Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Pilates Roll Up ๐Ÿงก

With a new session in swing many of my new pilates students will be trying to conquer the Roll Up for the first time. I truly believe from person experience and having taught pilates for more than 10 years the Roll Up is the #1 most frustrating exercises in mat Pilates. And also everyone wants to do it perfectly on their first try. I mean, common, it LOOKS so easy. I try to make sure my students have FUN learning to roll up while eliminating these cheats!

In this second video Pilates elder, Lolita San Miguel, who studied with Joseph Pilates himself, demonstrates this exercise beautifully. 

Pilates Roll Up


Pose 1:-
*1. Zip and hollow in preparation, and maintain zip and hollow throughout.
i.e. Zip and hollow is a term used by J. Pilates while developing the exercise method Contrology and mean to IMPRINT YOUR SPINE.
*2. Anchor your scapula's, and keep them gently anchored throughout.
*3. Arms long at a diagonal over the head to maintain scapula and rib-cage alignment (Important:- your back must not arch away from the ground.).
Pose 2:-
*1. (Inhaling): bring your arms up.
*2. Toes pointing upwards.
Pose 3:-
*1. (Still inhaling): Tuck your chin to your chest.
*2. (Now exhaling): Roll upward by "wheeling the spine" off the mat.
Pose 4:-
*1. (Still exhaling): roll forward until head comes close to the legs.

*remember elbows and knees do not flex.*


*A Pilates exercise (the roll up) which is great for strengthening your abdominals and hip flexors. The full version is said to be more effective than doing 6 simultaneous sit ups. Follow the Pilates roll up and enjoy stronger and more flexible muscles.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Don't get towed! Minneapolis is on DAY 2 Snow Emergency!

Day 2
Do NOT park on the EVEN side of Non-Snow Emergency Routes! (or on either side of a parkway!)

https://www.instagram.com/susiequarstad/?hl=en



Do Pilates ANYWHERE! *Mindful Mondays!* Get down on the ground and DO PILATES !!

One the the really cool benefits of practicing mat Pilates is the fact that you really can do it anywhere! Albeit we can, and often do, use props it is not a requirement to do any mat Pilates exercises! So get down on the ground and DO PILATES !!
Yesterday was a doozy snowfall and I hope everyone had their Pilates principles in the back of their mind as they were moving the heavy snow. Utilizing what we have learned in Pilates will not only help you use more of your center and less of your limbs to lift and move heavy snow but it will help to PROTECT your spine, back, neck and shoulder from injury!
Not only was yesterday a big snowfall but it was a gorgeous day to be outside! Blue skies, sunshine and ❄❅❆ 10 PILATES SNOW TEASERS + 10 LEG LIFTS ❆❅❄ on the last one!
For my Pilates 2 students this is something we will be working on every class! For Pilates 1 students, we will continue to strengthen our powerhouse getting ready to make these bigger moves!



**A little self critique - as I watch this video I feel pretty good about moving smoothly through my first 9 Teasers, especially with heavy snow boots (covered in snow) on, using my powerhouse to lift instead of using momentum and just flinging my body up or falling back down. Also I feel good about keeping my arms, shoulders and rib cage in alignment- this is an important feature that can easily be lost on tougher moves. HOWEVER on my last Teaser it is clear I am getting fatigued as I was having a bit of a hard time keeping my torso as stable as I would have preferred, or even as stable as I felt I had been. Self critique is important as we are all practicing Pilates, always learning and always improving! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

STOTT PILATES® Five Basic Principles

Using Contemporary Pilates Principles to Achieve Optimal Fitness
Article by Moira Merrithew, STOTT PILATES® Executive Director, Education

The Introduction of the Five Basic Principles
Principal 1 Breathing
Principal 2 Pelvic Placement
Principal 3 Rib Cage Placement
Principal 4 Scapular Stabilization
Principal 5 Head and Cervical Placement

Five Basic Principles
The aim of contemporary, anatomically-based Pilates training, such as STOTT PILATES,® is to develop optimal neuromuscular performance by focusing on core stability, while safely balancing muscular strength with flexibility. Whether performed on a mat or on specialized equipment, Pilates that incorporates modern theories of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation should
involve the following biomechanical principles: breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage placement, scapular movement and stabilization, and head and cervical placement.

