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Exercise with a Smile!

Core strength, muscle balance and flexibility are the tenets of Pilates. We spend countless hours strengthening our abdominals and stretching our hamstrings, yet the health of our hands goes unnoticed.  We depend on our hands to type, text, tie, button, groom, eat, and communicate.  Too much work or too little, and our hands become achey and less articulate. Any joint that is not properly moved through its full range of motion will become stiff and arthritic over time. Whether you have arthritis or want to avoid it, it is important to stretch and strengthen your hands. The Isoflex Ball is the perfect hand exerciser. It slips easily into a jacket pocket for a walk, or in the glove box for a drive.  

Here are a few exercises to get started. By improving your hand strength and flexibility, you’ll increase your coordination and dexterity as well. Be creative and have fun!

Rolling: Place the ball on a flat surface. Place your hand on top with straight fingers stretched apart. Apply pressure and roll the ball back and forth, massaging from the heel of your hand all the way to your fingers tips, and back. Then turn your hand on the pinky side to the ball like a knife blade and roll back and forth along the lateral border of your hand. Also, turn your hand thumb side down and roll the medial border of your hand as well. Turn your hand palm side up and repeat on the back of your hand.

Kneading: Hold the ball in the palm of your hand, gently squeeze the ball to rotate it clockwise in your hand, rotate it counter clockwise. Allow all of your of your fingers to make contact with the ball.

Taps: Hold the ball in the palm of your hand, and tap the ball 5 times with each finger.

Piano Fingers: Hold the ball in the palm of your hand. One at a time, peel your fingers away from the ball and then one at a time re-wrap them onto the ball.

The Isoflex Ball makes a great Stocking Stuffer! For a limited time you can purchase the Isoflex Ball at Evergreen Pilates for $4.99.

12 Days of Pilates

The 12 Days of Pilates Christmas go like this…

On the First day of Christmas my Pilates Teacher gave to me: The Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Second day of Christmas my Pilates Teacher gave to me: Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Third day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Fourth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Fifth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Sixth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Seventh day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Seven Super Swans, Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Eighth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Eight Triceps Dips, Seven Super Swans, Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Ninth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Nine Knee Folds, Eight Triceps Dips, Seven Super Swans, Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Tenth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Ten Russian Squats, Nine Knee Folds, Eight Triceps Dips, Seven Super Swans, Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Eleventh day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Eleven Scooter-Skaters, Ten Russian Squats, Nine Knee Folds, Eight Triceps Dips, Seven Super Swans, Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

On the Twelfth day of Christmasmy Pilates Teacher gave to me: Twelve Crisscrosses, Eleven Scooter-Skaters, Ten Russian Squats, Nine Knee Folds, Eight Triceps Dips, Seven Super Swans, Six Side Bends, Five Wall Push Ups, Four Spine Twists, Three Roll Ups, Two Sets of Footwork, and the Joseph Pilates’ Hundred.

Gobble…gobble…gobble! Don’t be a Turkey!

Did you know that the average American will consume 3,000 calories during their Thanksgiving meal? And, if we add all the snacks throughout the day, that number edges up to 4,500 calories. Yikes! I am not a big calorie counter, but I will tell you that 3,500 calories makes one pound. Do the math. Its easy to see how weight is gained fast. Overeating throws off our metabolism, energy, and immune function leaving us vulnerable to illness and disease. 75% of men, and 65% of women in America are overweight. Obesity is now the leading cause of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Many people are surprised when I say, “Yes, we have classes on Thanksgiving morning.” Honestly, can you think of a better time to exercise? This is the time when we most need the support and consistency of our routine to maintain our health and fitness goals. Here’s a nice bonus. According to the American Council on Exercise, your metabolism stays elevated for as many as 24 hours after you finish exercising. How many calories you continue to burn depends primarily on the intensity of your workout. So by all means, perform the Hundred with vigor! It stands to reason that by working out on Thanksgiving morning, maybe a dollop of whip cream on our pie would be a sweet treat! Join us Thanksgiving morning: 8:15am 9:15am 10:15am

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Flattering & Functional

Your feet have never looked so cute! This month, ToeSox introduced the “Mary Jane” Bella and I am in love. The perfect workout sox: functional and flattering. Sells for $15.69 (tax included) at Evergreen Pilates.

