Pilates as a Lifestyle

“As a man thinks, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

When I was introduced to Pilates back in 2001 I had no idea that it would change my life.  After a few months of practicing the Method I noticed some remarkable changes in my body and mind.  Namely that my elbow tendonitis had disappeared, and that I was less anxious and happier.  My mentor, Richard Rossiter said, “Pilates is a Lifestyle.”  At the time I thought it was just a romantic saying people said about their passions.     But after all these years I’ve realized that it’s true.  Pilates is a lifestyle.

In Joseph Pilates’ book, Return to Life, he defined Pilates (Contrology) as the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.  According to Joe, one of the main purposes of doing Pilates was to “gain mastery over your mind and complete control of you body.”  It is well know that our thought life determines our words and our actions.  Gaining mastery over our mind has enormous potential to improve the quality our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Joe also said, “Contrology steadily increases the normal and natural supply of pure rich blood to flow to and circulate throughout the brain with corresponding stimulation to new brain areas previously dormant.  More significantly, it actually develops more brain cells.”  Seriously!

Modern day neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf and author of the best selling book, Switch on your Brain, confirms Joe’s assertion from nearly a century earlier. “The brain continually changes in response to mental and sensory signals throughout the human life span.  This process has now been termed ‘neuroplasticity’. It was once thought that, as adults, we had the full complement of nerve cells (neurons) and that we basically lost neurons until we died.”  Dr. Leaf goes on to say, “Toxic thoughts trigger negative and anxious emotions, which produce biochemicals that cause the body stress. They are stored in your mind, as well as in the cells of your body”.  

Here’s where I believe Dr. Leaf’s research and Joe’s Method collide.    Joe’s assertion that, “Change happens through movement and movement heals.” is indeed a fact.   By breathing deeply, articulating our spines, making space for organs to function better, articulating our joints through their healthiest ranges of motion and visualizing new possibilities, we feed our bodies fresh sensory input, remove toxic thought patterns and allow new thinking to emerge for greater physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  Yes, I believe that all of this can happen in a single Pilates session.  But like anything, repetition and reinforcement is the key to lasting change.

When I teach Pilates I use a lot of imagery focused on allowing the body and mind to easily communicate creating an ideal environment to tap into the brain and body’s amazing capacity to change, adapt and heal.  Additionally, breathing is at the heart of my teaching.   Joseph  made statements such as, “Breathing is the first act of life and the last, and that we must learn to do it well.”  With an emphasis on breathing deeply, we stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which focuses the mind and calms the body.   Deep breathing flushes out the toxins in the body and brings new oxygen in.

In our time together, you’ll also notice a lot of affirmation, and opportunity to explore and discover new ways to feel and live in your body.  You’re body is not stagnant, and neither is your mind.  You are capable of transformational growth.  I don’t care if you are 17 or 71 – you are capable of transforming  your mind, body, and spirit!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  – Romans 12:2.

Pilates is a lifestyle I live, breathe and love.   It goes with me whether I am rock climbing, working at my computer, or cleaning my house.    As your Pilates coach I will guide you beyond old patterns that may no longer serve you and into new possibilities that make you thrive.   17 years ago my mentor, Richard believed in me and the Pilates Method – I am eternally grateful!  I want to do the same for you.

If you have never tried Pilates, or just need a fresh start, I invite you to come in for a complimentary consultation with me.   Please contact me at  303-679-1664  pilateswithlauri@nullyahoo.com

In Gratitude,

Lauri Stricker

 

Return to Life Workshops

Return to Life – Spring Workshop Series

Joesph Pilates said in his book,       Return to Life, “It is the mind itself that shapes the body.”  Let that sink in for a moment. Your mind shapes your body!  Wow, if that’s true – for better or worse your thoughts are impacting your strength, flexibility, balance… your overall health.  Ever notice yourself catching a cold after you’ve been stressed?

Joe also said, “our body should obey our mind”, not vise versa.  Yet how often do we feed our brain negative self-talk after a failed attempt at something new?  Listen to what neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf author of, Switch on your Brain, The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health, has to say about “mind over matter”.

“Our mind is designed to control the body of which the brain is a part, not the other way around.  Matter does not control us. We control matter through our thinking and choosing.”

Watch the Winter Olympics and we see the miracle of mind over matter.   Did you know that every morning we wake up with brand new baby nerve cells that we can wire in new thoughts?   Its called Neurogenesis.  Dr. Leaf explains that we don’t have to get stuck in bad habits and toxic thoughts – we can change them.

“As he thinks, so is he.”  – Proverbs 23:7.

Joe also said, “One of the major results of Pilates is gaining mastery of your mind over the complete control of your body.”  Double wow – wouldn’t you like to experience that, not just in class – but every moment of your life?