By introducing these principles and reinforcing them over time, awareness of how the body moves is developed. This mind-body awareness ensures focus on precision and control to realize the full benefits of any exercise program.

Visit each one of the The Five Basic Principles accompanied by simple exercises to help illustrate them.

Principal 1 Breathing
Principal 2 Pelvic Placement
Principal 3 Rib Cage Placement
Principal 4 Scapular Stabilization
Principal 5 Head and Cervical Placement

Article by Moira Merrithew, STOTT PILATES® Executive Director, Education

Monday, January 27, 2020

MPS Community Education Adult Enrichment Calendar

Below you will find an interactive calendar for my complete Pilates MPS Community Education Adult Enrichment schedule! This calendar will be updated as any changes are made due to class cancellations an make-ups! The calendar will also have dates for opening of class registrations, the beginning and end of sessions and any other important info! You can easily find this Calendar in it's own tab at the top of the site and at the bottom of the MPS Community Education page. 

https://minneapolis.ce.eleyo.com/search?fields%5B%5D=instructors&it%5B%5D=Course&q=Susie+Quarstad


Joseph Pilates' 6 Principles of CONTROLOGY

The exercise method we know today as Pilates

 


"Be in control of your body and not at it's mercy." -Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates originally called his meathod of exercise "Contrology." He considered this to be an approach to movement founded on the integrative effect of principles such as breath, centering, concentration, control, precision, and flow. These basic principles infuse each exercise with intention and fullness of expression.

1. Breath: “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” -Joseph Pilates
Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. Most Pilates exercises coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an integral part of Pilates exercise. Breath is the most encapsulating principle. Without the use of the breath, none of the other key elements are being done to the best of their ability.  Oxygen, blood flow, increased space to move, and many other benefits are just some of the variables of using the breath.  Most people inevitably hold their breath when under stress.  Learning to first breathe, and then when to breathe certain ways, helps any Pilates practitioner reach their goals. Learn more: Breathing in Pilates.

2. Centering: "You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to preform arduous duties, to play strenuous games, to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain." -Joseph Pilates
Centering is physically bringing the focus to the center of the body, the Powerhouse area of the body. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from the center. The powerhouse is found from the bottom of the rib cage through the hip line, the abdominal muscles, low back muscles, pelvic floor, muscles around the hips, and the glutes (butt muscles). Not only are you focusing on these core muscles, you are also balancing the right and left side of the body, while simultaneously balancing dominant and weaker muscle groups.
     -The abdominal muscles are a combination of the
          Transversus abdominis – the deepest muscle layer of abdominal muscles.
          Rectus abdominis – slung between the ribs and the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis.
               When contracting, this muscle has the characteristic bumps or bulges that are commonly
               called ‘the six pack’.
          External oblique muscles – these are on each side of the rectus abdominis.
          Internal oblique muscles – these flank the rectus abdominis and are located just inside the
               hipbones.

3. Concentration: “Concentrate on the correct movement each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all vital benefits.”-Joseph Pilates
If you bring full attention to the exercise and do it with full commitment, you will obtain maximum value from each movement. In other words allowing the mind to drift off to your day's list of to-do's, what you plan to eat after class, or the shiny object in the corner of the room will distract you from reaping the full rewards of each exercise. Instead Pilates creates an active meditation that pulls an individual away from their surrounding stressors. Every movement starts with the conscious thought of moving followed by engagement, then the movement. Making the decision to think about the motion and what muscles to activate, versus just moving through it, provides increased performance and better results that transcend into your everyday life.


4. Control: “Every moment of our life can be the beginning of great things.” -Joseph Pilates
Every Pilates exercise is done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices. It is all a conscious, deliberate movement that the mind is controlling. Even if we are doing an exercise that does not directly involve the legs we continue to keep muscle tone and control in the legs, they are not forgotten or allowed to become spaghetti. Every movement in Pilates is deliberate, and the mind should be directing every muscle.

5. Precision: “A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” -Joseph Pilates
In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement, alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body. A common misconception of Pilates is that it’s “too easy.”  That is directly translated as exercises being done too quickly and not knowing what muscles should be working.  Each Pilates movement has a purpose, placement and technique that needs to be followed in order to be successful. Long term this will also help to have the same deliberate precision in every day life; whether we are running, cycling, lifting weights or sitting at a computer, driving a car or doing another activity that makes bad posture or misalignment easy.

