Category

Pilates

Recover then build: How Pilates has helped our clients

One of our case studies is Jonathan Foreman, 56, a company director who after illness and injury wanted to get fit for waterskiing.

Why did you start with Pilates Studio Suffolk?
I slipped a disc doing an inane movement and was in agony.  It was the day before I went to Canada for a month’s holiday so that was a massive shame and waste.
The pain and inconvenience it caused made me promise myself that this could never happen again! I asked people for recommendations and the doctor and physiotherapist recommended Pilates.  After asking around I was directed to Pilates Studio Suffolk.

Please describe your experience with Pilates Studio Suffolk.
I discovered immediately that Millie wanted me to get stronger and more flexible . Not just to have me turn up and take my money . She helped me make the correct level of muscle activation and movement so I would recover and then build. Some of the exercises were more about concentration rather than physical efforts and from the start I felt the benefits and really felt good about myself.

What are the benefits you mentioned ?
I had been ill for a long time and had become really weak; I was feeling my age, and if I am hones, I think I was feeling a bit down about it all. I have fun at the classes and I am considerably stronger and more capable because of them. I am running and cycling which before would just leave me with injuries.  And I even took up waterskiing which really puts a lot of work on the body. I feel great.

Would you recommend Pilates Studio Suffolk?
Yes I would, Millie is devoted to getting people to be as good as they can be so you definitely get results. I wish I had gone decades ago. I think it is a vital class to take for any age group, and the antidote to ageing and age related disease is exercise & balanced meals, a social life and using your mind.  At least I have the exercise part sorted and Pilates also helps stimulate the mind.

Pilates for life: One never gets bored

I was introduced to Millie Dobie by a physiotherapist who had been treating my very troublesome back and I have been very thankful for this for the last twenty years.   Millie with her Pilates exercises has really kept me mobile and able to travel and live a normal life, including operations for two new knees with excellent results.   Millie has given me different exercises so one never gets bored and of course keeps all the muscles going, though I have been good and kept the exercises going the rest of the week, not virtue just thoughts of a wheelchair.   She is always cheerful and never cross just rather sad and disappointed if you didn’t keep them up and I always felt far more cheerful after my classes.   Now thanks to illness and age (almost 90) I’ve had to give them up and I have found that tiresome saying ‘Use it or loose it’ ringing only too true.

We are hiring: Group Reformer Teacher

We are looking for a trained Reformer Pilates teacher who can run small group classes of 4 at the beginner, mixed ability and intermediate level.

Our fully equipped studio is located at The Cut, Halesworth. It’s a wonderfully diverse space filled with creative businesses and arts events all year round. Our studio is privately located on the top floor with lovely views over the roof-tops of Halesworth. We also have the dance studio with dance barres and mirrored wall which is great for the group exercise classes. All this is located 10 minutes from the busy seaside resort of Southwold.

Pilates Studio Suffolk Launch

We’re rebranding…

New Year…New Name

From Jan 4th 2019 you will see a new logo for Pilates Studios Suffolk.  Don’t worry; it’s still us
I am not removing my service but separating my name to allow for other teachers and classes to step in and provide even more of the studio work I’ve been building over the last 2.5 years.
The same small group and client care you’ve grown accustomed to, will continue as always.

Aerial Yoga Workshops

I have wanted to bring Aerial Yoga to the studio for a while now and I am delighted to finally be able to release a date of when the first workshops will be.  It’s been a long time coming as the research, training, ordering the swings and then finally the practicalities of attaching the swings into the dance studio have all been time consuming activities.

Aerial Yoga will give you a new found way to explore the capabilities of your body and mind in a weightless, free-hanging environment.  It has all the benefits you get from your Pilates and Yoga practice already, all rolled into one, with a greatly reduced stress on joints, bones and muscles.

Aerial Yoga will be in two hourly workshops starting from 6th January, 2019.  There are 13 spaces available.

Sunday, 6th Jan:  Introduction to Aerial Yoga.  1pm-3pm. £25

Sunday, 10th Feb:  Aerial Yoga for Stress.  1pm-3pm. £25

Sunday, 10th March:  Aerial Yoga Inversions.  1pm-3pm. £25

All workshops will be in The Dance Studio.  The Cut, Halesworth

Introduction to Aerial Yoga

This class will be suitable for beginners and will cover a basic variety of moves. It’s your chance to discover how moving in the swing feels, and try out yoga poses that you are probably more used to at ground level.