If so, join me for the “Return to Life Workshop Series”.   We’re going to do some life changing work and make good on Joseph Pilates’ and Dr. Leaf’s assertions.   Together we’ll apply techniques and strategies that I have learned over almost 17 years of practicing and studying with some of the world’s most talented teachers.

If you’ve read this far, I’m hoping you’ll take this as a sign that your mind is ready to take charge of your body.   You don’t have to attend all the workshops, but the more you commit to – the greater and faster your results.  Please click on the link below to find  workshop dates and more details.  As always, I look forward to working with you.

In Gratitude,

Lauri

Happy Thanksgiving!

images-1As we head in different directions for Thanksgiving, I want to share with you a few things that I am grateful for at Evergreen Pilates.

You – our amazing clients! Each week you show up, giving it your best, willing to be challenged, to try something new, and to trust us. We adore you!

Our Teachers – Carol, Jodi, Kathy, Patricia, Sarah, Tracy D. & Tracy S. Each of you is a treasure, offering your support, guidance and encouragement to everyone you meet. Never under-estimate what a blessing you are to others.

Our Cleaning Fairies – Heather & Susan, who perform their magic each week making the studio sparkle and shine. We so appreciate your hard work!

The Studio – Our beautiful and cheerful location across from Evergreen Lake lifts the spirit, even on a cloudy day. Thanks to our landlords, John and Debbie.

The Evergreen Health Community – thanks to all the Doctors, P.T.’s, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, and Wholistic Practitioners who refer their clients to us. We are honored.
To all, I want to wish you a very blessed Thanksgiving.

In Joy,

Lauri

Foam Roller Revive

dde6a7b7-9121-4de4-9eb1-5bda76a2a9f6Revive your body using our “Ultra Soft OPTP” Foam Rollers.  Best known for the benefits of myofacial release, foam rollers are an excellent way to re-hydrate, restore, and refresh your body’s connective tissue.  Some of the benefits of foam rolling include:

  • Improved flexibility
  • Injury prevention
  • Reduced muscle soreness
  • Reduced Cellulite
  • Increased Blood Circulation
  • Improved Cellular Function

Sign up for Foam Roller Revive now!

Adore your Core – 31 Day Challenge

31 Day Challenge begins November 14th!
31 Day Challenge Begins Monday November 14th!

The 31 Day Adore your Core Challenge sets a goal for you to attend 20 classes between Monday November 14th and Wednesday December 14th. The challenge wraps up on Thursday evening December 16th with a “Class & a Glass Celebration” for everyone who  participates. Those that complete the 20 classes will receive an Evergreen Pilates T-shirt and a mention in our newsletter.

So why 31 days?  The brain is highly elastic and can change.  Here’s the greatest part… when your brain changes, so does your body and your life!   Change requires encouragement and repetition.   Our “Adore your Core 31 Day Challenge” is will give you both.  Lots of love, and lots and lots of classes.  We’ll be right there beside you helping you to remember to inhale love, peace, and calm, and exhale gratitude, patience, and joy.

You have nothing to lose and all to gain.   To make it fit your budget, we’re offering our “Monthly Unlimited Fitness Membership” for $149.  Try it for a month and see if it works for you!

And… if you participate in “Adore your Core” we’ll give you ONE FREE classes on a 20-Pack of Apparatus classes!  (offer valid through 11/21).  Is that an incentive or what!  We love you!

In joy,

Lauri

Client Appreciation Harvest Basket

Fall Harvest Client Appreciation Basket
Fall Harvest                              Client  Appreciation Basket

This week we are giving away our Client Appreciation “Fall Harvest Basket” full of wonderful goodies such as Organic Cookies, Tea, Chocolate, Bath Salts, Lotion, Essentials Oils, and so much more.  We asked you to fill out a drawing slip and tell us what you love best about Evergreen Pilates, or what you’d like to see us change.   Well, your feedback was amazing and here’s what you shared with us.   First, you said that you love our caring teachers, clients, and the atmosphere.    You also told us that you’d love to see more classes in the late afternoon, early morning, and possibly weekends.   Not only did we start adding extra classes, we’ve added Semi-Private class – the ultimate 2-person class experience, Foam Rolling for Therapeutic self-care, Jump Board, and a Balance and Core class designed specifically for seniors.  Thank you so much for your feedback.

In Joy,

Lauri

Open Your Soles with Joy-A-Toes

Open Your Soles with Joy-A-Toes!

We just received a new shipment of Jo-a-Toes.  These are my absolute favorite toe spreaders as they are gentle and can be worn during normal daily activities.    Joy-A-Toes are known for Improving the structure and function of your feet.   Explore how the toe spreaders help with opening up the structure of the foot, and how they can help strengthen your awareness of the how important your feet are to the functionality of the whole body.  I recommend wearing the in the bath or around the house.  Once you are used to them, try them while in the studio.  It will improve your alignment and  re-energize your feet.