Running… from the ground up!

Picture the stride of a strong runner. Is it fluid and energy and efficient or choppy and wasteful? Chances are it is characterized by vertical alignment from the ears to the ankles, feet landing below the body, relaxed shoulders and steady breathing. A strong runner stabilizes from the core, moves forward landing on the mid-foot and minimizes up-and-down and side-to-side motion. Now envision the stride of a struggling runner. Does she break at the hips, lean too far forward or bounce up and down? Does she run with tense shoulders, clenched fists, a swayed back or practice shallow breathing? Chances are good that more energy is being expended, thereby causing more impact. The quality of a runner’s posture, fitness and breathing can mean the difference between a fluid and efficient stride and one that leaves her hobbling. How we use our feet can mean the difference between tapping into a core that supports proper body alignment, rather than one that leads to injury. From the time of toddlerhood, most people spend more time wearing hard soled shoes than being barefoot. With the exception of martial arts, dance, yoga and Pilates, virtually all other exercise is practiced wearing shoes. Since running begins with the feet, improving foot strength, flexibility and function go a long way toward preventing problems down the road. Faulty foot biome- chanics can lead to injuries not only to the feet but also to the knees and hips. Bunions, iliotibial band tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, pir- iformis syndrome, sciatica, shine splints and SI (sacroiliac) dysfunction can result from foot misalignments. Foot problems create muscle imbalances and place excess tension on the soft tissues of the joints. Likewise, the strength and flexibility of your legs, hips and core impact how the feet function. Here are three Pilates exercises that are sure to help you improve foot, leg and hip strength and flexibility. For best results, practice these exercises 3-5 times per week. These exercises and others can be learned by attending Barre-Elevate at Evergreen Pilates. Barre-Elevate is a standing Pilates-based workout that not only strengthens the feet, but improves balance, strength and flexibility in the entire body. Foot WorkPurpose: Improves foot, leg and hip strength, while strengthening the core. Begin standing with your feet and knees together. Think of each foot having a tripod beneath it. Make contact across the entire ball of your foot and under your heel. Level your pelvis by letting your sit bones drop straight to the floor. Pull your navel to your spine. Rest your ribs directly over your hips, and your shoulder and head on top of your ribs. Lift your heels off the floor. Keep them touching and the inside of the legs zipped together. Bend your knees. Pretend you are sliding about six inches down a wall. Then press through your feet and squeeze the legs straight. Maintain good alignment from your feet all the way up through the crown of your head. Do 10 repeti- tions. Repeat exercise with your feet and knees rotated outward at a 45 degree diagonal (also known as Pilates-V). Take care that your knees stay in line with your toes. Do 10 repe- titans. Pilates-Style RunningPurpose: Strengthens and stretches feet and calves. Helpful for avoiding plantar fasci- itis. Stand on the edge of a step with the balls of your feet parallel and hip width apart. Allow your heels to extend from the end of the step. Alternate reaching one heel down as the other knee bends. Maintain good posture with a level pelvis, shoulders down and back, and head balanced. Do 10 repetitions per foot. Foot Work with Stretch BandLie on your back with a stretch band or strap over the arches of both feet. Hold onto both ends of the strap and press your legs upward toward the ceiling. Relax your shoul- ders and lengthen your spine onto the mat. Flex and point both feet in the strap, keeping feet and knees parallel. Take one foot out and lengthen your leg along the floor. Flex and point the foot in the strap. Switch feet and repeat. Practice 10 repetitions per foot.

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PILOXING…Sleek, Sexy, Powerful!