6. Flow: "Correctly executed and mastered to the point of subconscious reaction, these exercises will reflect grace and balance in your routine activities." -Joseph Pilates
Pilates exercise is done in a flowing manner. Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all exercises. The energy of an exercise connects all body parts and flows through the body in an even way. Flow is involved is what stitches each movement together.  Every motion in our body needs to be executed with ease versus pain or difficulty.  Reminding ourselves that we should only move and function when good flow is possible is imperative and should be stopped when it’s not.  Patience with this concept will improve our overall health in our everyday lives.

The Importance of Using Your Pilates Breath

     The first Pilates principal is BREATHING and I do believe it is the most overlooked Pilates principal by Pilates students.  When I say I want to hear everyone exhale, this is no joke. It sometimes feels like a bribe when I tell my students that they will have stronger cores if they truly use their Pilates breath, however it is not a bribe but the honest to god truth.  This Article Optimal Breathing: Pilates Breathwork By Brian Alger has many great points to help further convince you of the importance of using your Pilates breath with your Pilates exercises. Read On!

Optimal Breathing: Pilates Breathwork
by Brian Alger
http://exploring-life.ca/1181/optimal-breathing-pilates-breathwork/

[Exploring Life] Correct breathing is a primary goal and basic fundamental in the Pilates method. Practicing Pilates exercises while using abnormal breathing patterns can be very detrimental to both the body and mind. Unless a student is capable of breathing correctly under normal conditions, the probability of breathing correctly during exercises is poor. Breathwork is therefore the first component of Pilates training.

Pilates’ Original Principles of Breathing
In Contrology and Your Health [1], Joseph Pilates emphasizes the importance and elements of proper breathing. He viewed correct breathing as an essential element in health and well being. Pilates also viewed breathing as a neglected aspect of exercise, and poor breathing habits as a root cause of poor health of body and mind.
"Lazy breathing converts the lungs, figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying, and dead germs as well as supplying an ideal haven for the multiplication of other harmful germs. Therefore, above all, learn how to breathe correctly. (Pilates 1934) 
Pilates emphasized the need for practicing and developing the maximum capacity of the lungs. In other words, the student was taught to breathe to their maximum capacity. Special emphasis is placed on the exhalation:
 "To breathe correctly you must completely exhale and inhale, always trying to squeeze every atom of impure air from your lungs in much the same manner that you would wring every drop of water from a wet cloth… SQUEEZE EVERY ATOM OF AIR FROM YOUR LUNGS UNTIL THEY ARE ALMOST AS FREE OF AIR AS IS A VACUUM" (Pilates 1934)
In educating children Pilates stated that the first lesson is that of correct breathing. (Pilates 1945) He reiterated the basic importance of learning to take a full breath that emphasized a complete exhalation. 
"The lungs cannot be completely deflated at first without considerable effort. With perseverance, however, the desired results can be accomplished and with increasing power, gradually and progressively develop the lungs to their maximum capacity. That will actually cause the chest to balloon and at the same time bring practically every other muscle into play. Thus the child’s posture will then be normal" (natural). 
"With proper breathing and correct posture, the child has no need for artificial exercise."(Pilates 1945) 
Correct breathing is intimately connected with correct posture, since full activation of the breathing muscles also stimulate postural alignment and strength. With correct breathing and posture in place, a child can then simple enjoy the act of playing (walking, running, jumping, tumbling, climbing, etc.) as a natural and normal means of exercise.