Aerial Yoga for Stress

This workshop will be a slow moving, deep breathing, stress reducing indulgence.  The swing is a perfect place to hang out and let all the stresses of the body and mind ebb away.  Expect gentle poses that make you smile and relax.

Aerial Yoga Inversions

This is what you’ve all been waiting for, a chance to explore your ground inversions in the safety and free hanging environment of the swing.  Don’t be fooled that the swing will do all the work, though.  You’ll need a good level of core strength an understanding of inversions for this workshop.  You must bring your focus and concentration that you know from your Pilates or Yoga practice to be able to achieve great things in this workshop.

Booking available through the website.

Email [email protected] for further information.

Come and enjoy the weightless experience where you’ll be massaged by the swing into a lovely new, invigorating, relaxing and energising practice.

PILATES CONSULTATION: FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN GET THE RESULTS THAT YOU WANT.

Many people have lots of questions when it comes to starting Pilates and sometimes have preconceived ideas about what it is and what it does.  Pilates is a safe and accessible practice that focuses on building strength, flexibility, improving posture and enhancing mental awareness.  It is suitable for all bodies of all ages.

A large equipment Studio is a very different environment to the familiar mat-based classes you may be accustomed to, so your enquiry will be followed up by an initial phone consultation in order to understand your needs, why you are considering joining the Studio, what you want to achieve from it and to determine if the studio and its classes are the right ‘fit’ for you.

After this consultation, and if you decide you want to move forward, a one-to-one, more in-depth consultation takes place in the studio*.  This will be an assessment of where you are currently and what your Pilates goals are. You will be introduced to the different pieces of studio equipment. Learn about the different types of classes on offer and how they differ.  This consultation allows us to build a bespoke private tuition programme or a bespoke programme of group classes that would best suit your needs and level at this point in time.

 

*Studio consultation is 1 hour and costs £10 which is discounted on joining the Studio

Rehab Sports Injury Pilates with Mogul Skier Leonie Gerken Schofield

Leonie Gerken Schofield is a medal-winning mogul skier winning the Europa Cup twice, once in 2013 and once in 2017 with many medal winning awards in between.

She started skiing at the age of five but her career has been troubled with many injuries including two knee operations, a dislocated shoulder and most recently (in April) she broke one of her vertebrae and has been going through rehabilitation to get back to the skiing squad ever since.

Leonie came to me after suffering the spinal fracture and had spent 3 months in a back brace.  With poor trunk stability, mild scoliosis as a result of the brace and a couple of months to get back up to speed, Pilates rehab work was the perfect choice.   

Unlike other forms of rehabilitation exercise, reformer Pilates doesn’t require rest days in between, you can see the benefits of the work you put in in just a few weeks. The more work you put in the more you get out of it. 

Leonie was a model client working hard in her sessions with me and doing all I required her to do outside the studio.

“No words can describe how great Millie is at her job! She is passionate and loves helping others!… Thanks to Millie I have gained so much in just a couple of weeks…I couldn’t be happy enough on discovering Pilates with Millie, it has been amazing and shown me all the positives from this injury! Thank you so much Millie!”

“Pilates is definitely the best physical fitness for any injury and and sport!”

Sicily Active Holidays

August Sicily Holiday Offer

I am so excited to be able to share with you this fantastic opportunity coming up in August.  I have joined forces with Mike McKone and Marina Thomas of Sicily Active Holidays to bring you a week of not only relaxation, enjoyment of the the stunning views of Sicily that overlook the slopes of Mount Etna, yoga and mindfulness but Pilates with me as well.

This holiday will be from 25th August – 1st Septemeber

It’s only £1195 per person, and if you consider that that includes your fresh, local food & wine for the week, your luxury accommodation, daily Yoga, Pilates & Meditation, and on top of that use of the tennis courts and sauna, it’s really is a fantastic deal.

There is a maximum capacity of 16 people so it really will feel like a lovely, friendly, fun and relaxing get away.

