Entries in Equipment/Resources (54)
Even if you’re not into yoga, you might want to grab an OM-centric friend and check out Yoga, Inc., a documentary about the underbelly of the yoga industry, which is screening in San Francisco, New York and New Jersey this summer. The film, which was written, produced and directed by John Philp, takes an in-depth look at the Americanization of the ancient spiritual practice and interviews some of its major players.
Philp provided Pilates-Pro.com with a review copy, which I eagerly watched with a Pilates instructor friend. We were both struck by the parallels between what’s happening in the Pilates and yoga industries. The explosion in popularity of the two practices in the West has opened the door for capitalism to rear its head in ways that aren’t always consistent with the ideals of either one.
The similarities are many. In their early days, both disciplines got boosts from the celebrity set. Once it became clear there was money to be made, the intellectual property issues bubbled up—the Pilates industry dealt with its trademark demons a few years back; yoga’s version revolved around Bikram Choudhury’s copyright claim on his hot form of the practice. And each is dealing with whether to impose standards and ethical codes on its teachers, as well as the new phenomenon of chain studios. But yoga also has its unique issues—ever heard of “competitive yoga”? And what about the guy in New York who has a store selling products with the slogan “F*@& Yoga“on them?
The film—which includes interviews with yoga luminaries such as Rodney Yee, Trisha Lamb and the founders of YogaWorks—presents these issues fairly and with a good balance of humor and sensitivity. After all, it’s a complex topic. It’s not a bad thing to earn a living in the yoga or Pilates worlds, but it seems even things as pure as spirituality and fitness bring out the best and worst in a capitalistic society. Perhaps that’s why we need them so much.
Click here to learn more about upcoming Yoga, Inc. screenings, when to catch it on TV in Canada or how to purchase a copy.
Also, be on the lookout for Yoga, Inc., the book, coming in 2009.
By Madeline Black
In order to work in a deeper, more expanded way with her clients, Pilates instructor Madeline Black has searched out new ideas and methodologies during her career. This is the second in her series of reviews in which she shares some of the books and resources that have deepened her knowledge and self-practice and have enhanced her teaching beyond Pilates.
If you’re reading this site, you probably don’t need anyone to convince you of the mind-body connection. But your clients might be more skeptical. What if you could hand them a book that makes a strong scientific case for the link? Enter Bruce Lipton, PhD.
Dr. Lipton is an author, former research scientist in cell biology at Stanford University and medical school instructor. His research in cell biology and quantum physics has broken new ground in how science views the role of cells in our health and the power of our mind on the body. In his book, The Biology of Belief, Dr. Lipton explains his research and introduces to us enlightening concepts of cellular life, the impact of the environment in and around our cells, and how we manifest states of well-being or disease.
The Pilates-Pro.com team just got back from the Body Mind Spirit educational conference that took place last weekend (April 23-27) in Santa Clara, CA. Pilates and Gyrotonic teachers took over the hotel and convention center as they floated between classes and the expo hall (and the pool—the weather was beautiful!). This year, the regular 3-day conference was fortified with two days of pre-conference intensives with tracks for both beginner and advanced instructors and those interested in scoliosis and osteoporosis. Yoga, which used to be on the BMS rooster, wasn’t available this year, but Feldenkrais and other somatic techniques were on offer.
The expo hall floor was also buzzing with equipment demos, new products and old favorites. Flip through our slideshow above for a few of the highlights, and look for more details about some of the products soon on the site.
P.S. We created the slideshow using Flickr and PictoBrowser. We’ve also started a Pilates-Pro.com group photo pool on Flickr, which is open to everyone to join and post and share Pilates pics. More on this later!
A book recommendation from Madeline Black
A Pilates teacher today is presented with clients with issues beyond the physical. They may have problems that are emotional, energetic or spiritual in nature. The physical part is easier for us to understand because that is what we are trained to see and intellectually problem-solve. Sometimes, however, the effort we put into planning and working with a client doesn’t advance the client as well as we’d like it to.
In order to work in a deeper, more expanded way with my clients, I’ve searched out new methodologies and philosophies over the years. I’ve also studied myself to find more clarity, balance and openness. (A teacher once told me not to treat someone who is healthier than you are.) I’ve spent years learning and receiving IMT (Integrative Manual Therapy), other manual therapies, energy work and meditation practices, and I’ve done lots of reading. Through these explorations, I’ve developed tools to share or reference for my clients. And sometimes, I simply observe and better understand their complexity without making any comments or judgments to them. A Pilates teacher’s scope of practice is to refer a client, when appropriate, to their practitioner of choice such as a doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist. I may also recommend a book.