Pilates Breathwork 
Timing of the Breath: Throughout the thirty-four mat exercises that form the foundation of Contrology, Pilates precisely coordinated a series of movements with an inhalation or exhalation. Breathing was a focus of conscious control and attention and is required to be accurately timed to specific kinds of movements within an exercise. In this sense, the rhythm of breathing is linked to and inseparable from the specific body movements being made. Thus, the Pilates method integrates the benefits of conscious breathing [2] with postural integrity and body mechanics[3].
In my own training, breathwork usually occupies the first couple minutes of a session and is focused on taking a deep, full breath. However, learning an unfamiliar exercise usually focuses on specific kinds of movements. In the early stages of learning a new exercise, I think it is important to first establish the breath relative to the movements, without being overly concerned, at least in the beginning, with precise body mechanics. The reason for this is simple, if the student gets the breathing rhythm wrong in the beginning, it can be very hard to change later on. 
"Breathwork Principle 1: Establish correct breathing in all exercises is of primary importance. In training students, the first and most important aspect to teach them is how inhalations and exhalations are timed to specific sequences of movements in an exercise. Correctly visualizing and achieving the correct flow of breath is more important that making precise body adjustments in the early stages of learning the exercise. Once breath is under control, then precise body mechanics can be focused on."(Daniel Lyon- Pilates for Men) 
Breathing the Mantra – Pull the Navel to the Spine (pull in the powerhouse): The core abdominal area (a.k.a. the powerhouse) begins at the base of the pelvic floor and moves up to the bottom of the diaphragm. [4] On of the most common mantras in Pilates is the command, “Pull your navel to your spine.” This really means contract the powerhouse or core area of the body, since you need to engage the complete range of muscles within the core. 
This can making breathing feel somewhat awkward since the natural motion of the diaphragm is restricted by the contracted core. Daniel Lyon sorts this issue out nicely for us: 
"Breathwork Principle 2: When drawing your navel to your spine during an exercise, sucking in your stomach in such a way that makes you hold your breath will only weaken your powerhouse… Do not hollow out your midsection. Instead, hold the abdominals in so that the stomach doesn’t expand on the inhale but rather remains firm and hourglass shaped at the waistline… Anything that hinders your breathing, such as sucking in your gut, will consequently slow or stop your movement." (Daniel Lyon- Pilates for Men) [5]
Pilates teaches us to breath while the abdominals are engaged. A common example given is to have someone place downward pressure on your stomach while lying on the floor, and learning to inhale and exhale.
Another exercise is to inhale, hold the breath while moving the core area in and out. This also helps to isolate the feeling of the core muscles acting independently from breathing.

Breathwork and the Core: 
The Pilates method focuses on the development of the core area of the body. The mat exercises require constant control and contraction of the core area. Because of this, it is crucial to learn correct breathing and regularly practice breathwork. It is all to easy to fall into abnormal breathing patterns [6], which in turn have very negative effects on body and mind.

Pilates: Breathing and Breathwork – Key Points
The foundation of Pilates is conscious controlled breathing. 
-Practicing the full (maximum capacity) breath is essential to physical and mental development. 
-The rhythm of inhalations and exhalations throughout the Pilates exercises is where training begins. Once breath is under control, more attention can be given to body mechanics and precision. 
Learning to breath while maintaining a firm core area is a primary skill used in all exercises.
   
Notes
[1] Joseph Pilates published two books, Contrology (1934) and Your Health (1945). Both of these important publications are available in A Pilates’ Primer: The Millennium Edition (1998). For quotations I refer to Pilates 1934 or 1945.
[2] See Breathing: Conscious Breathing.
[3] See Themes: Body – Posture.
[4.] See Posture: The Core Area.
[5.] Lyon, Daniel. Pilates for Men.
[6.] See Breathing: Abnormal Breathing.

by Brian Alger

Find This Article Here - http://exploring-life.ca/1181/optimal-breathing-pilates-breathwork/

Just a little THANK YOU to my 2020 Polar Plunge supporters!!

This past Saturday I made my 16th Polar Plunge into White Bear Lake in support of Special Olympics MN, opportunity and inclusion! Here is a little recap of how wonderfully the day went! And an enormous THANK YOU to all that made a pledge in my name! ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž



The 2020 Crazy Crew for @plungesomn ❤❤❤ We had a total of 8 jumpers yesterday and in whole, after counting offline donations, our crew raised $6,750 to benefit @sominnesota !! And we had SO much fun! I have a full heart after spending my day with a group of friends and strangers all with the purpose of opportunity and inclusion! But let's be honest, it was a downright balmy 35 degrees when we jumped and because of the mild winter we've had we were in pretty shallow water for even me! The water was so shallow that for the very first time I had to purposely put my head under water, and I have no idea what compelled me, I swam as far as I could before coming back up (which was probably about a foot, because the water was still really freaking cold ๐Ÿคฃ). The day was as perfect as could be for our plungers and our very important dry land support crew ❤ Thank you for being there, holding our stuff and taking all the pictures ❤ It's also important to remember to be thankful for all of the #plungemn2020 volunteers and first responders. Especially those rescue drivers spending the whole day in the water to keep us safe ❤
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Pilates for the Feet

