Olympic Form

Nick McCrory, front, and diving partner David Boudia both do Pilates.

My client hesitates at the door as I greet her before the lesson is about to begin.  “Oh no, did you stay up watching the Olympics again?  You have an evil look that usually means you are going to make me do something crazy!”

She knows me well. This week, I’ve been coming into the studio inspired by the strength and beauty of the athletes, wondering how to transform the Ladder Barrel into a Pommel Horse, who can swing off the Cadillac frame like the Fab 5 on Parallel Bars, and which one of my lucky clients wants to try leaping off the roof and onto the Chair for Pike.  Okay, maybe we won’t try the last one….yet!

The list of Olympic athletes who include Pilates as part of their training crosses national lines.  Our champion Nick McCrory, who won bronze for Men’s Synchronized 10 Meter Platform Diving, says, “I really enjoy it (Pilates) because aside from just the strength that you build, it really teaches body awareness and coordination, which is essential to diving.”

Of course, you don’t have to have the skill of an Olympic athlete to experience the tremendous benefits of Pilates, but you can simulate their moves.  We’ll just do it on safer ground…

Take away the element of diving in the air, competing for your country and millions of viewers watching, and you have Rolling like a Ball.

Picture a: Sit with your arms wrapped around your legs, holding on above your ankles or behind your knees. Pull your heels in as close to your glutes as possible. Lift your feet off the floor, round your back, and look down at your belly button.

Picture b and c:  Pull your stomach muscles in and roll back to your shoulder blades.

Picture d:  Return up and hold your balance, keeping your feet off the floor. Inhale to roll back, Exhale to come up.

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At the Core of Pilates Encore

In the midst of moving and reorganizing storage boxes during our remodel, I came across this picture, a postcard of a Pilates studio in LA that I had framed almost 10 years ago.  I picked it up at my first Pilates trade show when I first started teaching.  I casually thought if I one day could have my own studio, it would look like the one in this picture and I would call it “Ola Kino Pilates.”  Ola Kino is Hawaiian for “health and well being.”

I kept this picture at my desk and through the years it moved into a drawer to make room for an office computer, files, and a reception area for my very own clients to sign in.  Then the picture shifted into a box to make more room for studio business cards, budget plans, and bills. Since I framed that picture almost a decade ago, I went from working at various studios around the county to growing and building a Pilates business that I call, “Pilates Encore.” My studio outgrew the vision I had in that picture frame.  Not only did I choose the name “Pilates Encore” for the phonetic play on “on core,” but also because I wanted to offer additional services that clients would want more of. Encore is defined as “a piece additional to that of a program or presentation as called for by the audience.”

This is my studio today!!

So with this philosophy, I made a commitment to begin to consciously explore different ways to enhance our overall well being. And not just in fitness, but in all areas women (and men too!) care about:  health, love, relationships and dealing with life in general. At our studio, we are always sharing clever tips, home remedies and new insights.  I love finding out about stuff, how it all connects, and the glorious discovery that comes from looking inward and realizing that it all makes sense.

Best of all, I love sharing what I learn.  Please join me. My hope is that we can inspire each other to get to a better place mind, body and spirit. Ola Kino!

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