Pilates Contrology, The Complete Coordination Of Body, Mind, and Spirit

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Joseph Pilates first called his method Contrology; he referred to it as ‘the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit’. This is why we practise Pilates movement exercises with total attention and control. Exercising in this way allows the body and mind to unite bringing forth the most gain possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles of breathing, concentration, control, centering, precision and flow are key concepts that are used to integrate the body with the mind.

Unlike other forms of exercises, Pilates does not over-develop some parts of the body while neglecting the others. It is true that all Pilates exercises build on your core strength and focuses on training your body as an integrated whole. Pilates works to promote strength and balanced muscle development as well as flexibility and increased range of motion for the joints.

Pilates is a great foundation for all movements, including those in sports as well as those in daily activities. With its emphasis on core support and full-body fitness, the coordination of the mind with its breathing; Pilates provides the highest level of integrative fitness that is exceptional and extraordinary.

For starters, try the Pilates exercises listed here for specific needs that you may have. Practise them thrice a week, pair them with a sensible diet and expect to see dramatic results from the fourth week.

To improve your posture:

Swan Lie on the mat face down, keep your arms close to your body as you bend your elbows to bring your hands under your shoulders. Extend your shoulders away from the ears. Keep your legs together as you engage your abdominal muscles, lifting your belly button up and away from the mat. As you inhale, lengthen your spine, sending energy through the top of your head as you press your forearms and hands into the mat to support a long upward arc of the upper body. The elbows are close to the body, the head stays in line with the spine, and the hips stay on the mat. On the exhale, release the arc, lengthening your spine as your torso returns to the mat in a sequential way (low-belly, mid-belly, low-ribs until you are in prone position again). Repeat 6 times.

To look taller:

Spine Stretch Sit up tall on your sit bones, extend your legs about shoulder-width apart, flex your feet. Reach the top of your head to the ceiling as your shoulders stay relaxed. Inhale and extend your arms out in front of you, shoulder height. Exhale as you lengthen your spine to curve forward. You are going for a deep C-curve reaching as far forward with your arms as is comfortable. Keep your shoulders down as you reach your fingertips toward your toes. Initiate your return by using the lower abdominals to bring the pelvis upright. Roll up through the spine to sitting position. Repeat 6 times.

To achieve a smaller waistline:

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

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 as shown. Pause at the inhale and then exhale to twist to the other side. Work up to 15 reps on each side.

To lift your butt:

Single Leg Drops Lie on one side in a straight line with the bottom arm supporting your head up. The top arm is bent with hand placed on the mat. Keep your pelvis in a perpendicular line to the mat. Lift your top leg to hip height and flex your foot as you point your toes towards the mat in front. Imagine your big toe is touching a hot stove on the mat so you don’t want to stay there long. As soon as the toe taps the mat, it lifts off the mat again with the heel of foot reaching to the ceiling. Stay stable and square in the hips as you tap and lift your toes for 25 times without stopping. Breathe normally.

Pilates works on all your primary concerns as it strengthens your core. Almost instantly, you will appear a couple years younger, stand taller and look lighter! Expect also to be looking more poised and moving more gracefully in your every day movements. People will be coming up to you to ask for your new-found secret!

 🙂 🙂 🙂

Class bookings online at the MindBody app for POWERMOVES Pilates classes in Singapore :)

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Make your next Pilates class booking with us online – from your phone or any smart device! Sign in to MindBody online which can be found on www.powermoves.com.sg under CLASS BOOKINGS.

Look forward to seeing you in our Pilates classes today!!

Yours in fitness and wellness,
PowerMoves Pilates Lifestyle

Get Fit News ~ Shape August 2014

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Pilates exercises for runners with tight hamstrings.. Make your next run your best yet.. By following the Pilates Saw and Single Leg Kick as demonstrated here by Susie Chamberlain.. Pilates Instructor at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park 🙂

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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.

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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 🙂

Pilates in the Park welcomes 2010

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A wonderful, fit and healthy year ahead to one and all! 2010 promises to be a great year; one where all your resolutions are kept and all your personal goals are achieved. We wish you the most abundant of blessings and the most incredible of successes!

From everyone at PowerMoves Pilates in the Park :-*




PS Hey Claire & all your guys n gals at the office;
Appended below is the list of 3 Pilates stretching exercises that you have requested for, to be done at your desk to recharge yourselves and regain the energy needed to complete your work days:

Pilates Chair Twist
Sit on the front edge of a swivel chair, hands placed palms down on the desk. Squeeze your knees together tightly and lift your feet 3-4 inches off the floor. Without moving your chest that is facing forward while keeping your elbows close to your sides, begin twisting the chair from side to side. Perform 10-20 rotations like this.

