How To Correct Posture With Pilates

The fact is, no one has a perfect posture.  Yes, there are those who benefit from a more aligned spine and therefore a better posture, but everyone has to who work at it, and Pilates provides the perfect mechanisms to do that.  So what is Pilates and how can it help everyone, including athletes?  Pilates is strength, flexibility and control of the body.  To quote Joseph Pilates (Founder of Pilates) “A man is as young as his spinal column”.



Joseph Pilates grew up in Dusseldorf, Germany in the 1880s.  He was unfortunately a sickly child who suffered numerous asthma attacks as well as rheumatic fever, which left him with an underdeveloped bone structure as well as distorted limbs.  Joseph refused to let his health situation dictate his physical and mental capabilities, working hard to produce exercises that would correct and strengthen his body.  The first of these exercises is more commonly referred to as mat work, later known as ‘The Art of Contrology.’  Evolving the exercise regime after 1st world war, Joseph worked in a hospital in The Isle of Man, helping the bedridden and wounded by strengthening their bodies and muscles, getting them mobile once again.  Using bedsprings attached to a bedframe helped the wounded move more freely, whilst keeping their muscles toned.  This equipment later developed to what is now referred to as a ‘Cadillac’.



Posture is not just a matter of standing up straight, it may also affect good health.  When organs are not working to their full potential, balance may be disturbed and the spine may incur injuries.  Poor posture is not always down to habit, although repeating certain movement repetitively, can have an effect on the spine’s alignment.  It may be due to the way a spine curves, for example:

  • Lordosis – extended curvature of the lower back, which may cause lower back pain.
  • Abnormal Kyphosis- affecting the dorsal area and commonly referred to as a hunchback, includes back pain, muscle exhaustion and stiffness.
  • Scoliosis – sideward curvature of the spine. Symptoms may include, leaning to one side, ribs sticking out to one side, or uneven shoulders, which may cause clothes not to fit correctly.  Adults often suffer from back pain caused by this affliction. (please note there are several types of scoliosis from genetic to habitual)
  • Swayback – hypermobility beyond normal range gives the appearance of a swayback. This issue may cause chronic back pain.
  • Flatback – lower back loses its natural curvature, which may cause severe back pain.



Partaking in Pilates on a regular basis can offer the following benefits: healthy spine, even shoulders and hips and body weight dispersed evenly on both sides of the body.  Initial work consists of a combination of floor work (mat) and the reformer which is a resistance carriage that moves back and forth along a track making the subject work within the apportioned space helping align the spine and strengthening the body.  In some studios selected exercises may be introduced on the Cadillac, a table with springs which enables a person to exercise with the support of springs. The classical Pilates method is good for everyone, including athletes who want to improve their performance.  Pilates will develop their alignment, muscle configuration, endurance, improve flexibility, and help coordination and balance, all aiding the prevention of injuries and potentially improving the body’s longevity.

Whether the class is a group or a private lesson, it is all about technique. Athletes have experienced many benefits from the Pilates methods, some of which include:


  • Increased flexibility
  • Muscle efficiency and balance
  • Strength
  • Increased mobile movement
  • Cognitive focus


Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair
Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair


Pilates is different from many exercise regimes because it concentrates on a whole body approach, using the core (the spine and surrounding muscles) as the key to strengthen muscles, align posture, and rescue internal organs from damage.  Once the posture and the core start to correct, breathing, circulation, strength and mobility follow.  Classical Pilates has many positive attributes for those who want to improve physical performance, as well as benefit health.  The one thing Pilates possesses that no other method has is the ability to protect the body’s core, whilst pushing expectations and achieving results that a person may have not thought possible, especially those who have notably suffered from poor posture.

Being precise in movement is the key to success, so be sure to research a well established Pilates venue. To read more about the benefits of Pilates in athletes, please follow this link




Harvard Health

American Family Physician



Yoga Is A Way To Explore Strength, Peace, And Harmony

The origins of yoga are shrouded in mystery, from its oral teachings to its historical text.  Dating back at least 10,000 years, it was practiced by religions, which may have had a foundation in Hinduism.  So why are we so fascinated by yoga and what makes it extremely popular in today’s society?

Yoga is no fitness fad, it’s a way of life and an outlook that many follow.  It was first introduced to the western world in the 1880s, as historical teachings.   Much later, it was expanded to include physical practice in the 1950s.  From that time to the present, yoga has grown in popularity, with many types of yoga to suit different lifestyles and needs.  Breaking down its methodology gives an overall view of its benefits:  karma yoga (action), to jnana yoga (wisdom).


Many turn to yoga looking for physical accomplishment and possibly body transformation.  Soon realizing that yoga is much more than just the physical action.  The practice has many styles, some of which include Iyengar, which focuses on precision and anatomical alignment and Vinyasa, which is a fun form of yoga poses, to rhythmic pattern.  Yin yoga, is also very popular today, focusing on lengthening and conditioning the body, whist calming the mind.  This yoga is great for those who want to master both patience and inner physical strength. Bikram yoga, commonly referred to as hot yoga, was born out of traditional hatha yoga.  This form of action yoga is currently very prevalent with the practice room heated to a balmy 95-108˚F.  The heat is believed to cleanse, focus and warm the body, so strengthening and lengthening the muscles is easier.  Action yoga in general claims many health benefits, some of which include:


  • Strengthening of body core and muscles
  • Weight reduction
  • Enriched organ health
  • Increasing spine flexibility
  • Easing arthritis
  • Improving balance
  • Regulating metabolism, while improving digestion


Although yoga combines physical and spiritual strength in all its teachings, wisdom yoga is the mental segment of yoga.  An example is Himalayan yoga, which is based in sacred texts and Vedic knowledge.  To crudely put it, this is a collection of sacred mantras and hymns.  Recited aloud, these mantras/hymns are an ancient comprehension of the scientific makeup of our planet.  Today we could categorize this as philosophy.