How does burning between 400-900 calories in one hour sound? If you’re serious about losing inches and toning up, then you’ve got to try Piloxing; an interval workout that combines Pilates, boxing, & aerobics. Last weekend, Evergreen Pilates hosted a Piloxing teacher training workshop with Master trainer Jordan Ballard from Los Angeles. After 8 hours of Pilxoing, 15 ladies finished the day eager to introduce Piloxing to their home studio. Among the graduates was our very own Nicole Wong. Please join us for Piloxing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7am, and Wednesdays at 5:30pm.

Tuesdays Together: Open House May 8th 5pm-7pm

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, our May Open House focus is “Gratitude”. Let us show you our appreciation with complimentary Massage and Paraffin Hand Wax treatments from “TallGrass Spa”, delicious food from “In Good Taste Catering”, savory coffee and tea from “EverBean”, and samples from Bella Vita. There will be fabulous Pilates door prizes and specials on classes. And, if you’d like to show your appreciation for someone you love, enjoy specials on Bella Vita’s exclusive Bed & Bath products, Terrariums from Nellybelle, and custom jewelry from Avella Designs. We hope to see you there!

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Come Hike with Us!

Today was our very first “Pilates Hiking Club” class, and what a perfect morning, sunny and 60. If you want to do Pilates, need a cardio workout, and love to be outdoors, this class is for you! Step outside the studio and enjoy some of the most beautiful trails in Evergreen!

Walking up gentle slopes, we found new mindfulness of our breathing, gait, and posture. We stopped along the way, making use of boulders and rocks for core, arm, and leg exercises. We biceps curled while listening to a babbling stream, and enjoyed core work with a cool breeze on our foreheads. Some 25 minutes into our hike we reached our summit and celebrated with Mountain Climbers, Planks, and Stepping Up & Down. As we made our descent to the studio, we partnered with Doug Firs and Ponderosa Pines for Leg Circles, and completed our trek with Leg and Hip stretches on an opportunistic fence. What a lovely way to workout and begin the day!

Join us for The Pilates Hiking Club: Tuesdays 9:15am / Friday 11:15am
Sign up on-line: www.evergreenpilates.com

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Evergreen Pilates in the Denver Post “Your Hub”

Interview with Lauri Stricker, owner. By Karen Groves of the Denver Post.

How did you get involved in this business?
I discovered Pilates when I was working in advertising sales and had a client named Richard Rossiter who owned a Pilates studio. He encouraged me to take classes. I was an avid rock climber and soon found Pilates to be excellent cross-training for my climbing. Without intending to do so, Pilates helped me to heal an injury, and I started climbing harder than ever. After almost a decade in marketing, I left my career and spent two years training before receiving my certification from The Pilates Institute of Boulder. Since then, I have become a Pilates Method Alliance certified teacher, and have completed the Masters Program at the Pilates Center in Boulder. In 2007 I published a book titled “Pilates for the Outdoor Athlete” (Fulcrum). I have also produced a DVD with my son titled “Pilates With Your Baby.”

What distinguishes you from other businesses in your category?
Evergreen Pilates is distinguished by its intimate and supportive culture. Every day I see friendships made and lives changed because of the support offered not only by teachers, but also from participants to each other. Because our classes are small (six to eight people at most), you are guaranteed to be supported. My vision for Evergreen Pilates is to maintain the integrity and excellence of Joseph Pilates’ method and to facilitate greater health and well-being in my clients. I have a long-term interest in developing relationships with my clients and helping them in their pursuit of health and happiness.

What do you like best about your line of work?
I like seeing people’s lives changed. Pilates empowers people. They learn how to move in their bodies in ways they never knew possible. Whether it’s a client who has lived with chronic pain for 15 years and is now enjoying pain-free lifestyle, or a grandmother who has regained her fitness to enjoy skiing with her grandkids — Pilates is more than exercise. Pilates restores strength, flexibility and balance.