Pilates Air Chair
Place the palms of your hands on the arms of the chair, press down hard to lift your buttocks off the seat of the chair and hold yourself in mid-air for a count of 3. Make sure your tummy is pulled in. With your knees tightly squeezed together, try picking your feet off the floor. Lower completely after another count of 3. Take care not to slip on arms of chair. Perform this lift-and-lower 5 times.

Pilates Knee Stretch
Sit on the front of your chair, press the heels of your hands down on the chair by your sides to help lift yourself from your waistline. Alternate lifting your knees as high as you can for as long as you can, one at a time. Extend your leg straight with the lifted knee while keeping your back straight and your tummy in. Perform this 10 times on each side.

Hugzz 🙂

Good Hindsight with Pilates in the Park

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How do I lose weight on my butt? That is one of the most common questions I get from female readers. Some say they never lose weight in that area despite all the exercise they do. Others have never done any exercise for that region and want to know what to do.

Well, Pilates Director Claudel Kuek is walking proof that exercise does build great gluteal muscles – the official term for “butt” – and she shares some of her best exercises here.

Claudek Kuek, 45, who runs PowerMoves Pilates And Dance Studio in lush Bishan Park, is all for the “reshaping of our backsides”. “The Pilates exercises demonstrated here target the hips and buttocks…and they may be the only way you can get rid of cellulite and dimples for good,” she says.

“You will still need to keep the abdominal muscles sucked in as you work on your derriere. Remember to keep your hips perpendicular to the floor when doing the floor exercises.”


PILATES SIDE LEG KICKS

Lie on your right side, arms behind your head and head propped up by your right elbow. Stabilise your right leg on the floor and hold the left leg at hip-height.

Minimise the rocking of your trunk by engaging your abdominal muscles. As you exhale, swing the left leg as far forward as possible with a flexed foot. As you inhale, swing the left leg as far back as possible while pointing your foot and elongating your leg.

Keep your pelvis straight as you repeat the back-and-forth swing 15 times. Repeat on the other side.


PILATES SIDE LEG DROPS

Lie on your right side, body in a straight line and head propped up with the right hand. Place your left hand in front of you. Keeping your pelvis perpendicular to the mat, lift your left leg to hip-height and flex your foot as you point your toes down towards the front.

Imagine your big toe touching a hot stove on the floor so you do not want to stay in that position for long. As soon as the toe taps the floor, lift it off with the heel of the foot pointing towards the ceiling. Stay stable and square in the hips as you tap and lift your toes 25 times while you breathe normally. Repeat on the other side.


PILATES SINGLE-LEG SKATING

Inhale as you stand on the foot platform of the Reformer (a pilates machine found in most pilates studios) with your right leg and place your left foot on the front edge of the carriage.

Squat deeply on the right leg, keeping your entire weight on it while placing your hands on your hips. As you exhale, straighten the left leg completely by pushing the carriage away. Keep your right leg stable, your trunk upright and your pelvis level.

Inhale as you return to the start position. Do 15 repetitions on each foot.


Fitness Article by Pradeep Paul

PowerMoves Pilates Studio in the Park


Singapore’s Pilates Stretch Exercises for your Legs and Feet

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If you are anything like me, you love wearing the season’s most coveted high heels. Beautiful as they are to the touch and to the sight, these heels throw one’s postural alignment off-center causing an imbalance which leads to stiff and strained muscles. Rest assured, we have developed the following Pilates stretch exercises to ease the aches and pains that come with the constant wearing of your favourite high heels.

Throughout these movements, do ensure that your spine is lifted and your shoulders are rolling back and down towards your hips. Lift up and out of your back as you keep your abdominal muscles contracted (engaged).

1. Foot Muscle Stretcher

Sit forward and on the edge of your chair with your legs hip-distance apart and at 90-degree angles. Place a dish towel on the floor in front of your toes. Keep your heels touching the floor throughout as you stretch your toes over the towel and begin by curling your toes to roll the towel and gather it up. When you have the entire towel in a roll (scroll), reverse the exercise by unrolling the towel until it is flat in front of you again. Remember to breathe!

2. Foot-ankle Muscle Lengthener

Sit on the floor as you stretch your legs straight out in front of you. Point both of your feet as strongly as possible, then flex them back as far as you can. Imagine pressing your toes to the touch-screen button and then using your heels to do the same. Do this a few timeswhile breathing calmly and deeply.

3. Calf Strengthener

Standing tall on your feet, heels together, toes apart. Contract your abdominal muscles as you inhale and slowly rise up to your toes. Ensure that your heels are glued together. Press your inner thighs together to engage your buttocks and backs of legs even more. Hold for a count of 3 as you remain in tip-toe position. You may lightly touch the back of chair or wall for support. Exhale as you slowly lower yourself back down to the floor. Complete 5 sets.

Yours in vanity fitness,

Claudel Kuek