Happy Vegan Feast Thursday. Thursday is in many ways my favorite day of the week. It’s always been a light work day (and even though I LOVE my work, I am still human and LOVE my days off) and today, with clients out of town, its a NO work day. Last night, when I finished training with Erica, I found my big red furry guy, Blaze, limping again! Its been almost 2 and half years since his ACL injury and he has been doing SO well these past few months, that his limp had basically disappeared and he has been taking long daily walks, sometimes even running. I have NO idea what he did to himself last night, but I am sick about it and am anxious to see how he is when he finally gets up from his bed this morning. I think it’s back to reading books, (he loves that, honestly–and yes, Clifford the Big Red Dog is his favorite) massage and gentle range of motion exercises. Thankfully he still remembers what “bend” and “stretch” mean. In the meantime I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that maybe it was just a cramp last night…..We all get those sometimes.
Let’s go back to our earlier in the week talk of Pilates. With the history under our belt, let’s move on to the 6 principles that this incredible discipline is based upon. Depending upon what you read, where you train or who’s class you take, they sometimes change the wording, but this is what I was taught and how I practice:
CONCENTRATION: This is a no brainer. It’s really hard to think about anything else when you are focusing on the other 5 principles.
CENTERING: All movements come from the center of the body, or what Joseph called “the Powerhouse.” Regardless of what the postures are, they are all driven from the center. Drawing our navel to our spine with every exhalation helps keep us centered.
CONTROL: Every movement is done with control. Nothing is haphazard. Attention is given to controlling EVERY part of the body.
PRECISION: This one, to me, goes hand in hand with control. Attention to detail is paramount. As we move through the exercises we are thinking “where are my hips, where is my head, where are my toes, etc….”
FLUIDITY: Not only are each of our movements done with precision, but we have fluid transitions from one exercise to another. Others make call this flow.
BREATHING: In Pilates, breathing is more important than ANYTHING else. We inhale through our nose and fill our lungs, feeling our rib cage expand or open, like an umbrella. We exhale through our mouth, feeling our ribs reconnect to one another, just like an umbrella closing. On every inhalation we think about preparing to move and on every exhalation we recommit to drawing our navel towards our spine. It is said that Joseph Pilates always mentioned breathing as the last of the 6 principles because we would remember it best. If all else fails in Pilates, just breathe. I think that is a metaphor for life.
If you have NEVER taken a Pilates class, I strongly encourage trying it…at least 3 times! Its like taking a foreign language and the first time, you are bound to feel kindof clueless. By the third time, you are bound to LOVE it! The benefits derived from practicing Pilates are way too many to list. Really. It has changed me from the inside out. If you are a local, come check out my class on a Tuesday night, or email me and I can lead you toward several great studios in the area. If you are looking for some private sessions they can be pricey, but sometimes just 3 privates before stepping into a class will go a very long way towards bettering your journey. I am always available for short terms private intro sessions and keep them affordable! I want EVERYONE to understand the basics of Pilates because they carry over into all workouts and all aspects of life.
Tonight’s Italian night at VFT. When people ask me “what DO you eat?” I always want to invite them for italian night. Whole grain pasta, marinara sauce, grilled veggies, a big ass salad, grainy bread and chianti…Many times what I eat on my plant-based diet is exactly the same as the next “guy.” And just for the record, there is plenty of protein on that menu. Anyone want to come tonight? There is ALWAYS room for more! We start gathering at 8 and I’ll be ringing the dinner bell right around 8:30. I absolutely LOVE that some of you have made Thursday your vegan or vegetarian day. What’s good for the planet and good for the environment turns out to be really good for us, too.
Well as if I needed something else to be grateful for, Big Red has arisen and his leg seems much better this morning than it did last night. Now I have another reason to celebrate the day. As you go through your day, I hope you have much to celebrate, too.
**To all my childhood friends that I was lucky enough to share time, space, laughter and love with last weekend, keep in mind that South Florida is a really GREAT place to visit….With our kids out of the house, we even have some extra room…One night was definitely NOT enough! Can’t you see yourself here: