. Repeat 8 times.

Side Kick Kneeling
(quadriceps, glutes and abdominals)

Start by kneeling on both knees with your hands behind your head. Reach your left hand down to the mat and raise your right leg parallel to the mat. Your left hand is under your shoulder, your left hip over your left knee, your right elbow reaching to the ceiling. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, kick your right leg toward the front of the room and then toward the back of the room. Bring your leg back to centre and repeat 15 times before switching sides.

Bridge (with ball)
(hamstrings, buttocks and abdominals)

Lie face-up on the floor, knees bent, feet resting near the top of the ball, arms relaxed at your sides. Inhale to press your feet into the ball. Exhale as you engage your abdominals curling your tailbone and the rest of your spine off the floor until your shoulders, hips and knees form a straight line. Hold the ball for 5 breaths, lower and repeat 8 times.

Side Raise (with ball)
(obliques and hip muscles)

Kneel and press the right side of your body against the ball so your lower ribs and hips are leaning into it. Extend the right leg to the side, big toe touching the floor. Place tops of fingers on forehead, palms forward, elbows bent and wide. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, lift your torso up off the ball as high as you can, keeping abs firmly pulled in with left hip in contact with the ball. Slowly return to starting position and repeat 6 times before switching sides.

Lunge (with box)
(quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes)

Stand on a small box with your feet parallel, hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Inhale to prepare. On the exhale, slide your left leg back into a lunge. Lean your spine forward on a diagonal making a straight line from your head to your left foot. Simultaneously extend your arms forward at shoulder height, balancing your weight on your right leg while keeping your abs in. Do this 8 times before switching sides.

Step Up (with box)
(quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes)

Stand in front of the same box with your right foot on top of it, your hands on your hips. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, straighten your right knee and lift your body straight up extending your left leg behind you slightly. Inhale to lower to start. Repeat 8 times before switching sides.

From all your friends at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park 🙂