Pilates for the Feet from http://www.o2pilatesnj.com/ by Madeline Black http://www.madelineblack.us/
By Madeline Black
Pilates has developed a reputation for building core strength, especially once the fitness and physical therapy worlds came to Pilates in the 1990s. But my history with early Pilates, studying in New York in the late ’80s, was always about the feet. Along the way, the core became the mantra of Pilates. I strongly feel the time has come to a focus on the feet
again.
In Pilates, the feet are very important to the way we engage the body, and they deserve more attention. Feet bring to mind metaphors for moving us forward in life and finding our sense of place and existence in the world. Yet in our bodies, we pay little attention to them. We squish them into shoes, stand for long periods of time, walk on cement sidewalks. I live in
the country, and we still do not pay attention to our feet here. If we did, we may lessen back issues, hip and knee pain, and release our necks.
From Sole to Spine Our feet are not only our sensory input telling us where and how to step, but also they set up the balance of our pelvis and translate through the spine. How you use your feet has a direct influence on your core.
The way we stand on our feet, or how we move the feet, recruits different muscle lines up the leg into the pelvis. Body weight from our spine and pelvis is placed on the legs through the femur into the tibia. At the end of the tibia sits the talus. The talus is one of my favorite bones of the foot because it reminds me of a turtle shell with the turtle’s head looking out. It is also the only bone in our body that has no muscle attachments! It moves according to the structures around it. Why is this important? The talus receives the body weight from the tibia, the main weight-bearing bone of the lower leg. The tibia is curved over the top of the talus “shell” with the fibula supporting the talus on one side. As the weight then transfers from the talus, it spreads through the foot. Depending on how we are moving or standing, the bones of the feet shift from the outside or inside. These shifts are dynamic and in turn shift the whole structure of our skeleton.

The Neutral Talus
The talus has a neutral position that is important to maintaining a neutral pelvis. The relationship of the talus is with the tibia from above and the navicular bone from below. If you draw a line connecting the talus, the navicular, the three cuneiform bones and first three
metatarsals into the toes, you will see the
medial arch (inner foot). The other side consists of the calcaneus, cuboid, the 4th and 5th metatarsals and toes. This is the lateral arch, or the outer foot. The inner foot is where we are more stable, and the outer foot spreads the weight and helps us right ourselves into stability. The inner foot line is extremely valuable for working on balance in standing.

Many people unfortunately pronate or collapse the medial arch and roll the arch in toward the floor or even onto the floor. When this happens, the navicular drops and the talus is pulled down out of its neutral position. The whole pull of the pronated foot influences the femur to roll in and pull on the pelvis anteriorly. Now, we have an anterior pelvis on this side. You can see how if you continue to look globally, the pull continues all the way up the body. By correcting the talus position you will see the body move back into a more neutral position globally. The neutral pelvis then provides the balanced position from which to engage the deep abdominals and strengthen the core.

The talus moves with its structures around it. The navicular bone is one of the bones that can pull it out of neutral. When you lift the inner arch, the navicular moves up and moves the talus laterally. When the inner arch drops, the navicular moves medially pulling the talus with it.
Some people need more flexibility in this area and some more awareness of where it should sit. Naja Cori, an unrecognized “elder” whom I studied with in the 1980s, taught us a simple exercise to improve this area:


Arches In, Arches Out (Naja Cori)
Stand with the feet in a parallel position, legs straight and body upright, do not look down at your feet, use a mirror to watch the navicular moving down toward the floor and away from the floor. Roll the feet toward the lateral arch (outer border of the foot) lifting the inner arch. The big toe ball, (the MP joint and tip of the big toe) will lift slightly off the floor. Roll the medial arch (inner border of the feet) in. The weight will be more on the MP joint and less on the little toe ball. Rhythmically move the arches out and in and finish on the lateral arch after about 8 repetitions. Then slowly move the navicular bone toward the midline but only until the Achilles tendon is straight, do not go past this point. Try to maintain this position of the foot.