Flights and transfers aren’t included, however, but we can arrange transfers for you upon request.

Massage and beauty treatments also available for that extra treat.

How many holidays can you go on and come back feeling nourished, toned, relaxed and fulfilled? All that expertly guided movement practice and exercise alongside the best Mediterranean food really is a treat for the body and soul.

Please email to reserve your place.

So What Exactly IS The Fascia?

fascia

fascia

At whatever stage of your Pilates journey you may be at you’ll likely have heard me mention your fascia – especially those of you who attend my Zenga Flow class – or something called ‘Myofascial release’.  Fascia is a word that has been getting increasing mainstream attention recently, yet is still generally misunderstood. So what exactly is our Fascia – and why is it so important?

What is your Fascia?

In essence, your fascia is one big continuous net that surrounds everything in our bodies, including our skeleton, muscles, nervous system and organs. The term is derived from Latin and means ‘band’, or ‘bandage’.

Thomas Myers, author and thought leader in fascial systems describes the fascia as:

‘…the biological fabric that holds us together, the connective tissue network. You are about 70 trillion cells – neurons, muscle cells, epithelia – all humming in relative harmony; fascia is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey, and wet proteins that binds them all together in their proper placement.’

Recent research has shed light on just how much fascia matters, from affecting range of motion in joints to the role it can play in injury prevention and healing. Like the musculoskeletal system, the fascial system changes in response to repeated stress and injury, and small changes in the fascia in one area of the body can ripple out and affect the body as a whole.

Why is my Fascia so important?

Grab hold of the collar of your shirt and give it a little tug. Your whole shirt responds, right? Your collar pulls into the back of your neck. The tail of your shirt inches up the small of your back. Your sleeves move up your forearms. Then it falls back into place. That’s a bit like fascia. It fits like a giant, body-hugging T-shirt over your whole body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and crisscrossing back and forth and through and back again. You can’t move just one piece of it, and you can’t make a move without bringing it along.

Now, pull the collar of your shirt again, only this time, hold onto it for eight hours. That’s about the time you spend leaning forward over a desk or computer or steering wheel, right? Now, pull it 2,500 times. That’s about how many steps you’d take on a half-hour run. Your shirt probably isn’t looking too good at this point.

Fortunately, your fascia is tougher than your shirt is, and it has infinitely more self-healing properties. In its healthy state it’s smooth and supple and slides easily, allowing you to move and stretch to your full length in any direction, always returning back to its normal state. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that your fascia maintains its optimal flexibility, shape or texture. Lack of activity will cement the once-supple fibers into place. Chronic stress causes the fibers to thicken in an attempt to protect the underlying muscle. Poor posture and lack of flexibility and repetitive movements pull the fascia into ingrained patterns. Adhesions form within the stuck and damaged fibers like snags in a sweater, and once they’ve formed they’re hard to get rid of. Hard, but not impossible.

How can I look after my fascia?

Education
Pilates is one of the best known movement therapies. Dancers and gymnasts have long embraced movement therapy. They use verbal cues, light touch and simple exercises to lessen the unconscious destructive movement patterns that may be irritating their fascia.

Respect your body
If you’re attempting to run through an injury, or returning from one with a limp, beware: Your fascia will respond to your new mechanics and, eventually, even after your injury is gone, you may maintain that same movement pattern. That’s a recipe for an injury cycle. It’s better to take some extra time than to set yourself up for long-term trouble.
Do a variety of activities instead of just one. If you just walk your body gets adapts to a certain pattern and this is detrimental to your fascia. Continually do a wide variety of different activities such as walking, swimming – and of course, Pilates! Zenga Flow especially is fabulous for stretching and conditioning the Fascia gently and creating Myofascial release.

Stretch your fascia
Once your fascia has tightened up, it doesn’t want to let go. Because the average fascia can withstand up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, you’re not going to force your way through, so you need to stretch gently.

Fascia also works in slower cycles than muscles do, both contracting and stretching more slowly. To stretch the fascia, hold gentle stretches for three to five minutes, relaxing into a hold.

Stretch your muscles
When you hold your muscles tight, the surrounding fascia tightens along with them. Over time the fascia becomes rigid, compressing the muscles and the nerves.