Osho is a form of wisdom yoga that uses meditation techniques to rid the ego and escape modern day pitfalls of self centeredness and materialism.  Restorative yoga focuses on healing and relaxation.  Many of these practices have been used to develop modern day yoga classes, one of which even includes a laughter class, which focuses on its benefits as a therapeutic release.  Wisdom yoga and its practices, have been used in schools, to calm and focus children’s attention.  In the workplace, wisdom yoga can help center creativity and enlighten thought.  Many of the claimed health benefits for this type of yoga include:


  • Stress relief
  • Greater personal energy
  • Focus
  • Happiness
  • Self Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Freedom of inhibition


Making time for your own body and mind is crucial, so why not become a “yogi” (a playful term endearing someone who practices yoga).  Whatever the stated health benefits are, yoga is a way to explore strength, peace, and harmony in today’s high pressure society.


To read more about yoga, check out



Wave Bye-Bye to Anxiety and Say Hello Yoga to Reduce Stress

Are you done being stressed out? Yoga to reduce stress is your saviorHello!  It’s time to introduce yourself to a proven means of relaxation. As a result, bid anxiety buh-bye! Most of all, you’ve got so many types of practices available, there’s sure to be a style that will fit your needs.

Y Yoga?

Seems like, your goal is to lower your anxiety levels. Probably, you can do this through delegating your workload or exercising. Maybe, you can cut down on caffeine, meditate, and/or utilize several other coping skills as well. Most remarkably, yoga not only helps reduce stress.  Especially relevant, it’s beneficial in so many other ways. Some are:

  • Improves flexibility
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Increases strength
  • Relieves pain
  • Assists with weight management
  • Improves circulation
  • Conditions cardiovascular system
  • Lowers blood pressure

What Type of Yoga is Right for Me?

First of all, in general, yoga is a practice that combines physical movement with attention to the breath. Yet, the focus is on creating calm and balance in the body and mind. Much as, yoga connects the body’s physical poses with mindful breathing in an attempt to shut down the noise in the mind. Consequently, anxiety levels are decreased and stress-reduction rules.

Especially relevant is choosing a style of yoga that is personal to you. Only you can know which type is preferable or can benefit you the most. So, below you can read brief descriptions of several common, various practices. They are:

  • Ashtanga
  • Iyengar
  • Bikram
  • Hatha
  • Kundalini


Hence, there are numerous styles of yoga to reduce stress from which to choose. As a result, others you may learn about and/or practice are: Restorative, Yin, Jivamukti, Pranayama, Ananda, Kripalu, Sivananda, Power yoga, among more.

Almost, with any class or practice, you will want to be as comfortable as possible. This would include wearing loose fitting tops or particular yoga clothing. Also, wearing your hair back will help when stretching or maintaining certain poses. In addition, having your own yoga mat is helpful for hygiene and personal comfort.

Ashtanga (pronounced Osh-tong’-uh)

Ashtanga yoga moves pretty quickly from one pose to the next. Another key here is the inhaling and exhaling of breath with each move. As a result, this style of yoga to reduce stress focuses on a series of poses linked by a specific way to breathe. Repeating certain movements like down-dog and push-ups can get you seriously strong in no time!


Iyengar (pronounced Ay-en’-gahr)

Many times, this yoga class is fairly slow-paced. That doesn’t mean it’s easy! It’s just that the Iyengar approach pays incredible attention to every detail of every fine movement and pose. This is a great style if you have injuries or are pregnant because it focuses on safety and meticulousness.


Bikram (pronounced Bih’ krum)

The main thing to note about Bikram yoga is the heat. Classes are held in rooms that are specifically set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Include in that, 40% humidity. That’s some sweaty space. Yogis are expected to go through 26 different poses twice. Fortunately, the second time around, the poses are only held for a third of the time they’re held on the first go-around.


Hatha (pronounced Hah’-thuh or Hah’-tuh)

Hatha yoga to reduce stress focuses on strengthening the body-mind connection. Your body’s energy is the focal point. Mainly, it consists of obtaining balance. “Ha” means sun and “Tha” means moon. The essence is about combining all systems. Thus, relaxation is the target goal. Stretching, deep breathing, and meditation are all emphasized.


Kundalini (pronounced Koon’-duh-lee-nee)

We all have chakras, energy centers, according to Eastern healers. The chakras (pronounced shock’-rahs) in our body hold our life force. If they get “locked” or “clogged”, we may become physically and/or spiritually ill. Kundalini yoga to reduce stress works on unlocking blockages through yoga poses and emphasizing focus on the breath. This style aims to reawaken your life force. May your force reunite with you!


Regardless of the style of yoga you practice, the goal is to regain and maintain positive health. Certainly, stress-reduction is a step in the proper direction. If yoga is the catalyst for healthy renewal, why not give it a go?


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