Arches Out, back view
Arches Out, Back View
Arches Out, front view
Arches Out, Front View
Arches In, back view
Arches In, Back View



Arches In, front view
Arches In, Back View


Straight Achilles
Straight Achilles


Neutral Talus
Neutral Talus
Pilates is brilliant at working the feet on the Reformer or the Parakeet Bar, but only when you place them on the bar or in the straps with intention of a neutral talus. Prehensile is the best foot placement to work on this idea of the feet and the contrast of the hips and spine. When the metatarsal heads are placed on the bar with the toes long and wrapped around the bar, it places the forefoot (the metatarsals and phalanges) into a supportive transverse arch. (See photo at right.) Most people have to roll their legs inward in order to meet the bar evenly. But the thigh bones should be in a neutral alignment with the hip joint. What I mean by the contrasting work of the hips and spine is the inward spiral of the feet with an outward rotation of the hip. It creates a strength pattern from the feet to the pelvis.
Some people have compensated forefeet, their metatarsals don’t meet the ground in an even transverse arch. The metatarsals and toes bow or tilt toward or away from the mid line. The big toe may be higher than the little toe or the opposite, the little toe higher than the big toe when the talus is in neutral. This is due to years of walking around with the talus not in neutral. If the client has this compensation, teaching them foot corrective exercises can improve the function of the foot and in turn change their pelvic position.
Prehensile foot placement
Prehensile foot placement
More Foot Exercises
All the movements below are performed with the talus in neutral. First find the neutral position with the “Arches In, Arches Out” exercise. Then perform the following:

Doming the Foot
The purpose of this exercise is to feel the dome of the plantar arch, tri-bone contact points and the lower extremity musculature.

Doming the Foot - Pilates Exercise
Stand or sit in with a neutral spine and lift toes off ground. Weight should be evenly distributed between big toe ball, little toe ball and the center of the back of the heel. Maintain this position of contact, and while standing, try to bring the femur into a neutral position without loosing big toe ball contact. You will feel the hip rotators activating. Hold 5 seconds. Lower toes to floor and keep same weight distribution. The tibia should be vertical to the best of your ability.

Inch Worm
Dome the plantar arch, which consists of the medial, transverse and lateral arch. (The three points that form the plantar arch are the center of the heel, the first toe ball and the little toe ball.) Puff up the arch like a parachute by inching the heel point toward the toe ball points. Move
the toe ball points away from the heel to relax the arch. Repeat the motion of doming the arch and inching the foot forward. Try doming and inching in the reverse direction, bringing the toe balls toward the heel until the tibia returns to the vertical starting position. To increase intensity, wet one end of towel and place it on the floor. Place the foot on the dry end of the towel and
inch the arch while dragging the towel. The towel creates a resistance.
Toe Extensor and Flexor Exercises
1. Lift all the toes up, pressing the metatarsal heads into the floor, and try to separate the toes creating space between the toes; lower the toes. Repeat and visualize the action for spreading the toes, and feeling the big toe ball and little toe ball press into the floor.

2. Lift all the toes again, this time lower one toe at a time starting from the little toe. Try the other direction. Imagine playing the piano with your toes.

3. Press the big toe down, hold it down and lift the four other toes. Repeat several times. Reverse the action—press the four toes down and lift the big toe up. You can do both feet at the same time. Or, really challenge your coordination by doing one action with one foot and the opposite
action with the other foot!
Pilates Exercises to Help FeetPilates Foot Exercises
Recently, a local teacher, who attended my “Sole to Spine” seminar in California, used this concept of neutral talus in her Reformer class by cueing her students to stand with the heel contact on the bar centered throughout the exercises, being aware of when they rolled off center or lost heel contact. After one class, a student told her in the next class that 90 percent of her
knee pain was gone. As she found, paying closer attention to feet while doing Pilates can help eliminate knee pain; it can also help with lower-back tension, even SI pain and more.


Understanding the power of the feet, along with both their static and dynamic structure, gives you the tools to enable your clients to feel the connection up the leg into the pelvis and spine. Bringing awareness and change to a client’s alignment increases positive results, whether it is less pain or simply feeling the work more. That all adds up to getting stronger and
feeling better.
About the Author
You can catch more of Madeline Black’s advice for on
working with the feet in her workshop “Sole to Spine” throughout 2009. Visit

http://www.madelineblack.us/
for dates and locations. Madeline has 20 years of Pilates teaching experience and currently directs Studio M in Sonoma, CA. She has a B.S. in PE and Dance from Skidmore College, has ACE, ACSM, Gyrotonic® and PMA certifications, and is currently studying Integrative Manual Therapy. Madeline presents advanced continuing education seminars for Body Mind Spirit Expo, Pilates On Tour and the Pilates Method Alliance, and at studios in around the world.