In the coming months, I will be sharing some of the books and resources that have deepened my knowledge and self-practice and have enhanced my teaching beyond Pilates.
This month, I recommend a book about dealing with trauma: Waking the Tiger by Peter A. Levine, PhD, with Ann Frederick (North Atlantic Books, 1997). Dr. Levine is well known for his research about how animals in the wild deal with stress and trauma. His discoveries have led him to successfully treat people to release trauma in the body.
Pilates finess videos can jumpstart those days you don’t feel like putting yourself through a workout, but it’s rare to glean useful teaching tips from a standard exercise dvd. For true teaching inspiration, it may be a better idea to look to some of the specialty videos available, instead.
For a brush-up on efficiency:
“Transitions and Order”, from Rebecca Leone and Heidi Byrnes of Pilates Powerhouse NW
If you need to add order and efficiency to your studio or sessions, check out the tips in this DVD. Designed for studio owners and instructors, the first part of this offering details practical suggestions for equipment storage and maintenance. After implementing these ideas, never again will you scramble around during a session looking for the correct prop. The remainder of the DVD is dedicated to teaching the transitions between classical exercises on the mat and Reformer—where to put the handles after each exercise, when to tip the headrest down, and so forth. This video is especially useful for instructors who have a clear understanding of the exercises, but are looking for ways to speed up and smooth out their classes and private sessions. After learning the linking steps on this DVD, instructors can slowly teach the transitions to students, which will ultimately keep the students focused all session long.
The Pilates Method Alliance held its seventh-annual International Educational Conference Nov. 1-4 in Orlando, Fla., drawing approximately 700 Pilates instructors for a weekend of moving, learning and celebrating the “Pilates is for Every Body” theme. An impressive lineup of teachers—Elizabeth Larkam, Jillian Hessel, Brent Anderson, Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, Marie-Jose Blom-Lawrence, Madeline Black, Alan Herdman, Moira Merrithew, Julian Littleford, Michelle Larsson, Mari Winsor and many more—presented on a wide range of topics. PMA members also had the chance to take the PMA Pilates Certification Exam and shop for new equipment, apparel and services on the expo hall floor.
Beyond these business-as-usual happenings, the conference featured some exciting and newsworthy highlights. Read on for more.
The newest Reformer from STOTT PILATES® raises the bar on their equipment, literally. The V2 Max Plus™ Reformer, which STOTT PILATES® co-founder Moira Merrithew recently debuted in New York, features the familiar carriage and frame of a traditional Reformer/Cadillac duo, with one important distinction: The vertical end of the machine—which anchors the roll down and push through bars—has two adjustable pulleys affixed to it, enabling users to adjust the height of the straps.
With a simple slide of the pulleys, instructors are able to change the tension from knee-height to several feet in the air, changing the intensity and in some cases musculature needed for a certain movement. Merrithew has developed a new sequence of exercises and modifications for the machine, available on a safety and instructional DVD, which is included with purchase. The V2 Max Plus™ Reformer retails for $5,795. Attendees of this year’s PMA conference will be able to test out the machine in-person at the Stott Pilates booth.
STOTT PILATES® photography © Merrithew Corporation
Recently, a Pilates student stumbled upon our website while searching for a Pilates retreat south of the border:
“I saw your website and I am looking to take a vacation in Central or South America right away. I would like to stay somewhere that offers advaced Pilates for several hours a day, basically make that the focus of my vacation. However, I can’t seem to find anywhere so I was wondering if you could suggest a place. I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.” —Mike
If you offer or know of a retreat or vacation package that fits these specifications, help us point Mike in the right direction. Please post your ideas below.
We stumbled across this Pilates video clip on YouTube recently and had to find out the story behind it. It’s clean, crisp and professional—and an exciting example of what’s possible with Pilates. The fast-motion Wunda Chair sequence is especially amazing. It was produced by Louise Taube, a Polestar- and STOTT Pilates-trained studio owner in Melbourne, Australia. Click the link below to read our interview with her.
It’s no doubt that an understanding of anatomy is one key to being a good Pilates teacher. A reader recently asked if we could recommend some good books on the topic. Here are a few that are popular among Pilates teachers we polled. If you don’t see your favorite, please post a recommendation in the comments section!
Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Calais-Germain
Anatomy Coloring Book by Wynn Kapit
Anatomy of Pilates from The PhysicalMind Institute
Anatomy Trains by Thomas W. Myers