Move it or lost it
Sticky adhesions form between fascia surfaces that are not moved regularly. Over time these adhesions get strong enough to limit your range of motion. Take a few minutes first thing in the morning to roll around in bed and really stretch out, head to toe, just like a cat after a nap.

Stay lubricated
Just like every other tissue and organ in your body, your fascia is made of water. It works better, moves better and feels better when it’s hydrated. So, drink up.

Relax
If you spend all day tense and tight at a desk, 15 to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom salt bath can coax a tight fascia to loosen up, releasing your muscles from their stranglehold. Make sure to follow it up with 10 minutes of light activity to keep blood from pooling in your muscles.

Common Pilates Mistakes (& how to fix them)

Learning how to get the most out of your pilates practise means learning how to avoid the most common pilates mistakes.

Not Breathing Correctly

The majority of Pilates exercises are intended to flow and coincide with your breath. The movements of the spine and sequence of the exercises are worked around this concept. This is in order for the new oxygen to nourish the muscles and blood while clearing out the old, stale air on the exhale.

You should be able to breathe while using the muscles in your abdomen, because breathing happens in the lungs. It is not a case of needing to suck in or hardening your stomach, it’s about stabilising your pelvis and breathing in alignment. Many people new to Pilates find that it really helps to practice a gentle lift of the lower belly and a deep breath into the entire ribcage.  A great way to learn this is by lying on your back, knees bent, feeling the inhale in the sides of the ribcage while allowing the back ribs to gently expand into the mat.

Pilates is fundamentally about the health, integrity, strength and flexibility of the spine. While in the same supine position described above, some people new to breath awareness find it helpful to feel the very subtle movements of the spine as they inhale and exhale.

Expecting to get it right first time

Pilates is a practice and often involves ‘un-learning’ old habits and patterns that are often the reason we turn to pilates in the first place. The best students are those who are opne minded and ready to give it a chance. The beauty of a practice is that it evolves and changes over time, but is always consistent.

Trying too hard

The idea of pilates is to let the core do what it’s meant to do – stabilize and provide a foundation for other muscles to rely on so they don’t have to over-work.

Overdoing the muscular effort cheats us out of working our deeper, stabilising muscles. Sometimes less effort allows the right muscles to work and other muscles to soften and release tension.

Any muscular tension, knotting, gripping, or cramping is a good sign you are trying too hard in one particular area. The key is to let go, regroup, and reconnect with your core and purpose of the movement, and then proceed more mindfully.

With practice you will learn that it’s possible to relax and yet still strengthen your body at the same time.

Momentum

The idea of Pilates is to control with your muscles – which is the opposite of momentum. In fact, Joe Pilates originally called his practise Contrology! He taught the art of mindfully controlling movements. The movements can be done as quickly as one can control them. Do your best to not swing, fling, or jerk into any movement. On the Pilates apparatus the springs encourage you to control the movements. With the mat work it’s different because you need to create your own imaginary sensation of resistance. Hold on with the core as you extend away from it with control, as with the side kicks or leg circles.

Distractions

Try to keep distractions to a minimum so that you can get the most out of your session, whether at home by yourself or with an instructor. If there is something stressing you out, or you have a list of things that need to get done, or you are worried you might forget something, write your thoughts or tasks down and try to forget about them for your Pilates time. Come back to it after with a new perspective.

Forgetting what you core really is

Your core is not just your stomach. It’s the deep muscles of your abdomen, your ribcage, back, shoulder blades, hips, buttocks, and pelvic floor. Just because someone has a rippling six pack does not necessarily mean they have a strong core. Your core is the foundation and base for other movements. Joe Pilates called the core the powerhouse for this very reason. Having a strong core promotes good alignment which in turn prevents peripheral muscles from overworking and straining.

Leaving what you’ve learnt in the studio

Whether it be improving your balance, a particular sport such as running, relieving joint or muscle pain or rehabilitation from pregnancy and childbirth, Pilates can help you in every aspect of your life.That is why I always take the time to have a full and thorough consultation with my clients, to learn how their practise can continue to help them after they’ve walked out of my studio door.

Even if you sit at a desk all day long, the principles you learn in Pilates can help you to sit and stand with more strength, balance and alignment.

Pilates can help you way beyond your workout.