The Hundred

Joseph Pilates performing The Hundred

The Hundred 

“Exercise of the Month”

Who loves the Hundred?  You can be honest.  No one has ever come up to me after class and said, “I just love the Hundred”.  Nor has anyone ever complained when I didn’t teach the Hundred.  It is the first exercise in Joseph Pilates’ book Return to Life.  Why is it important, and how to do we get the most out of it?
The purpose of the Hundred is to warm up the circulatory system and prepare the heart to work.  It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and triceps.  As you can see from the above photos, Joe started the Hundred lying flat with the legs straight.  If you need to modify the exercise, consider starting with your knees bent and positioned off the mat at table top.  Use an INHALE to prepare, and EXHALE to curl up to the base of your shoulder.  Begin pumping your arms as if slapping your hands on water.  INHALE for five pumps, EXHALE for five pumps.  When you reach 100 pumps, bend your knees to your chest.  Relax your head, neck, shoulders, and arms down to the mat.
For tips to maximize your results, Check out our Tutorial on YouTube.

Evergreen Pilates App

Booking classes just got that much more convenient.   From the Evergreen Pilates iPhone app you can view class schedules, sign-up for classes, buy class packages, view ongoing promotions, as well as view studio’s location and contact information.  You can also click through to our Facebook and Twitter pages! Optimize your time and maximize the convenience of signing up for classes from your iPhone!

Download from the Apple Store

Plus, download our App today and we’ll give you $10 off your next class purchase!  Its easy, just enter the code: PilatesApp

All I want for Christmas is… to feel my feet!

Last Christmas I asked for a pair of Vibram Five Finger Classics.   I wanted to replace my old wooden clogs for these sleek, soft, and lithe, little shoes.   At the Pilates studio I spend a lot of time on my feet, and teaching other people how to use their feet.  For years, I found myself kicking off my clogs to demonstrate movements. What I needed was a shoe that would protect my foot, and allow me to use it properly.

Most people give little thought to how they use their feet.  Yet, our feet influence our balance, joint alignment, and even core strength.  As I watch my baby son wiggle his toes, arch and flex his feet, its unarguable that our feet were designed to be as expressive and mobile as our hands.  Each foot has 26 bones, just one less that each hand.  It also has 75,000 nerve endings connecting to other body parts.   That’s about 1,300 nerve endings per square inch.  No wonder our feet are so ticklish.  The feet influence the alignment of our ankles, knees, hips, and spine, and they are the direct gateway to the pelvic floor and abdominals.
When I first donned the Vibram Classic, I could wear them for about 2 hours a day before clinging to the stability of my old standbys.   The first time I stepped outside the studio to grab a cup of tea next door, gravel stones, sidewalk cracks, and the dampness of the concrete were overwhelming.   It was like being barefoot. A few weeks later I dashed out the door to pick up my son from school while still wearing the shoes.  In a single moment, years of faulty foot mechanics jolted my body.  As my feet hit the asphalt, I felt like I had jumped off the second story of the building and landed wrong.  In that moment I realized that I had poor movement mechanics!  My wooden clogs had allowed me to stomp my heels, thrust my legs, lock my knees, and jam my hips.  No wonder my low back ached! Immediately I adjusted my gait.  I walked softer and quieter.  I carried myself with the stealthiness of a feline.  
Pilates is a barefoot discipline.  I am not sponsored by Vibram, and I do not sell their products.  I am just a consumer who likes good shoes.   Occasionally I work with someone who has so much foot pain that being barefoot is not an option. This is a person who doesn’t walk barefoot even around their own home.  Some of these people have benefited from wearing the Vibram shoes during class.  I have other clients who suffer from foot neuropathy and cannot feel their feet.  Lack of foot sensation affects their balance, and leads to foot dragging and tripping.  The sticky rubber on the bottom of the Vibram shoes gives these clients confidence in their foot placement while doing exercises such as Footwork on the Reformer, and Standing Pumping on the Chair.  The shoes also separate the toes, which helps to open the foot, thereby improving foot biomechanics.  And since the shoes are completely bendable, clients learn to articulate their entire foot and move their toes, ultimately improving their flexibility and strength.
Almost a year later, I wear my Vibram Five Finger shoes on my favorite hikes, and enjoy the sensation of moss on granite rocks, pine needles, and even sand between my toes.  Wearing the shoes has disciplined me to be mindful in my movements and strengthened my connectedness to the world around me.  If you have experiences wearing these shoes, please share them so that others have the opportunity to learn more about improving their foot strength, flexibility, and biomechanics.