June 07, 2013

The Stanley Cup

So this is a bit of an ad since Discover Card made a series of these, but this one is really fun. The engraving of the Stanley Cup. Whether or not you watch hockey, this is a fun thing to see. It's very short, so have a look.




Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 04:11 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 04, 2013

Let the shoes do the work

My dear friend Sissy sent me a link to an article in the Boston Herald because she knows I love my Pilates.

Special shoes get grip on workout

As I read it, I was once again dumbfounded by the manner in which people are willing to cut corners with their practice because it makes things "easier".  I wrote back to Sissy via email and in the middle of my paragraph, I realized my comments should be a blog post.  Yes, the post is considerably longer than my email.

I completely understand the problem with sweating and slipping on floors and equipment. And I prefer being able to practice without feeling as if my feet will slide out from under me. However, this bit caused me to stop and gape.

The premise: The shoes provide firm footing, but also guide feet into a perfect stance. It’s what’s known in yoga as "pada bandha,” a foot "lift” that has you press down on all four corners of your feet while lifting your arches and taking the weight off your toes. This pose protects the knees, but it often requires conscious effort to maintain. The shoes, with a padded arch, did the work for me.


And right there she misses the entire point of Pilates.  It's about exercising the body.  The whole body.  Not just the abs or the legs or the arms or some other "more important" bit.  Yes, it takes concentration to achieve decent form and to maintain it from head to foot for the duration of class.  It is supposed to!  

Also, she is throwing yoga terms into the mix. This is something that many people find confusing.  Yoga and Pilates are two different types of practice.  They are compatible with each other, but they are not the same.  It becomes more confusing as people mix the two practices together.  The teachers generally learned each discipline separately and know the differences.  Unfortunately new people in these classes don't know the differences and then come to think it's all the same thing... but I digress...

Protecting yourself from pain or injury is a good thing, wearing special gloves or using padding on bars is helpful and allows you to move as fully as possible.  Having shoes "do the work for you" so you don't have to think about your feet and stance negates a large part of your practice.  Pain prevention allows you to move better, not having to think about a body part allows that body part to be ignored.

Pilates is a mind/body form of exercise. You have to concentrate. Hard. Intently.  But, doing it right will give you the best results for your body.  It's also good  practice for the mind. A major benefit of this, when you concentrate hard on your practice, you can't be thinking about other irritations of the day.  This is a good break for the mind especially on very irritating days. 

If you are finding ways to blow through practice without thinking too hard about it, you are doing your body a huge disservice.  The worth is in thoughtful motion, not motion for motion sake.  At some point in your life, being well acquainted with your body and what it says to you may even come in handy. It can help prevent injury or recognize when you need to see a doctor.

So, take off the shoes, get sticky pads to keep your feet from sliding and start working on mindful motion.

It does a body good.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 08:31 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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